Neal N Iwakoshi
Emory University, School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA
I am currently in the second year as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Emory University School of Medicine. My long term is to make a relevant contribution to field of transplantation immunology and advance to the level of full Professor. It is my hope that my basic research will contribute significantly to field of B cell biology and that these advances will translate to a number of B cell directed therapies in the areas of autoimmunity, cancer and transplantation. We hope that our studies will lead to new insights into the fundamental mechanisms determining the formation of donor-specific memory B cells and plasma cells. We anticipate that these studies will generate novel gene or pathway candidates for potential study and therapeutic targeting.
Success in kidney transplantation has resulted from control of T-cell-mediated acute rejection. The use of increasingly potent T-cell directed immunosuppressants has led to a reduction in graft loss from acute rejection. However, little has been done to improve the fate of patients who possess pretransplant donor-specific antibody (DSA), and no proven therapies exist to specifically prevent DSA formation post-transplant. As such, sensitized patients are the most challenging patients to transplant. While methods to detect and characterize DSAs are clearly useful, the B-cell subsets that produce DSAs, or more importantly sustain their production are poorly characterized with regard to phenotype, survival mechanisms, and anatomical locations. DSA-mediated disease is a growing problem in clinical transplantation. We are interested in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate DSA production.To this end, we hope that enhanced knowledge of the basic biology of B-cell activation and participation in multi-cellular responses to alloantigens will lead to novel therapeutic avenues.