Meet UNMC Distinguished Scientist Ted Mikuls, M.D.

UNMC researcher Ted Mikuls, M.D., answers questions about his work, life and interests.

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Ted Mikuls, M.D.
NOTE: This profile is part of a series highlighting the 24 researchers who will be honored at a May 2 ceremony for UNMC's 2010 Scientist Laureate, Distinguished Scientist and New Investigator award recipients.

  • Name: Ted Mikuls, M.D.
  • Title: associate professor of rheumatology
  • Joined UNMC: August 2002
  • Hometown: Omaha

Describe your research in laymen's terms.

My primary research focus examines factors associated with the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent efforts from our group have focused on the roles that environmental exposures including cigarette smoking and periodontal disease play in RA risk and whether these risk factors are further impacted by certain genes.

How does your research contribute to science and/or health care?

We have focused much of our research on two understudied populations in RA, African Americans (from the NIH-funded CLEAR cohort) and U.S. veteran men (based on a multicenter cohort that we started at the Omaha VA in 2003, the VARA registry).

Name someone at UNMC who provides vital contributions to your success and briefly describe how they help you.

A few people come instantly to mind ... probably first and foremost Dr. Jim O'Dell (chief of the UNMC section of rheumatology and immunology) -- he's been a great mentor and leader of our divison for many years. Jim's a real "big picture" person and has always fostered an entrepreneurial environment in rheumatology in terms of academic efforts. The other person that comes to mind is Dr. Geoff Thiele, a "comrade" and collaborator. Since my arrival, Geoff has been amazingly generous with his time and resources -- his efforts have really been central to the development of our registry resources.

List three things few people know about you.

  • I spend quite a bit of time behind a camera ... photography has become a bit of a passion on the side.
  • I think "Animal House" is probably the best movie ever made.
  • I like to spend my spare time at our lake house in Bellwood, Neb.


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