The University of Colorado Program for Advancing Spondyloarthritis Treatment (U.C.PAST) is committed to improving the care of patients with spondyloarthritis by advancing our scientific understanding of the disease, developing innovative treatments including disease prevention, and promoting enhanced quality of care.  We hope to allow society see past our current state to a future free of spondyloarthritis. 


• UC-PAST is a collaborative effort encompassing all stages of disease-based research from basic science discoveries through health outcomes in patients. 
• We have amassed a large cohort of human subjects from which data are gathered and biologic samples are available to advance our knowledge of spondyloarthritis and identify informative blood markers. 
• Our site is a central repository for several national studies in spondyloarthritis.
• Prior successes demonstrate our ability to transform support into tangible scientific advancements in a fiscally responsible, ethical, and efficient manner.
• Access to the latest innovative technological platforms for research.
• Talented faculty and staff play crucial roles in the spondyloarthritis community and leverage these connections to advance the clinical and scientific agenda on behalf of their spondyloarthritis patients.

Program goals:
• Improve the diagnosis of spondyloarthritis and reduce the amount of time a patient suffers with back pain before appropriate treatment.
• Determine the best treatment for a specific patient with spondyloarthritis and improve delivery of these medications in order to reduce morbidity. 
• Ultimately, identify individuals at-risk for developing spondyloarthritis and prevent the disease.

U.C. PAST Faculty and Staff





Dr. Liron Caplan, MD, PhD is a rheumatologist and health services researcher focused on understanding the impact of spondyloarthritis on patients’ lives and optimizing spondyloarthritis medical practice. He served as senior author for the original (2015) and revised (2019) American College of Rheumatology axial spondyloarthritis treatment guidelines. He currently Chairs the SPondyloArthritis Research and Treatment Network (SPARTAN)—the professional society to advance spondyloarthritis research and education in North America.




Dr. Kristi Kuhn, MD, PhD is a rheumatologist and immunologist investigating the underlying causes of spondyloarthritis, with the goal of identifying more effective treatments. She is a member of the SPARTAN Board of Directors and holds leadership positions within the American College of Rheumatology. Her research is supported by several research foundations and the National Institutes of Health.


Andrew Stahly, MPH is an biostatistical analyst and professional research assistant directing U.C.PAST’s Program for Individuals at Elevated Risk of Spondyloarthritis (PIERs).  Ms. Stahly uses his academic concentration in epidemiology to guide many of U.C.PAST’s clinical project and performs analyses for some of the mechanistic studies.  He leads the regulatory affairs for U.C.PAST.

Elizabeth Cheng, BS is a professional research assistant focusing on data management and data analysis.  Ms. Cheng leads the organization of national repositories and biorepositories for U.C.PAST.  She is based at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Adam Berlinberg, MD is a rheumatology research fellow in training

U.C.PAST Accomplishments:

  1. Quinzanos I, Luong PT, Bobba S, Richards JS, Majithia V, Davis LA, Caplan L. Validation of disease activity and functional status questionnaires in spondyloarthritis. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2015 Mar-Apr;33(2):146-52. Epub 2015 Feb 9. PMID: 25664820
  2. Deodhar A, Reveille JD, van den Bosch, Braun J, Burgos-Vargas R, Caplan L, Clegg DO, Colbert RA, Gensler LS, van der Heijde D, van der Horst-Bruinsma IE, Inman RD, Maksymowych WP, Mease PJ, Raychaudhuri S, Reimold A, Rudwaleit M, Sieper J, Weisman MH, Landewé RBM. The Concept of Axial Spondyloarthritis: Joint Statement of the Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network and the Assessment of SpondyloArthritis international Society in Response to the US Food and Drug Administration's Comments and Concerns. Arth Rheumatol. 2014 Oct;66(10):2649-56. doi: 10.1002/art.38776 PMID: 25154344
  3. Ward MM, Deodhar A, Akl EA, Lui A, Ermann J, Gensler LS, Smith J, Borenstein D, Hiratzka J, Weiss PF, Inman RD, Majithia V, Haroon N, Maksymowych WP, Joyce J, Clark B, Colbert RA, Figgie M, Hallegua D, Prete P, Rosenbaum JT, Stebulis J, van den Bosch F, Yu DTY, Miller AS, Reveille JD, Caplan L. American College of Rheumatology/Spondylitis Association of America/Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network 2015 recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016 Feb;68(2):282-298. doi: 10.1002/art.39298. Epub 2015 Sep 24. PMID: 26401991
  4. Regner EH, Ohri N, Stahly A, Gerich ME, Fennimore BP, Ir D, Jubair WK, Görg C, Siebert J, Robertson CE, Caplan L, Frank DN, Kuhn KA. Functional intraepithelial lymphocyte changes in inflammatory bowel disease and spondyloarthritis have disease specific correlations with intestinal microbiota.  Arthritis Res Ther. 2018 Jul 20;20(1):149. doi: 10.1186/s13075-018-1639-3. PMID: 30029674
  5. Salem M, Malaty H, Criner K, Caplan L, Hou JK. The prevalence and characterization of axial spondyloarthritis among veterans with inflammatory bowel disease.  (Accepted).
  6. Ward MM, Deodhar A, Biehl A, Bigham R, Borenstein D, Dubreuil M, Fang MA, Gensler LS, Haroon N, Khan MA, Louie G, Majithia V, Ng B, Pianin M, Wang R, Yu D, Maksymowych WP, Oristaglio J, Shah AA, Sullivan N, Turgunbaev M, Turner A, Caplan L. 2019 Update of the American College of Rheumatology/Spondylitis Association of America/Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis. Arthritis Rheumatol. (Accepted)
  7. Soriano ER, Acosta-Felquer ML, Luong P, Caplan L. Pharmacologic treatment of psoriatic arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis with traditional biologic and non-biologic DMARDs. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2014 Oct;28(5):793-806. PMID: 25488785.
  8. Caplan L, Kuhn K. Gastrointestinal and hepatic disease in spondyloarthritis. Rheum Dis Clin North Am. 2018 Feb;44(1):153-164. doi: 10.1016/j.rdc.2017.09.004. PMID: 29149924

Rheumatology (SOM)

CU Anschutz

Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes

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Aurora, CO 80045


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