My laboratory studies include immunosuppression approaches for liver transplantation and liver transplant rejection. Pediatric liver transplant rejection occurs in approximately 50 percent of recipients within the first year after the transplant.
While most rejection episodes can be treated simply and easily, rejections that happen later, at six or more months after transplantation, are more complex in terms of treatment. These rejections are more likely to result in decreased allograft and recipient survival.
Currently, we lack effective tools to properly predict rejection and determine which patients will positively respond to anti-rejection treatment and which will not. We also currently lack customized patient-specific approaches to treat rejection in an individualized manner, so as to minimize the negative outcomes of over-immune suppression.
To solve these issues, my research team and I are utilizing single-cell RNA sequencing to immunophenotype allograft-infiltrating immune cells when a patient’s body is rejecting a liver transplant. We are hopeful that our research will yield novel findings of new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for treatment response.
I was led to these research interests because of my passion for studying the immune system and how it can differentiate between the self and non-self entities. I received my PhD in Immunology from the University of Iowa, where I studied B cell signaling in viral infections and autoimmunity.
These aspects of immunology inspired my research for discovering the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind pediatric liver transplant rejection. Our research discoveries can be used to develop targeted treatments for rejection and boost long-term allograft and recipient health.
In terms of patient care, I specialize in pediatric chronic liver disease and pediatric liver transplantation. I completed my Pediatric Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology fellowships at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I especially found it motivating to observe the strength of the families and the spirit of our patients before, during and after the liver transplant process.
It is extremely rewarding to work with our superb transplant team to steer patients and their families through these difficult times. I also enjoy watching children grow and flourish after a transplant.
I joined Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 2011, when I began my residency. I received a K12 award from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for my studies. Additionally, my research has been published in multiple journals, including Transplant Infectious Disease, PLoS ONE, Pediatric Transplantation and The Journal of Pediatrics.
As an early career investigator, I am looking to expand my laboratory and engage in dynamic collaborations.
Pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology; pediatric liver transplant
Liver transplant rejection
Instructor, UC Department of Pediatrics
Liver Tumor, Gastroenterology GI