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Chair Members Mara Becker, MD

Mara BeckerDr. Becker is Associate Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. She is also the Division Director of Pediatric Rheumatology and a member of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical Toxicology, and Therapeutic Innovation. She joined Children’s Mercy in 2006 after completing her fellowship in Pediatric Rheumatology at Thomas Jefferson University/Nemours Foundation, duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware during which time she also completed a Master's of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (M.S.C.E.) at the University of Pennsylvania. After joining the faculty at Children's Mercy she completed a Clinical Pharmacology fellowship at Children's Mercy in 2012 to equip her with the skills to pursue her research interests.

Dr. Becker's long term research goal is to identify factors that enhance response and minimize toxicity to drugs used for the treatment of rheumatic diseases in children, focusing on a personalized therapeutic strategy. Her work has focused primarily on methotrexate, the cellular biomarkers associated with this drug, and the genetic, developmental, and environmental factors that impact these markers of biotransformation and ultimately drug response or toxicity. Her research has been supported by several granting agencies in additional to support from Children's Mercy including the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, the PhRMA Foundation, the Rheumatology Research Foundation, and the Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA). She was selected by the Rheumatology Research Foundation as one of 30 influential rheumatologists who made an impact in the world through their work with the Foundation.

Dr. Becker's expertise has resulted in a unique perspective that has allowed her to be a resource and leader in therapeutic initiatives in Pediatric Rheumatology as evidenced by involvement in several national initiatives and committees. She is currently serving on the FDA Arthritis Advisory Committee, the American College of Rheumatology Committee on Education, and the Council for the Society for Pediatric Research. She has served terms on the AAP Section on Rheumatology Executive Committee, the American College of Rheumatology Special Committee on Pediatrics, and the Rheumatology Research Foundation Strategic Planning Task Force. She has co-chaired the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act Rheumatology Working Group, has been an expert reviewer for the ARHQ report “Comparative Effectiveness of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and has participated in the American College of Rheumatology JIA treatment guidelines Task Force Panel.



Pediatric Rheumatology

Current Appointments
Associate Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
Division Director, Pediatric Rheumatology, Children’s Mercy, Kansas City

BA Pennsylvania State University 1994
MD Jefferson Medical College 1999
MSCE University of Pennsylvania 2007

Residency and Fellowship
Resident in Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University/ Nemours Foundation, duPont Hospital for Children 2002
Chief Resident in Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University/ Nemours Foundation, duPont Hospital for Children 2003
Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship, Thomas Jefferson University/Nemours Foundation, duPont Hospital for Children 2006
Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics   2012

Board Certifications
American Board of Pediatrics 2002, 2012
American Board of Pediatrics, Sub-Board of Pediatric Rheumatology 2006

Recent Selected Publications
Funk RS, Singh R, Pramann L, Gigliotti N, Islam S, Heruth D, Ye S, Chan M, Leeder, JS, Becker, ML. Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase Attenuates Methotrexate Response in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and In Vitro. Accepted Clinical and Translational Science

Mamatha Pasnoor, Jianghua He, Laura Hebelin, Ted M Burns, Sharon Nations, Vera Bril, Annabel Kim Wang, Bakri H Elsheikh, John T. Kissel, David S. Saperstein, aziz shaibani, Carlayne Jackson, Andrea J Swenson, James F. Howard, Jr., Namita Goyal, William S. David, Matthew P. Wicklund, Michael T. Pulley, Mara Becker, et al. A Randomized Controlled Trial of Methotrexate for Patients with Generalized Myasthenia Gravis. Accepted Neurology , 2016

Miss Yun Rose Li , Dr. Sihai Zhao , Dr. MaedeMohebnasab , Dr. Jin Li , Jonathan Bradfield , Miss Laura Steel , Ms. Debra Abrams , Ms. Julie Kobie , Dr. Frank Mentch , Dr. Joseph Glessner , Dr. YiranGuo , Dr. Zhi Wei , Dr. Christopher Cardinale , Dr. Marina Bakay , Mr. John Connoly , Dr. Dong Li , Dr. S. Melkorka Maggadottir , Mrs. Kelly A. Thomas , Mr. HaijunQiu , Ms. Rosetta Chiavacci , Ms. Cecilia Kim , Ms. Fengxiang Wang , Mr. James Snyder , Dr. BeritFlatø , Dr. ØysteinFørre , Lee Denson , Dr. Susan D. Thompson , Dr. Mara Becker, et al. Genetic Sharing and Heritability of Pediatric Age of Onset Autoimmune Diseases. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 1-10. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9442

Becker ML Methotrexate Metabolites to Make Clinical Decisions in JIA. Current Treatment Options in Rheumatology, 2015; 1 (4), pp 381-395

Yun R. Li, Jin Li, Jonathan P. Bradfield, Frank D. Mentch, CuipingHou, S. MelkorkaMaggadottir, Sihai D. Zhao,Debra J. Abrams, YiranGuo, ZhiWei,John J. Connolly, Christopher J. Cardinale, Marina Bakay, Joseph T. Glessner,Dong Li, Kelly A. Thomas, Haijun Qui1, Rosetta M. Chiavacci1, Cecilia E. Kim1, Fengxiang Wang1, James Snyder1, Marylyn D. Richie, BeritFlatø, ØysteinFørre, Lee A. Denson, Susan D. Thompson, Mara L. Becker, et al. Meta analysis of shared genetic architecture of pediatric autoimmune disease. Nature Medicine, 2015; 21: pp 1018-1027

R C Chiaroni-Clarke, Y R Li, J E Munro, R A Chavez, K J Scurrah, A Pezic, J D Akikusa, R C Allen, S E Piper, M L Becker, S D Thompson, B A Lie, B Flato,OForre, M Punaro, C Wise, R Saffery, T H Finkel, H Hakonarson, A-L Ponsonby and J A Ellis. The Association of PTPN22 rs2476601 with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is Specific to Females. Genes and Immunity, 2015; 16: 495-498.

Justine A Ellis, Katrina J Scurrah, Yun R Li,Anne-Louise Ponsonby,Raul A Chavez, Angela Pezic, Terence Dwyer, Jonathan D Akikusa, Roger C Allen, Mara L Becker, et al. Epistasis amongst PTPN2 and genes of the vitamin D pathway contributes to risk of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. J Steroid BiochemMol Biol. 2015 Jan;145:113-20

Funk RS*, van Haandel L, Leeder JS, Becker ML.Folate Depletion and Increased Glutamation in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patients Treated with Methotrexate.Arthritis Rheum, 2014,66;12:3476-3485
Grigoryev DN, Dalal J, Becker ML, Ye SQ. Combined Meta-analysis of systemic effects of allogenic stem cell transplantation and systemic sclerosis. BMC Hematology, 2014, 14:7

Rouster-Stevens KA, Ardoin SP, Cooper AM, Becker ML, et. al. Choosing Wisely: The American College of Rheumatology’s “Top Five” for Pediatric Rheumatology. Arthritis Rheum 2014; 66 (5): 649-657
Kessler EA and Becker ML Therapeutic Advancements in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 2014 (28): 293-313

Hashkes PJ, Becker ML, Cabral D, Laxer RM, Pallor A, Rabinovich E, et al. Methotrexate: New Uses for an Old Drug. Journal of Pediatrics 2014;164(2): 231-236

Funk RS*, van Haandel L, Becker ML, Leeder JS. Low-dose Methotrexate Results in the Selective Accumulation of AminoimidazoleCarboxamideRibotide in an Erythroblastoid Cell Line. J PharmacolExpTherOct 2013;347: 154-163

Fox EJ, Leeder JS, Ye SQ, Becker ML, Decreased Expression of Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltranferase (NAMPT) in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Patients Receiving Methotrexate. Journal of Rheumatology 2013; 40 (5): 741-742

Polk BI and Becker ML. Pharmacogenomics in childhood rheumatic disorders: a foundation for future individualized therapy. Discov Med. 2013 Dec; 16(90):267-75

Becker ML. Role of Methotrexate in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: where we have been and where we are going. International Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 2013, Feb 8(1):123-135

Dai H, Charingo RJ, Becker ML, Leeder JS, Motsinger-Reif AA. Risk Score Modeling of Multiple Gene to Gene Interactions using Aggregated-Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction. BioData Mining 2013, 6:1
Becker, ML. Pharmacogenomics in Pediatrics. Pediatrics and Heritable Disorders. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2012; 24(5):541-547

Becker ML. Optimization of Pediatric Rheumatology Therapeutics. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics 2012, Apr 91(4): 597-606

van Haandel L, Becker ML, Williams,TD, Stobaugh JF, Leeder JS. Comprehensive Quantitative Measurement of Folate Polyglutamates in Human Erythrocytes by Ion Pair UPLC-MS/MS. Rapid Communications of Mass Spectrometry 2012 26(14): 1617-1630

Becker ML, vanHaandel L, Gaedigk R, et al. Red Blood Cell Folate Concentrations and Polyglutamate Distribution in JIA: Predictors of Folate Variability. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 2012, Apr 22(4):236-46

Mikkelsen TS, Thorn CF, Yang JJ, Ulrich C, French D, Zaza G, Marsh S, McLeod HL, Giacomini K, Becker ML, et al. PharmGKB summary—Methotrexate Pathway, Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, e pub Feb 2011
Becker ML, Gaedigk R, van Haandel L, et al. The Effect of Genotype on Methotrexate Polyglutamate Variability in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Association with Drug Response. Arthritis Rheum. 2011, January 63 (1): 276-85

Becker ML, van Haandel L, Gaedigk R, et al. Analysis of Intracellular Polyglutamates in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: effect of Route of Administration upon Intracellular Methotrexate Polyglutamate Variability. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 2010, June 62 (6): 1803-1812
Becker, ML, Rosé CD, Cron RQ et al. Effectiveness and Toxicity of Methotrexate in Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Comparison of Two Initial Dosing Regimens. J Rheum 2010, April 37 (4): 870-87

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