Leadership

Brendan Keating

Dr. Keating is an Associate Professor of Transplant Research in the Division of Transplantation at The University of Pennsylvania. He trained as a molecular geneticist with a focus on discovering and assessing functional impacts of genomic polymorphisms and biomarkers on human disease. He has led several large genomics consortium studies for complex disease phenotypes. His groups research interests focus on genome-wide association studies (GWAS), whole exome-sequencing, miRNA, mRNA and proteomic/metabolomics of transplant donor and recipient’s genomes, with the aim of using genomic and other biomarkers for the diagnoses and prognoses of post-transplant compilations. He is a PI on a number of NIH funded studies including an NIAID U01 study  ‘MHC & KIR Sequencing and Association Analyses in the iGeneTRAiN Studies’;  an NIAID R01 study “Multiomic Biomarker Discovery and Validation in Heart Transplant Patient Populations” and an NICHD funded 12-site prospective biomarker master reliance study in pediatric kidney transplantation where 450 patients are being for diagnostic and prognostic markers of acute rejection and post-transplant infection (NCT03719339) using urine, DNA and other bio-specimens. He has led or co-authored over 145 genomic publications and have given over 100 presentations in 25 countries including numerous national and international conferences.

Ajay K. Israni

Professor. Israni is the Genomic principal investigator for the Genomics studies in long-term deterioration of kidney allograft function (DeKAF), an ongoing multicenter study to define, in grafts with late post transplant dysfunction (“creeping creatinine”), clinicopathologic entities that predict rate of progression of chronic graft dysfunction and graft loss. Collectively, the participating centers perform over 1,000 renal transplants per year and currently follow over 10,000 transplant patients. The genome-wide studies to date in deKAF encompass over 5,500 individuals making it by far the largest transplant genomics study in the United States. Dr. Israni received his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine with High Honors in Genetics. Subsequently he completed his internship, residency and a Chief Residency in Internal Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. For further training, he joined the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine for his nephrology fellowship. During his fellowship he completed his Master’s thesis in Clinical Epidemiology focusing on improving outcomes in kidney transplantation. Before joining Hennepin County Medical Center in 2005, he was an Instructor in Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an attending physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Hospital and the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Israni is President of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute. Minnesota, and is currently a Professor of Medicine, and Adjunct Faculty in School of Public Health, University of Minnesota. He is also the Deputy Director of the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

Folkert W. Asselbergs

Folkert W. Asselbergs is Professor in Cardiovascular Cenetics and consultant cardiologist at the Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Program Lead Cardiovascular Genetics at the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, adjunct professor at the department of Epidemiology, Dartmouth Medical College, US, and chief scientific officer of the Durrer Center for Cardiogenetic Research, Netherlands Heart Institute. He has published more than 145 scientific papers in the field of cardiovascular disease and his work has been funded by the Netherlands Heart Foundation, Netherlands Heart Institute, EU FP7, European Society of Cardiology, BBMRI, National Institutes of Health, and ZonMw. His research program in complex genetics focuses on the discovery of genes influencing susceptibility to cardiovascular disease; the application of these findings for the validation of drug targets; and the use of genetic tests for treatment targeting (stratified medicine). Dr Asselbergs aims to facilitate collaboration at an international level through his work at the Durrer Center of Cardiogenetic research. The Durrer Center is a national multidisciplinary collaboration that aims to provide expertise, infrastructure and services for collecting, comparing, harmonizing and merging results from individual cardiovascular studies. Dr. Asselbergs is principal investigator of a number of heart transplant genomic studies that are part of the iGeneTRAiN consortium, and is co-chair of the heart transplant group.

Abraham (Avi) Shaked

Abraham Shaked, MD, PhD, is the Eldrige L. Eliason Professor of Surgery, and Director of the Penn Transplant Institute. Dr. Shaked received his MD degree from the Hebrew University in Israel and completed his general surgery training at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where he also accomplished a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in molecular pathology and immunology. He then completed an accredited transplantation fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he served for 5 years as the Associate Director of the busiest liver transplant program in the country. In 1995 Dr. Shaked was recruited to lead the liver transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Since then the combined program has become one of the 10 busiest in the country. His clinical activity is focused in adult and pediatric liver transplantation, complex hepatobiliary surgery, biliary reconstruction, and minimization of immunosuppression. Dr. Shaked is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field of transplantation and served as President of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. Dr. Shaked’s academic record is reflected by his outstanding achievements in basic laboratory research, translational research, and support for clinical science investigation. His laboratory efforts focus on the exploration of early gene expression in organ donors and using molecular identifiers to determine the relationship of proinflammation and the activation of the alloimmune response. These studies are extended to determine biomarkers of rejection in blood and urine of organ recipients. He is supported by continuous NIH funding since 1992. He has published over 150 manuscripts, and is a member of the Editorial boards of American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation, and Liver Transplantation.
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