Wednesday May 03, 2023 - 11:00 to 12:35
I am a recently appointed Assistant Professor of Surgery (tenure-track) at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute (STI) of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I was appointed after 3 years of rigorous training in transplantation immunobiology at STI focusing on the intra-graft immune response which includes graft infiltrating T cells and tertiary lymphoid organs. More recently, my research has focused on identifying transcriptional programs unique to cells implicated in transplant rejection using machine learning. This work helped establish that a subset of T cells- Tissue Resident Memory T cells- resides permanently in transplanted organs and causes unremitting damage over time. More importantly, it provided insights on key transcription factors, genes, and pathways unique to each infiltrating T cell subset. It has also aided the groundbreaking discovery of immunological memory in monocytes, innate immune cells present in our bodies that were previously presumed not to be capable of memory responses. My main aim is to continue investigating genomic and epigenetic datasets using state-of-the-art bioinformatics and artificial intelligence tools. My main goal is to find novel targets for the treatment of organ transplant rejection. Knowledge learnt and treatments discovered from my research will apply to other areas such as cancer, auto-immunity, among others.