• Dr. Hughes is a Professor of Medicine in the UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology with a research interest in osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and imaging. Her early research and focused on genetics and pharmacogenetics in rheumatoid arthritis, especially in African-Americans. As her clinical activities changed, including in 2010 when she became the Fellowship Program Director and started the UAB Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSKUS) Service, her research focus changed. She has incorporated teaching and research into the Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Service. She is an investigator in an NIH study where she obtains ultrasound guided synovial tissue biopsy samples to study the pathobiology of rheumatoid arthritis. She is also a member of the American College of Rheumatology Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Certification in Rheumatology (RhMSUS) Oversight Committee who work to ensure quality and standards in the practice of MSKUS.
    Dr. Hughes is dedicated to providing the highest quality clinical and research environment for the trainees in the Rheumatology Fellowship program. This is evidenced by the fellows’ research presence at the ACR Annual Meetings as well as other national meetings. The fellows also serve on several ACR committees. Collaboration and innovation are a trademark of UAB Rheumatology and to that end; Dr. Hughes initiated the Southeastern Rheumatology Objective Structured Clinical Examination (ROSCE) Program. This program invites fellows and Program Directors from across the southeast to UAB for an annual combined training and educational activity.
    In addition to serving as the fellowship Program Director, Dr. Hughes serves as the Associate Division Director for Education. In this role, she is dedicated to educating and collaborating with all providers to improve the diagnosis, referral, and timely treatment of patients with rheumatologic diseases. She is the Course Director of the Division’s CME Conference, Update in Rheumatology for Primary Care and Hospitalists. She is also leading an institutional study to assess the use of thermography cameras in helping to identify inflammatory arthritis in the primary care and tele-health care setting.
    Dr. Hughes' clinical service includes seeing patients in her faculty clinic (twice a week) and the MSKUS clinic (twice a week). She is a faculty attending on the UAB Hospital Rheumatology Consult Service (6-8 weeks/year). She also serves as the Director of the Cooper Green Mercy Hospital Rheumatology Clinic. This clinic provides comprehensive rheumatologic care for the uninsured or under-insured patients who live in the local area.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2020 Notch signalling drives synovial fibroblast identity and arthritis pathologyNature.  582:259-264. 2020
    2020 Everyday discrimination in adults with knee pain: The role of perceived stress and pain catastrophizingJournal of Pain Research.  13:883-895. 2020
    2020 Neuropathic-like pain symptoms in a community-dwelling sample with or at risk for knee osteoarthritisPain Medicine.  21:125-137. 2020
    2019 At the Intersection of Ethnicity/Race and Poverty: Knee Pain and Physical FunctionJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.  6:1131-1143. 2019
    2019 Biomagnetic biomarkers for dementia: A pilot multicentre study with a recommended methodological framework for magnetoencephalography 2019
    2019 Defining inflammatory cell states in rheumatoid arthritis joint synovial tissues by integrating single-cell transcriptomics and mass cytometryNature Immunology.  20:928-942. 2019
    2018 Monitoring the past and choosing the future: The prefrontal cortical influences on voluntary actionScientific Reports.  8. 2018
    2018 Optimism and Psychological Resilience are Beneficially Associated with Measures of Clinical and Experimental Pain in Adults with or at Risk for Knee OsteoarthritisClinical Journal of Pain.  34:1164-1172. 2018
    2018 Reply: Brain oscillations, inhibition and social inappropriateness in frontotemporal degeneration 2018
    2018 Activity and connectivity differences underlying inhibitory control across the adult life span 2018
    2018 Neurophysiological signatures of Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration: Pathology versus phenotype 2018
    2018 Reorganization of cortical oscillatory dynamics underlying disinhibition in frontotemporal dementia 2018
    2018 Methods for high-dimensonal analysis of cells dissociated from cyropreserved synovial tissueArthritis Research and Therapy.  20. 2018
    2018 Transcriptional Profiling of Synovial Macrophages Using Minimally Invasive Ultrasound-Guided Synovial Biopsies in Rheumatoid ArthritisArthritis and Rheumatology.  70:841-854. 2018
    2016 Update on Importance of Diet in GoutAmerican Journal of Medicine.  129:1153-1158. 2016
    2016 Convergent evidence for hierarchical prediction networks from human electrocorticography and magnetoencephalographyCortex.  82:192-205. 2016
    2016 Atomoxetine restores the response inhibition network in Parkinson's disease 2016
    2016 Atomoxetine Enhances Connectivity of Prefrontal Networks in Parkinson's DiseaseNeuropsychopharmacology.  41:2171-2177. 2016
    2016 Erratum: Atomoxetine Enhances Connectivity of Prefrontal Networks in Parkinson's Disease (Neuropsychopharmacology (2016) 41 (2188) DOI: 10.1038/npp.2016.18)Neuropsychopharmacology.  41:2188. 2016
    2016 Different decision deficits impair response inhibition in progressive supranuclear palsy and Parkinson's disease 2016
    2015 The role of genetic variants in CRP in radiographic severity in African Americans with early and established rheumatoid arthritisGenes and Immunity.  16:446-451. 2015
    2015 Improving response inhibition systems in frontotemporal dementia with citalopram 2015
    2015 Hierarchical organization of frontotemporal networks for the prediction of stimuli across multiple dimensions 2015
    2015 The prefrontal cortex achieves inhibitory control by facilitating subcortical motor pathway connectivity 2015
    2014 The binaural masking level difference: Cortical correlates persist despite severe brain stem atrophy in progressive supranuclear palsyJournal of Neurophysiology.  112:3086-3094. 2014
    2014 HLA-DRB1-associated rheumatoid arthritis risk at multiple levels in African Americans: Hierarchical classification systems, amino acid positions, and residuesArthritis and Rheumatology.  66:3274-3282. 2014
    2014 Complementary and alternative medicine use in African Americans with rheumatoid arthritisArthritis Care and Research.  66:180-189. 2014
    2014 Selection and stopping in voluntary action: A meta-analysis and combined fMRI studyNeuroImage.  86:381-391. 2014
    2013 Into the groove: Can rhythm influence Parkinson's disease?Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.  37:2564-2570. 2013
    2013 Comparison of the disease activity score using erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein in African Americans with rheumatoid arthritisJournal of Rheumatology.  40:1812-1822. 2013
    2013 Perseveration and choice in parkinson's disease: The impact of progressive frontostriatal dysfunction on action decisionsCerebral Cortex.  23:1572-1581. 2013
    2013 Reorganisation of brain networks in frontotemporal dementia and progressive supranuclear palsyNeuroImage: Clinical.  2:459-468. 2013
    2013 Gene expression patterns in peripheral blood cells associated with radiographic severity in African Americans with early rheumatoid arthritis 2013
    2013 The impact of neurodegeneration on network connectivity: A study of change detection in frontotemporal dementiaJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience.  25:802-813. 2013
    2012 Selection and inhibition mechanisms for human voluntary action decisionsNeuroImage.  63:392-402. 2012
    2012 White matter pathology in Parkinson's disease: The effect of imaging protocol differences and relevance to executive functionNeuroImage.  62:1675-1684. 2012
    2012 Association of single-nucleotide polymorphisms in CCR6, TAGAP, and TNFAIP3 with rheumatoid arthritis in African AmericansArthritis and Rheumatism.  64:1355-1358. 2012
    2012 Use of a multiethnic approach to identify rheumatoid- arthritis- susceptibility loci, 1p36 and 17q12American Journal of Human Genetics.  90:524-532. 2012
    2011 Saccadic latency in Parkinson's disease correlates with executive function and brain atrophy, but not motor severityNeurobiology of Disease.  43:79-85. 2011
    2011 Assessment of synovitis with contrast-enhanced MRI using a whole-joint semiquantitative scoring system in people with, or at high risk of, knee osteoarthritis: The MOST studyAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  70:805-811. 2011
    2011 Magnetoencephalography of frontotemporal dementia: Spatiotemporally localized changes during semantic decisions 2011
    2010 Most common single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with rheumatoid arthritis in persons of European ancestry confer risk of rheumatoid arthritis in African AmericansArthritis and Rheumatism.  62:3547-3553. 2010
    2010 Parkinson's disease and healthy aging: Independent and interacting effects on action selectionHuman Brain Mapping.  31:1886-1899. 2010
    2010 Anticitrullinated protein antibody (ACPA) in rheumatoid arthritis: Influence of an interaction between HLA-DRB1 shared epitope and a deletion polymorphism in glutathione s-transferase in a cross-sectional studyArthritis Research and Therapy.  12. 2010
    2010 Measurement of erythrocyte methotrexate polyglutamate levels: Ready for clinical use in rheumatoid arthritis?Current Rheumatology Reports.  12:342-347. 2010
    2010 Dynamic causal modelling of effective connectivity from fMRI: Are results reproducible and sensitive to Parkinson's disease and its treatment?NeuroImage.  52:1015-1026. 2010
    2010 Rheumatoid arthritis risk allele PTPRC is also associated with response to anti-tumor necrosis factor α therapyArthritis and Rheumatism.  62:1849-1861. 2010
    2010 Action selection: A race model for selected and non-selected actions distinguishes the contribution of premotor and prefrontal areasNeuroImage.  51:888-896. 2010
    2010 The val158met COMT polymorphism's effect on atrophy in healthy aging and Parkinson's diseaseNeurobiology of Aging.  31:1064-1068. 2010
    2010 Association of IL4R single-nucleotide polymorphisms with rheumatoid nodules in African Americans with rheumatoid arthritisArthritis Research and Therapy.  12. 2010
    2010 Radiographic severity of rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans: Results from a multicenter observational studyArthritis Care and Research.  62:624-631. 2010
    2010 Genetic variants of STAT4 associated with rheumatoid arthritis in persons of Asian and European ancestry do not replicate in African AmericansAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  69:625-626. 2010
    2010 Genetic association of htSNPs across the major histocompatibility complex with rheumatoid arthritis in an African-American populationGenes and Immunity.  11:94-97. 2010
    2010 Relation of synovitis to knee pain using contrast-enhanced MRIsAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  69:1779-1783. 2010
    2009 Tibiofemoral joint osteoarthritis: Risk factors for MR-depicted fast cartilage loss over a 30-month period in the multicenter osteoarthritis studyRadiology.  252:772-780. 2009
    2009 Recent advances in personalizing rheumatoid arthritis therapy and managementPersonalized Medicine.  6:159-170. 2009
    2009 An african ancestry-specific allele of CTLA4 confers protection against rheumatoid arthritis in african americansPLoS Genetics.  5. 2009
    2009 Retraction: an African ancestry-specific allele of CTLA4 confers protection against rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans.PLoS Genetics.  5. 2009
    2009 Understanding personalized medicine in rheumatoid arthritis: A clinician’s guide to the futureTherapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease.  1:97-105. 2009
    2008 Cigarette smoking, disease severity and autoantibody expression in African Americans with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritisAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  67:1529-1534. 2008
    2008 ReplyArthritis and Rheumatism.  58:3635-3636. 2008
    2008 Rule-selection and action-selection have a shared neuroanatomical basis in the human prefrontal and parietal cortexCerebral Cortex.  18:2275-2285. 2008
    2008 Pharmacogenetics of etanercept in rheumatoid arthritisPharmacogenomics.  9:1011-1015. 2008
    2008 The HLA-DRB1 shared epitope in Caucasians with rheumatoid arthritis: A lesson learned from tic-tac-toeArthritis and Rheumatism.  58:1211-1215. 2008
    2008 Evaluating linkage disequilibrium and recombination provides a haplotype-tagging SNP panel of the major histocompatibility complex in African AmericansGenes and Immunity.  9:271-273. 2008
    2008 The HLA-DRB1 shared epitope is associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis in African Americans through European genetic admixtureArthritis and Rheumatism.  58:349-358. 2008
    2008 Does gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) influence the development of chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis?Journal of Neuroinflammation.  5. 2008
    2008 Dissociations in rod bisection: The effect of viewing conditions on perception and actionCortex.  44:1279-1287. 2008
    2008 Parkinson's disease and dopaminergic therapy - Differential effects on movement, reward and cognition 2008
    2006 Racial or ethnic differences in allele frequencies of sinqle-nucleotide polymorphisms in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene and their influence on response to methotrexate in rheumatoid arthritisAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases.  65:1213-1218. 2006
    2005 The effects of local and global processing demands on perception and actionBrain and Cognition.  59:71-81. 2005
    2004 Genetic risk factors for infection in patients with early rheumatoid arthritisGenes and Immunity.  5:641-647. 2004
    2004 Grasping at sticks: Pseudoneglect for perception but not actionExperimental Brain Research.  157:397-402. 2004
    2003 Early rheumatoid arthritis in African-Americans: The CLEAR registryClinical and Experimental Rheumatology.  21. 2003
    2003 Early rheumatoid arthritis in African-Americans: the CLEAR Registry.Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.  21:S138-S145. 2003
    2002 Genetic influences on rheumatoid arthritis in African AmericansImmunologic Research.  26:15-26. 2002
    2002 Polyarteritis nodosa and microscopic polyangiitis: etiologic and diagnostic considerations.Current Rheumatology Reports.  4:75-82. 2002
    2001 New therapeutic approaches to the management of rheumatoid arthritis 2001


    Year Title Altmetric
    2004 Therapeutic Dictionary of Rheumatology and Immunology 2004

    Research Overview

  • My early research and publications focused on genetics and pharmacogenetics in rheumatoid arthritis, especially in African-Americans. As my clinical activities changed, including becoming the Clinical Training Program Director, the Director of our clinic’s Musculoskeletal Ultrasound Service, and the Associate Division Director for Education, my career and research focus has changed. I have incorporated my musculoskeletal ultrasound skills into teaching and research projects. My clinical and research interests are in imaging modalities and how they can help in the early diagnosis and referral of patients with inflammatory arthritis.
  • Investigator On

  • Centers of Research Translation (CoRT)  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Dissection of the ACPA Response in African-Americans with Rheumatoid Arthritis  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Ethnic Differences in Response to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Ethnic Differences in Responses to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Ethnic Differences in Responses to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Ethnic Differences in Responses to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Ethnic Differences in Responses to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Ethnic Differences in Responses to Painful Stimuli  awarded by University of Florida^
  • Evolving Adaptive and Effector Mechanisms from Pre-RA Through Established Disease  awarded by Northwestern University
  • Genome-Wide Association Study in African-Americans With Rheumatoid Arthritis  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • NIAMS Multidiscipllinary Clinical Research Center  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • NIAMS Multidiscipllinary Clinical Research Center - Project 3  awarded by National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal & Skin Diseases/NIH/DHHS
  • Private Grant  awarded by BIOMET BIOLOGICS, LLC
  • The Rheumatoid Arthritis Synovial Tissue Network (REASON)  awarded by Northwestern University
  • Education And Training

  • Physicians Medical Center Carraway, Internship
  • Physicians Medical Center Carraway, Residency
  • UAB Hospital, Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Doctor of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham 1996
  • Full Name

  • Laura Hughes