The Section of Abdominal Transplantation, directed by William C. Chapman, MD, maintains a strong interest in basic and clinical research related to liver, kidney and pancreas transplantation and non-transplant surgical conditions. Chapman's basic research interests focus on signaling events important in multi-system injury following transplant-associated ischemia reperfusion injury. Using rodent and porcine models of transplantation, his group has shown that the use of a novel therapeutic agent to modulate nitric oxide signaling can improve both liver and kidney transplantation outcomes. A second area of basic investigation is the use of immunomodulation to inhibit a mechanism by which tumor cells evade immune surveillance. By blocking a signal that tumor cells use to inhibit macrophage phagocytosis, his group has shown that the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma can be halted and reversed in murine models xenografts.
Chapman’s translational research interests include the use of normothermic extracorporeal perfusion to rehabilitate and evaluate the function of livers currently deemed unsuitable for transplant, such as those with increased steatosis or donor warm ischemic times. Discarded human livers and porcine liver transplant models are used to investigate liver perfusion techniques. A second project area involves the development of image-guided liver surgery for use in liver resection and tumor-ablative procedures. Each of these project areas has been funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. Chapman is the principal investigator for a number of multi-center clinical trials investigating improved strategies for immunosuppression following liver transplantation. He is also the principal investigator of a registry trial investigating use of liver transplantation for unresectable hilar cholangiocarcinoma, a novel strategy with promising early results.
Thalachallour Mohanakumar, PhD, director of Clinical HLA Laboratories, has an extensive research program in the areas of transplantation and tumor immunology. Current projects include studies of the immunopathogenesis of bronchiolitis obliterans in both human and animal models, molecular mechanisms of human anti-porcine xenograft immunity, immune response to hepatitis C virus following liver transplantation, role of HLA sensitization following islet cell transplantation, use of naturally occurring free fatty acids in modulating immune responses in diabetes and tumor immune responses in human breast cancer. Mohanakumar's research program currently is supported by grants from the NIH, Department of Defense and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International. His research plays an extremely important role in the transplantation program at Washington University and represents a bench-to-bedside effort that collaborates closely with the clinical programs of the BJC HealthCare system. Numerous postdoctoral fellows have gained outstanding experience in his laboratory over the past 21 years.
Surendra Shenoy, MD, director of the Living Donation Program, has several active clinical projects investigating novel approaches of immunosuppression. In addition, he actively investigates new approaches for vascular access in the setting of hemodialysis.
Jason Wellen, MD, is the director of the kidney and pancreas transplant programs. Dr. Wellen has spearheaded our efforts at program growth, especially in the use of extended criteria donors for appropriately matched recipients with excellent results for the kidney program. In addition, he has been responsible for marked expansion of our pancreas transplant program, now projected to perform approximately 20 solid organ transplants per year. In addition, Dr. Wellen has played a major role in researching the efficacy and effectiveness of legislation and policies that were created and intended to improve organ donation rates.
Majella Doyle, MD, maintains a strong interest in abdominal transplant and HPB surgery with a primary interest in disorders of the liver, biliary tract and pancreas. She is involved in the live donor kidney program and has interest in clinical outcomes, especially focused on liver transplantation.
Yiing Lin, MD, PhD, has research interests in the use of sequencing and computation methods to address mechanisms of disease. His interests in basic research are to investigate the mechanisms of genetic regulation in normal tissues as a foundation to understand the perturbations that result in disease. In a translational effort, he is investigating the sequencing of tumor DNA released into the blood stream of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. This non-invasive “liquid biopsy” technique has the potential to provide diagnostic and prognostic information to better inform the management of this cancer.