Precision Immunology Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (PrIISM)

Transplant

Funded by multiple NIH, NCI R01s, R21s, P01s, a U01 and complemented by several foundation grants and industry-supported clinical trials, transplant research at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) in collaboration with PrIISM, the Tisch Cancer Center, and the Recanati Miller Transplant Institute is thriving.

Bone Marrow Transplantation (BMT) research led by the James Ferrara lab focuses on the immunology of BMT, particularly its major complication, graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). The team has identified and validated the first clinically useful biomarkers for acute GVHD; the ISMMS acts as the data coordinating center for an international consortium to conduct biomarker-guided clinical trials in acute GVHD. The Ferrara group’s basic laboratory component studies the biology of the key biomarkers relating to GVHD and has illuminated unexpected interactions between the innate and adaptive immune systems, leading to conceptual breakthroughs and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. 

Research in solid organ transplant science is performed by the Peter Heeger and Barbara Murphy labs, as well as labs led by Jordi Ochando, Paolo Cravedi, Joseph Leventhal, and Madhav Menon. The laboratories study basic mechanisms linking complement to cell death and T cell immunity, new approaches to inducing graft tolerance including via modulating erythropoietin receptor signaling, novel molecular mechanisms of allograft fibrosis and chronic allograft nephropathy, alloreactive B cell memory, and the development of unique approaches for in vivo imaging of ongoing allograft damage, among other topics. Translational studies address molecular signatures of incipient graft failure, identifying and testing biomarkers of acute kidney transplant injury and testing the impact and mechanisms of anti-TNF induction therapy on late kidney allograft function through an NIH-funded, randomized, controlled, multicenter, and international trial.

All transplant research is supported by the Translational Transplant Research Center (Peter Heeger, Director), with its good laboratory practice-compliant immune monitoring core, common flow cytometry and sorting equipment for mechanistic studies, a microsurgery core facility that performs transplants in mice and a T32 training grant for postdocs in transplantation science. Collaborative clinical trials within the Recanati/Miller Transplant Institute (Sander Florman, Director) include studies of outcomes and interventions in HIV+ kidney or liver transplant recipients, prevention of delayed kidney graft function, treatment of antibody-mediated, kidney transplant rejection, and prevention/treatment of HCV in liver transplant recipients, among others.

Inquiries regarding open faculty positions in transplant science should be sent to peter.heeger@mssm.edu.

Investigators with a major focus in transplant include:

Dr. Paolo Cravedi is a scientist physician with a strong interest in kidney transplantation and autoimmune glomerular diseases. During his clinical training as nephrologist in Italy, he designed clinical research studies in kidney transplant recipients and in individuals with renal diseases aimed at prolonging survival of the graft or the native kidneys, respectively. His studies have contributed to defining the organ allocation system currently used in many countries around the world.

He subsequently completed his postdoctoral training at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where he identified unanticipated immune effects of erythropoietin. While Dr. Cravedi’s lab is still interested in understanding the mechanisms of all reactive immune responses, it has more recently expanded its focus to study the pathogenesis of autoimmune glomerular disease.

Area(s) of Focus:
Transplant
Autoimmunity

Profile

James L. M. Ferrara, MD, DSc is the Ward-Coleman Professor of Cancer medicine and Director of the Center for Translational Research in Hematologic Malignancies in the Tisch Cancer Institute of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. His research focuses on the immunology of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), particularly its major complication graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). His team has identified and validated the first clinically useful biomarkers for acute GVHD and illuminated unexpected interactions between the innate and adaptive immune systems, leading to conceptual breakthroughs and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets.

 

 

Area(s) of Focus:
Transplant
Cancer Immunology

Lab

Profile

Dr. Fribourg-Casajuana is an Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research interests focus on cellular signaling in the immune system, autoimmune diseases, and clinical intervention in organ transplantation immunology. His lab focuses on applying computational modeling, functional genomics, cell signaling, and transplant immunology to identify the molecular mechanisms by which exogenous interferon beta (IFNb), a type I interferon, acts on T cells to prolong allograft survival.

Dr. Fribourg-Casajuana earned his PhD in biomedical sciences in a cell signaling and electrophysiology lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. He did five years of postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Sealfon, a leading expert in systems biology in the field of immunology, where he honed his skills in experimental techniques and computational analyses in functional genomics, and studied the effects of type I interferons in early viral infections. In 2013 he shifted the focus of his research to transplantation immunology with the aim to study immune signaling problems with translational potential to the clinic. Dr. Fribourg-Casajuana’s early training centered on theoretical and quantitative skills. He earned a degree in telecommunications engineering at Polytechnical University (UPM) in Madrid, Spain. He also completed graduate coursework in bioengineering and medical imaging at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.

Area(s) of Focus:
Transplant

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Peter Heeger, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Immunology. His research lab is funded through NIH R01, R21, P01, U01, and T32 grants to perform research in solid organ transplant science and studies basic mechanisms a) linking complement to T and B cell immunity and cell death and b) new approaches to inducing graft tolerance including via modulating erythropoietin receptor signaling. Additional translational studies identify and test biomarkers of acute kidney transplant injury, and test the impact and mechanisms of anti-TNF induction therapy on late kidney allograft function through an NIH-funded, randomized, controlled, multicenter, and  international trial. Transplant research is supported by the Translational Transplant Research Center (P. Heeger, Director), with its good laboratory practice-compliant immune monitoring core, common flow cytometry and sorting equipment for mechanistic studies, a microsurgery core facility that performs transplants in mice, and a T32 training grant for postdocs in transplantation science. Collaborative clinical trials are performed within the Recanati Miller Transplant Institute (S. Florman, Director). Inquiries regarding open faculty positions in transplant science should be sent to peter.heeger@mssm.edu.

Area(s) of Focus:
Transplant 

Lab

Profile

Jordi Ochando, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Oncological Sciences and Director of the Flow Cytometry CoRE at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The Ochando laboratory investigates the origin, development, and immune function of macrophages in organ transplantation. His laboratory has recently discovered that trained immunity represents a previously unrecognized pathway that mediates allograft rejection. To prevent the detrimental effects of trained macrophages, the Ochando laboratory developed a novel revolutionary targeted therapeutic delivery approach in which drug-loaded nanobiologics that specifically target macrophages in vivo and induce long-term allograft acceptance. This research represents a compelling framework for developing novel targeted therapies that promote immunological tolerance.

Area(s) of Focus:
Transplant 

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