Professor of Medicine, Medicine: Nephrology
- MD, Makerere University
- Residency, Makerere University
- Fellowship, Nephrology, Immunology, Transplantation, University of Virginia
Basic Transplant Immunology; Role of Naturally occurring IgM antibodies in Acute Kidney Injury and transplant rejection.
My basic research involves investigating the role of naturally occurring IgM autoantibodies that bind to receptors on inflammatory cells and endothelial cells. Thus far, we have shown that these antibodies regulate inflammatory cell functions and downregulate the inflammatory response that occurs after acute ischemic injury to the kidney, as well as after transplantation (i.e. rejection). A subset of normal individuals and patients awaiting transplantation (i.e. kidney, heart) have high levels of these natural antibodies. We and others have noted a strong association between the presence of high IgM anti-leukocyte natural antibodies and protection from rejection.
Currently, our basic research efforts are focused on 1) studying the mechanism by which IgM downregulates the inflammatory response; 2) determining if there is a role of IgM in inducing transplant tolerance, thus decreasing the use of immunosuppressive agents; and 3) evaluating strategies (e.g. vaccines) to increase levels of such antibodies especially in patients awaiting transplantation. Other clinical studies are aimed at determining if there is an association between levels of such antibodies and severity of renal failure (e.g. after cardiac surgery) and severity of glomerular inflammation (e.g. in SLE or IgA nephropathy).
My clinical research involves transplant immunobiology, primarily focusing on B cell regulation, alloantibodies, and desensitizing patients with donor specific antibodies.