Duke Ex-Vivo Organ Laboratory (DEVOL)
The focus of our laboratory is the development of novel strategies to enhance the function of high-risk transplanted organs. At present, much of our work involves the use of ex vivo organ perfusion technology, in which the graft is maintained in a metabolically active state outside the body. This platform provides the opportunity to assess the viability of the organ and to deliver therapeutic treatments to enhance graft function.
Immune Management Laboratory
When patients receive an organ transplant, they must take immunosuppressive medications for life to prevent rejection. These drugs are incompletely effective and cause significant morbidity. My research is directed toward understanding transplant rejection and translating this understanding into less morbid therapies for transplant recipients.
Two unsolved problems in organ transplantation are 1) injury caused by antibody directed at the donor organ; and 2) recurrence of autoimmune disease after transplantation. Neither of these immunologic injuries is well addressed by current immunosuppressive therapy, and both prevent successful long-term allograft function. Our laboratory works in animal models to address the first of these problems and is engaged in human clinical trials to address the second.
Vascularized Composite Allograft Laboratory
Vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) refers to the transplantation of multiple tissues, such as skin, muscle, tendon, nerve, and bone, as a functional unit (e.g. a hand, the abdominal wall). Several recent advances in clinical organ transplant immunosuppression and experimental VCA have now made it feasible to consider clinical VCA for functional restoration in patients with the loss of one or both hands or large tissue defects that may not be reconstructed with autologous tissue. Our research facilitates the translation of VCA from the bench to the bedside.