Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Grant: Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant (2018)
Project Title: Understanding the Interface of Allo and Auto-Immunity: the Impact of Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Antibodies in Pediatric Kidney Transplant Recipients
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
I am interested in understanding the impact of non-HLA autoantibodies on kidney transplant outcomes and allograft pathology in children.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
I will be investigating the role of angiotensin II type 1 receptor antibodies (AT1R-Ab) in a large cohort of pediatric kidney transplant recipients. This study will examine the clinical outcomes associated with AT1R-Ab as well thoroughly investigate the pathology associated with AT1R-Ab through the use of immunohistochemical staining and transcriptomics.
What inspired you to focus your research in this area?
I had a patient early in my fellowship who lost his allograft in the first 3 weeks post-transplant due to AT1R-Ab mediated allograft injury. Subsequently, our pilot study revealed that AT1R-Ab is much more prevalent than we expected in children when compared to adult kidney transplant recipients and associated with poor allograft outcomes and vascular inflammation. These findings led me to design a larger study to investigate this relationship and to thoroughly examine allograft pathology in these patients.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
I hope my work will help us gain a better understanding of the role of AT1R-Ab in clinical outcomes and allograft pathology. Ultimately, this knowledge will help design future studies to assess the utility of screening and preemptive treatment for non-HLA antibodies.
What are your short- and long-term career goals?
I have recently been promoted to Assistant Professor and been awarded a Master of Science in Clinical Research. By the end of the grant period, I hope to build on my current statistical skills by gaining a better command of big data analysis. Further, I hope to have the data and skill set necessary to design a clinical trial investigating the benefit of angiotensin receptor blockade in transplant patients with AT1R-Ab. I have a passion for kidney transplantation – I am truly inspired by the impact that it has on my patients, children with ESRD. I hope that in 10 years, I can progress in my role as a physician scientist focused in pediatric kidney transplantation and take on a leadership role within the pediatric transplant community. I also hope to expand my work in understanding the intersection of auto and allo – immunity to improve our understanding of the breadth of antibody-mediated allograft injury.
What has surprised you most about your career?
I did not start a career in medicine with a plan to focus on research. I am pleasantly surprised that my career path has lead me to this point! I hope my role as a physician scientist will allow me to make meaningful contributions to the lives of my patients.
Describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.
The ASN Career Development Award is absolutely critical for me to support my completion of this work and the progression of my career as a physician-scientist – my gratitude for the opportunity cannot be overstated.
Something you may not know about me is…
I was a competitive sailor in college.
In my free time I like to…
Spend time with my wonderful husband and adorable dog. I love taking advantage of all the lovely outdoor activities that Southern California offers.