Project Title: Tailored Immunosuppression for Kidney Transplant Recipients
How would you sum up your research in one sentence?
I aim to develop a framework that identifies the optimal immunosuppression regimen for kidney transplant recipients based on their clinical characteristics.
Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.
The optimal immunosuppression regimen for a given patient depends on his/her clinical characteristics. Using data from 100,000 kidney transplant recipients over the last decade, I will create statistical models that can address how the treatment effects of immunosuppressive agents vary by the patient’s individual characteristics. I will identify the key determinants of the optimal regimen, and potentially create a clinical decision support tool based on these models.
What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?
There has been a consensus that immunosuppression should be tailored to individual kidney recipients’ risk profile, since insufficient immunosuppression will lead to rejections and excessive will cause side effects. But how to actually tailor it in practice remains unclear due to lack of quantitative studies on this topic. I expect my research could help kidney transplant recipients undergo immunosuppression that better suits their individual needs.
What are your short- and long-term career goals?
My next career step would be a post-doc or faculty position in epidemiology or related fields. Afterwards, I would like to stay in academia or research-oriented non-academic settings.
What inspired you to focus your research on the kidney?
I was first intrigued by the unique scientific challenges in kidney transplantation, including donor-recipient matching, life-long immunosuppression, etc. My interest has amplified when I learned about the large, high-quality datasets of kidney disease patients, such as the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR). Another big factor was that our institution has several leading experts in the field, whom I am very fortunate to have as my mentors.
What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?
For me, preparing the application for this grant was a great opportunity to strengthen my idea on how this research would benefit patients with kidney diseases. I believe connecting the proposed research to clinical practice (or advancement in science) is something future applicants will need to think about.
Something you may not know about me is…
I used to host a radio show on a South Korean national radio network. It was not only fun but also a great opportunity to improve my oral presentation skills.