Transplant Research Program


 

 

 

 


Faculty

 

David Briscoe, MD

 

David Briscoe is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, the Casey Lee Ball Chair in Transplantation, and Director of the Transplant Research Program at Boston Children’s Hospital. He graduated from the Royal College of Surgeons Medical School in Ireland and completed his initial residency training in General Medicine and Pediatrics in Dublin, Ireland. He subsequently trained at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado, and at Boston Children's Hospital. His initial postdoctoral research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Jordan Pober, and a second postdoctoral fellowship was performed under the mentorship of Drs. Ramzi Cotran and Andrew Lichtman at the Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. In 2013, he was appointed Director of the Transplant Research Program, and in 2015, he became the first incumbent Casey Lee Ball Chair in Transplantation. David is a an elected member of the National Physician-Scientist Honors Society, the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI).


 

Johannes Wedel, MD, PhD

 

Johannes Wedel is an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. He received his MD in 2012 from Heidelberg University, Germany. During his training, he was a member of an International Research Training Group that fosters interactions between the Medical Faculty of Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Germany and the University of Groningen, Netherlands where he received his PhD in Transplant Immunology. In 2014, Dr. Wedel moved to the USA and he established his laboratory within the Transplant Research Program in 2021. Dr. Wedel’s research is focused on how intracellular signaling networks direct T cell activation, promote immunoregulation, and resolve inflammation. His broader interest is to identify mechanisms that can prevent transplant rejection and induce operational tolerance following organ transplantation.


Administrator

 

Margaret Diehl, BS

 

Maggie received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Stonehill College. She oversees all administrative issues for the Briscoe Lab and the Transplant Research Program, including grant management. Her long term goal is to enroll in Nursing School.


Research Fellows

 

Sayantan Bose, PhD

 

Bose received his PhD from the University of Calcutta in 2020 for studies on tumor immunity with a particular focus on regulatory T-cells and their modulation by micro-RNAs. He is studying the intracellular mechanisms involved in the function of NRP-2 and DEPTOR, both regulators of the mTOR pathway in immune cells.

 

Lea Sheward, MD

 

Lea graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and trained in general pediatrics at the University of Vermont Medical Center. She has recently initiated her training in pediatric nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital and joined the laboratory to pursue research in biomarker implementation to optimize clinical care following pediatric renal transplantation. Her current project involves the validation of a point-of-care urine biomarker platform. She is interested in learning skills to develop her interest in clinical and translational research.

 

Kaifeng Liu, MD

 

Kaifeng graduated from Tongji Medical University School of Medicine in 1986. He worked in southern China as a clinical surgeon prior to moving the USA. He trained in research, and specifically in the use of animal surgical models at the Universities of Michigan, Chicago and Emory, prior to joining Dr. Gary Visner’s laboratory in the Pulmonary Division at Children’s Hospital Boston. He works with the Briscoe laboratory and other members of the Transplant Research Program to support ongoing collaborations and studies using animal models of lung, heart and skin transplantation. His current interests relate to the analysis of distinct roles for regulators of the immune response, and how this is important in the development of chronic rejection.

 

Dakshna Balasubbramanian, PhD

 

Dakshna received her PhD from Texas A&M University College of Medicine in 2020. She has a longstanding interest in hypertension and vascular disease and hopes to develop an understanding in the role of endothelial cell-specific pathways in regulating immunity.

 

Chiara Testini, PhD

 

Chiara received her PhD in Medical Science at Uppsala University in Sweden in 2016. She worked on the multifactor system that regulates VEGF/VEGFR2 signaling pathways and their function during angiogenesis, permeability, and vessel maintenance. She is interested in endothelial cell signaling pathways in chronic transplant rejection and is studying how regulatos of mTOR signaling pathways downstream of growth factors such as VEGF influence the immunogenicity if the graft. The aim of her research is to discover new targetable pathways to prevent graft rejection.


Clinical Coordinator

 

Emily Toal

 

Emily received her Bachelor’s degree in Health Behavior Science with minors in Business Administration and Public Health from the University of Delaware in 2018, she then worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator in Philadelphia for 3 years, specializing in liver disease. She now works as a Clinical Research Specialist in the Transplant Research Program, while pursuing her Masters of Public Health at Boston University. Emily hopes to specialize in Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Chronic Diseases.



Laboratory Assistants

Evelyn Flynn, BS, MA

 

Evelyn received her MA degree in biology from Boston University in 1990. She has worked in several research areas at Children’s Hospital Boston over the past 15 years and has a special interest in vascular biology and orthopedic research. She specializes in immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy and is a co-author on more than fifty publications. Evelyn is an experienced senior technologist in the laboratory, and enjoys working with fellows in teaching general laboratory techniques as well as histology/immunohistochemistry.

 

Jessica Leyva-Rangel, PhD

 

Jessica received her PhD in Molecular Biomedicine from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, in 2015. Her focus of study was T cell development and selection during infection. Over the course of her studies she worked extensively with transgenic mice and has developed insight into the expansion of distinct T cell populations in the course of infectious disease. Upon relocation to Boston, Jessica was recruited to the Briscoe Laboratory as a Research Technologist and she supports Laboratory activities including the development, phenotyping and maintenance of transgenic mice.

 

A.G. Pramoda Sahankumari

 

Pramoda received her MSc in Biochemistry from the Brigham Young University, Provo, United States. She received her BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular biology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She has recently joined the laboratory and hopes to develop her career as a PhD in the future.

 

Maddie Maslyar, BS

 

Maddie is a research technician and works in Dr. Wedel's Laboratory on the regulation of T cell responses following organ transplantation. She recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Boston University, and is currently expanding her expertise in transgenic mouse models and immunological in vitro techniques. Maddie hopes to attend Medical School in the future.

 

Bayan Alsairafi

 

Bayan is a research technician in Dr. Wedel's Laboratory and works on the understanding of immunoregulation. She received her BA/MS in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Boston University in 2021. Bayan looks forward to her research career and hopes to attend graduate school in the future.



Students

Morgan Miovski

 

Morgan is currently a student in the Honors Program at Northeastern University and will graduate in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. Morgan is a living liver donor to her mother who received a liver transplant in March of 2020. This experience was a catalyst for her passion in transplantation. Morgan hopes to one day become a physician.



Training Program

All faculty actively engage in one-on-one teaching of trainees in the laboratory. Also, research fellows interact with one another extensively and support each other to ensure techniques are shared and projects are successful. We have found that our “team approach” to training enables all fellows to develop a broad expertise in vascular immunobiology and transplantation immunology and helps to ensure high quality research. We believe that interactions among research fellows from different backgrounds (undergraduate, graduate MD and/or PhD trainees) helps to ensure the high quality of research. More about the training program can be found in the attached link.

Past Research Fellows

In total Dr. Briscoe has trained over 40 postdoctoral fellows, the majority of whom still maintain their own research efforts. Three trainees successfully defended their MD/PhD theses, several trainees received notable awards and research grants for their work including NIH K and/or NIH loan repayment grants. Approximately one third currently direct R01-funded or equivalent research laboratories. Of those in the USA, over one half serve as clinician or scientific investigators. One past trainee is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, two are Pediatric Nephrology Division Chiefs and one is a Director of a Department of Pediatrics. A full list of past research fellows in the laboratory can be found in the attached link.

 
Research Associates/Mentored Faculty

Dr. Briscoe has also been active in the mentoring of junior faculty. He has sponsored or co-sponsored several faculty with junior career development grants and awards. A full list of past research associates/mentored faculty and their current position and accomplishments can be found in the attached link.

 
Past Laboratory Assistants

Several laboratory assistants transitioned to higher educational studies including Law School and Medical School. A full list of past laboratory assistants can be found in the attached link.

 
Past Students

A full list of past students can be found in the attached link.