INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced that Michael P. Heffernan, M.D., a nationally recognized expert in complex medical dermatology, psoriasis and clinical trials, has joined its autoimmune team as distinguished medical fellow. Alisa E. Koch, M.D., a rheumatologist who has won numerous academic awards for her extensive work in rheumatoid arthritis, joined as senior medical fellow. Most recently, Heffernan was in private practice at Central Dermatology in St. Louis, and was formerly the chair of the Department of Dermatology at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He is also a past president and a member of the board of directors of the Medical Dermatology Society. In this new position at Lilly, he will provide scientific and medical direction to those molecules in clinical development for the treatment of psoriasis and other autoimmune dermatological conditions. He will also serve as a senior medical advisor to Lilly's advocacy and medical education efforts in these disease states. Koch recently served in an endowed chair position, the Frederick G.L. Huetwell and William D. Robinson, M.D. Professor of Rheumatology, at the University of Michigan Medical School. As senior medical fellow, her key responsibilities are to advance and support the development, launch and commercialization of the U.S. autoimmune programs. She will serve as a representative and advocate for the programs within the rheumatological professional medical community and support Lilly's overall medical education efforts in these disease states. "At Lilly, we are committed to making ongoing improvements in the lives of patients with a broad range of autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and we are very hopeful about the value we might add in the future," said Eiry Roberts, M.D., vice president of autoimmune product development at Lilly. "Mike and Alisa have expressed similar commitment to addressing unmet patient and provider needs in their respective fields of dermatology and rheumatology. Their expertise, passion and leadership are the perfect complement to our autoimmune team."