Director, Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh
Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Division of Cardiology
Nicholas Beckwith III and Dorothy B. Beckwith Chair in Translational Medicine
Dr. Finkel’s research focuses on identifying and understanding the connection between aging and age-related diseases.
His lab added major contributions to the understanding of aging over the past decade, including detecting how:
- A specific class of enzymes — known as sirtuins — are key regulators of aging.
- Cellular energy pathways are involved in the maintenance of stem cells in the body.
Over the years, Dr. Finkel’s research has involved both animal models and humans, bridging clinical medicine and basic science. Now his lab is exploring the connection between the immune system and inflammation to aging.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Neal’s lab focuses on the mechanisms of organ failure and coagulopathy following trauma and hemorrhage.
He has a distinct interest in the roles of:
- Innate immune activation in regulating hemostasis and thrombosis.
- Platelet biology in sterile injury and sepsis.
Dr. Neal also has a translational research interest in:
- Outcomes after massive transfusion.
- The clinical assessment of coagulation defects in trauma and sepsis.
Assistant Professor, Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Seymour’s research program focuses on the organization of critical care during pre-hospital care.
He has interest in the development of early diagnostic and prognostic models to promote:
- Allocation of patients.
- Early treatments for those with acute illness.
Dr. Seymour seeks to create a research and acute care paradigm for pre-hospital sepsis like that for acute cardiovascular disease.
Director, Mario Lemieux Center for Blood Cancers at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Clinical Director of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, UPMC
Visiting Research Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Specializing in hematologic malignancies and stem cell transplantation, Dr. Agha participates actively in clinical research and served as an investigator on several clinical trials.
Vice Chairman, Surgical Oncology and Gastrointestinal Services, UPMC
Director, David C. Koch Regional Perfusion Cancer Therapy Center
Director, Multidisciplinary Disease Site Clinical and Research Programs for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Bernard Fisher Professor of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
David L. Bartlett, MD, specializes in all aspects of surgical oncology and is an expert in liver and bile duct tumors, the management of advanced, complex abdominal malignancies, gastric cancer, and abdominal sarcomas.
Dr. Bartlett has a research interest in treating advanced carcinomas in the peritoneal cavity. He has helped to develop a technique for delivery of hyperthermia and chemotherapy directly to the peritoneal cavity as a re-circulating perfusion. This technique delivers chemotherapy in the operating room to patients with disease confined to the peritoneal cavity.
Hematologist/Oncologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Dr. Dorritie was previously involved in laboratory research focused on the development of novel therapeutic agents for acute myeloid leukemia. More recently, she has shifted her focus to the development of early phase clinical trials in hematologic malignancies, in particular lymphoid malignancies. She is a member of the UPCI Cancer Therapeutics Team.
She has played a key role in the development of the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell program and serves as lead or co-investigator on several clinical studies of CAR T-cell therapy at UPMC. Dr. Dorritie has also been working to develop a stem cell transplant program for patients with hemoglobinopathies, including sickle cell disease.
Executive Vice Chair of Gynecologic Services, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
Director, Ovarian Cancer Center for Excellence, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
Co-Principle Investigator, University of Pittsburgh SPORE Grant
Dr. Edwards specializes in all aspects of gynecologic oncology, with a specific focus on intraperitoneal chemotherapy. His research interests include cervical and ovarian malignancies.
He serves as Principle Investigator of the Gynecologic Oncology Group for the University of Pittsburgh and for many pharmaceutical-sponsored studies.
Dr. Edwards’ other research interests include:
- Vaccines for cervical and ovarian cancer.
- Combining biologic and immunologic therapies with traditional therapies in the treatment of women’s cancers.
- Intraperitoneal therapy.
Director, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Professor of Otolaryngology and Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Co-Principle Investigator, University of Pittsburgh SPORE Grant
Dr. Ferris’s research focuses on cellular immune mechanisms of natural killer cell, dendritic cells, and T lymphocyte activation against head and neck cancer tumor antigens.
His lab focuses on mechanisms of tumor antigen processing and immunologic evasion used by head and neck cancer cells, themselves.
New trials are testing combination immunotherapies, through a one-month “window of opportunity” neoadjuvant clinical trials. These trials provide novel and unique pre- and post-treatment specimens to interrogate the tumor microenvironment (TME) for factors that drive personalized cancer immunotherapy.
Director, Solid Tumor Cell Therapy Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Visiting Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Kammula is a surgical oncologist in the UPMC Department of Gastrointestinal Surgical Oncology.
His research and clinical expertise includes:
- Cancer immunology
- Adoptive T cell transfer
- Gene therapy
- Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
Director, Melanoma Center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Usher Professor of Medicine, Dermatology, and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Clinical Translational Science Institute, University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Kirkwood focuses his research on melanoma immunobiology, therapy, and prevention.
He has advanced the multimodal therapy of melanoma with:
- Stereotactic radiotherapy
- Molecular antitumor agents
He’s now pioneering new approaches to the assessment of combinations of the 10 recently-approved new immunotherapies and molecular therapies anticipated to be the focus of the next decade of clinical translational research.
Dr. Kirkwood’s lab engages in:
- The molecular and immunohistological analysis of melanoma.
- Studying tissues from the institutional, national, and international trials that Dr. Kirkwood works on.
- Assessing metastatic and loco-regional tumor tissues from patients participating in new combination therapies, neoadjuvant trials, and prevention interventions. The lab places an emphasis on the alterations in immunomodulatory STAT signaling pathways, and effector immune responses.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Hematologist/Oncologist, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Dr. Sehgal is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology.
She specializes in:
- Allogeneic and autologous stem cell transplant
- Multiple myeloma
She’s conducting research in stem cell transplant and drug development in hematologic malignancies.
Co-Director, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Visiting Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Shlomchik’s research program focuses on understanding the complex immunology of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT), including:
- Graft-versus host disease (GVHD)
- Graft-versus-leukemia (GVL)
- Immune reconstitution
The overall goal of his research is to make discoveries that can translate in the clinic.
A major aspect of his research program has focused on mechanisms of GVHD:
- Roles of donor and host antigen presenting cells in priming alloreactive T cells.
- Mechanisms of antigen presentation.
- The role of donor tissue infiltrating APCs in promoting GVHD end organ damage.
The second main area of research has been to understand mechanisms of GVL and GVL-resistance.
Dr. Shlomchik’s lab has developed mouse models of GVL-sensitive chronic phase CML (CP-CML) and GVL-resistant blast crisis CML (BC-CML), with both leukemias induced by retroviral transfer of human oncogenes. This has provided both realistic models and genetic flexibility in that leukemias can be induced in any mouse, including those that are gene-modified.
Recently, his lab has been applying two photon intravital microscopy to both GVHD and GVL.
Co-Leader of the Cancer Immunology Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Co-Director of the Tumor Microenvironment Center, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center
Professor and Vice Chair, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Renowned researcher Dario Vignali, PhD, focuses on gaining a better understanding of the inhibitory mechanisms. This includes inhibitory receptors and regulatory T cells that limit anti-tumor immunity in cancer patients.
His team is also creating discovery-based programs aimed at identifying novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
Dr. Vignali is working with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center scientists and clinicians to facilitate the translation of novel therapeutic modalities with a focus on immunologically-impacted solid tumors, mainly:
- Head and neck tumors
- Lung tumors
- Pancreatic cancer
Chief, UPMC Division of Lung Transplant/Lung Failure
Vice Chair, Research Affairs and Education
Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. D’Cunha’s research focuses on:
- Molecular mechanisms of non-small cell lung cancer tumorigenesis.
- Novel treatments for non-small cell lung cancer.
- Lung transplantation.
Dr. D’Cunha’s lab is investigating the prediction and treatment of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and Ex vivo lung perfusion. The use of molecular approaches to measure novel biomarkers will seek to predict the quality and function of the lungs that have gone IRI.
Although IRI is the focus of his research, the lab also has an interest in cancer biology.
Medical Director, UPMC Living Donor Program, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute
Dr. Ganesh is the medical director of the Living Donor Program at UPMC.
She is renowned for her clinical expertise in treating a wide range of patients with liver disease with a specific interest in living-donor liver transplant.
Dr. Ganesh’s areas of research include:
- Evaluating recipients and donors and assessing their eligibility for living donor surgery.
- Managing patients on the waiting list.
- Developing disease management protocols in post-liver transplant patients with metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, and systemic hypertension.
Clinical Director of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC
Chief, UPMC Division of Transplant, Department of Surgery
Dr. Humar is a world-renowned transplant surgeon. As chief of transplantation at UPMC, he oversees all clinical research activities at one of the world’s most active and prestigious transplant programs.
Dr. Humar’s research includes:
- Partial liver transplants and studies of liver regeneration.
- Clinical outcome studies in kidney, liver, and pancreas transplants.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in transplant recipients.
- Outcomes in children who have kidney and liver transplants and small bowel transplant.
His lab is exploring the potential of using a donor’s cells to control the transplant recipient’s immune response to minimize immunosuppression.
Professor of Surgery, Immunology and Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Scientific Director, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC
Frank & Athena Sarris Chair in Transplant Biology
Dr. Lakkis oversees the University of Pittsburgh’s internationally renowned transplant research program.
The goal of Dr. Lakkis’ research is to understand the fundamental mechanisms of acute and chronic rejection in solid organ transplantation.
The main research areas in Dr. Lakkis’ lab are the:
- Innate mechanisms responsible for initiating and perpetuating the alloimmune response.
- Role of memory T cells in allograft rejection.
His lab uses:
- Mouse models of skin, heart, kidney, and islet transplant to address these areas of research.
- Intravital multiphoton microscopy to investigate the mechanisms of monocyte and memory T cell migration to the transplanted mouse kidney.
Dr. Lakkis’ lab is also part of a human immunology group researching innate and adaptive immune function in kidney transplant recipients.
Director, Lung Transplant Translational Research Program at UPMC
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
UPMC Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine
Associate Member, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC
Dr. McDyer’s lab focuses on immunobiology of lung transplantation.
Currently, his lab is researching mechanisms of tolerance and rejection, host defense and ischemic-reperfusion injury. His team uses a combined approach of animal models and human cells to address questions about lung transplant.
Lung allografts are more susceptible to rejection than other solid organ transplants, resulting in decreased survival.
Dr. McDyer’s research lab:
- Uses the mouse orthotopic lung transplant model and the heterotopic tracheal transplant model. These models address the regulation of cytokine responses in rejection and how different cytokine milieus lead to variable rejection pathology.
- Studies the regulation of tolerance established via costimulation blockade via mechanisms of deletion, anergy, and regulatory T cells.
- Also has an interest in the mechanisms by which viruses disrupt the establishment of tolerance.
Professor of Surgery and Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Director, Human Immunology Core Lab, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute
Director, Abdominal Organ Transplant Biorepository, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute
Dr. Metes is a professor of surgery and immunology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Her research interests focus on three aspects of the immune response in transplant recipients, in the effort to identify specific markers or pathways that predict immune quiescence, rejection, or the risk for EBV complication.
Dr. Metes’ research lab focuses on:
- Immune responses to EBV
- Immune responses to alloantigens
- DC immunobiology
Medical Director, UPMC Lung Transplant Program
Associate Chief, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, & Critical Care Medicine, UPMC
Associate Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology, Physiology & Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Pilewski has a distinct interest in lung transplant. He has a longstanding focus in treating people with suppurative lung diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF).
- Directs a research program in epithelial cell biology focused on ion transport and mucin structure and function in normal and CF airways.
- Leads translational research projects focused on new treatments for CF and other diseases of mucus obstruction, and identification of biomarkers of disease activity.
- Is a co-investigator on NIH and CF Foundation sponsored grants focused on CF. He’s also a co-investigator in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Development Network.
Chief, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapies, UPMC
Professor, Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Szabolcs has dedicated his career to designing effective “reduced-intensity” chemotherapy regimens for:
- People in need of a blood or bone marrow transplant.
- Children with rare immune-system defects and degenerative brain diseases.
His lab has interest in understanding the development of immune competence, particularly T cell immunity, in recipients of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT).
Dr. Szabolcs’ research bridges the gap between the bench and the clinic. His overall goal is finding novel strategies to accurately diagnose, predict, and therapeutically accelerate posttransplant immune reconstitution without increasing graft versus host disease (GvHD).
Distinguished Professor of Surgery and Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Thomson’s research interest includes understanding the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in tolerance induction.
His work focuses on further elucidating mechanisms underlying the ability of DCs and T lymphocytes to regulate alloimmune responses.
Currently, his team is studying:
- The functions of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex in DCs.
- How inhibition of mTORC1 and/or mTORC2 impacts the ability of these antigen-presenting cells to induce and regulate T cell responses in vitro and in vivo.
- Molecular regulation of the function of liver DCs in vitro and in vivo. And their role in the promotion of liver transplant tolerance, using both experimental models and clinical material.
- Therapeutic potential of tolerogenic DCs and Treg in preclinical models of renal and heart transplant.
Center for Medicine & the Microbiome
Chair, Department of Medicine, UPMC
Director, Pittsburgh Heart, Lung, and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute (VMI), University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Gladwin specializes in diagnosing and treating people pulmonary hypertension and sickle cell disease. He’s an expert in heart and lung complications of sickle cell disease, which occur more frequently as patients are aging.
Since 1998, Dr. Gladwin’s research has led to numerous scientific discoveries such as:
- The nitrite anion is a circulating storage pool for NO bioactivity that regulates hypoxic vasodilation and the cellular resilience to low oxygen and ischemia.
- A novel physiological function for hemoglobin as an electronically and allosterically-regulated nitrite reductase.
- The characterization of a novel mechanism of disease, hemolysis-associated endothelial dysfunction.
- The mechanistic, clinical, and epidemiological description of a human disease syndrome, hemolysis-associated pulmonary hypertension.
Co-director for Basic Science, Center for Microbiome and Medicine
Visiting Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Dr. Methé’s research focuses on microbial ecology and the relationship of the microbiome to lung disease.
Director, Center for Medicine and the Microbiome
Vice Chair for Clinical Research, Department of Medicine, UPMC
UPMC Chair in Translational Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Immunology, and Clinical and Translational Research
Dr. Morris focuses on lung disease in HIV-infected patients and in care of intensive care unit patients.
Her research interests include HIV-associated lung disease and the role of the microbiome in disease.
Her group works with large cohort epidemiologic studies of HIV and other diseases. They also conduct translational studies that apply physiologic and molecular techniques to patient populations.
As part of her role in the Center for Medicine and the Microbiome, she works with others in diverse areas studying the microbiome.
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