Current Titles and Affiliations:
- Academic appointment:
Assistant Professor of Surgery
Emory University School of Medicine
Department of Surgery – Transplant Center
- Member, Graduate Program in Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Education and Post-Graduate Training:
|University of Georgia,
Magna cum laude
(With Honors, With Honors in Genetics)
Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Advisor: Dr. Brian D. Evavold
Mentor: Dr. Christian P. Larsen
|2004 - 2007
- American Society of Transplantation Basic Science Advisory Council, 2010-2013.
- National Institutes of Health/ NIAID Special Emphasis Panel, July 2011.
- 24th International Congress of The Transplantation Society Program Committee (Immunobiology), 2011-2012.
- Transplantation Immunology, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2011 -- Present
- Transplantation, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2010 -- Present
- American Journal of Physiology, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2009 -- Present
- Journal of Immunological Methods, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2009 -- Present
- Immunological Investigations, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2009 -- Present
- The American Journal of Transplantation, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2008 – Present
- Cellular Immunology, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2008 – Present
- The Journal of Immunology, Ad-hoc Reviewer 2008 – Present
- American Transplant Congress, Abstract Reviewer 2008, 2009, 2010
- SURE Fellows Research Symposium, Emory University, Reviewer and Judge 2003-2004
Honors and Awards:
- American Society of Transplant. Young Investigator Award (ASE) 2009
- Emory University Research Council Award 2008
- American Society of Transplant. Young Investigator Award (ATC) 2007
- Emory University Surgery Research Symposium Award 2007
- Emory University Surgery Research Symposium Award 2005
- American Society of Transplantation Research Grant 2005-2007
- National Kidney Foundation Basic Research Fellowship 2005 (declined)
- NIH National Research Service Award 2004-2007
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship 2000-2003
- Howard Hughes Undergraduate Research Training 1998
- Charter Merit Scholarship, University of Georgia 1996-1999
- The Transplantation Society Women Leaders in Transplantation, 2009-Present
- American Society of Transplantation, Member 2008- Present
- American Association of Immunologists, Member 2008 - Present
- American Society of Transplantation, Trainee Member 2006 - 2008
- American Association of Immunologists, Trainee Member 2001 - 2008
Cellular mechanisms of induction and modulation of allospecific T cell responses
My research interests focus on donor-reactive T cell activation, programming, and memory generation during the course of transplant rejection or survival. While blockade of costimulatory molecules such as the CD28 pathway shows great promise in clinical trials, not all T cell responses are attenuated using costimulation blockers such as belatacept. My research has shown that the presence of certain conditions, such as high naïve CD4+ or CD8+ T cell precursor frequency or pre-existence of donor-reactive memory T cells, render recipients refractory to the salutary effects of costimulation blockade. Using novel mouse models to identify and characterize donor-reactive T cells participating in allograft rejection, my research program focuses on elucidating answers to the following questions:
- What are the critical factors that allow naïve donor-reactive T cells to obviate the requirement for CD28 and/or CD40-mediated costimulation during a primary response to an allograft?
- What are the downstream effects of interruption of the CD40/CD154 interaction during the course of transplantation, and can we identify targets to circumvent the use of anti-CD154 monoclonal antibodies to induce long-term graft survival?
- Does exposure to environmental pathogens result in the generation of alloantigen-specific cross-reactive memory T cell populations that pose a barrier to long-term graft survival following transplantation?
- What pathways are critical for donor-reactive memory T cell recall responses following transplantation and can we elucidate ways to block these pathways to facilitate long-term graft survival?