Leadership

DIRECTOR

Lori West, MD, D.Phil, FRCPC, FACHS

Dr. West is Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery and Immunology, the Director at the Alberta Transplant Institute at the University of Alberta and the Canada Research Chair in Cardiac Transplantation (Tier 1). She is a world leader in pediatric cardiac transplantation and transplant immunobiology, including crucial translation of basic concepts and findings from murine models to clinical application in pediatric heart transplantation. Her work resulted in a pioneering strategy for increasing donor availability for infants by crossing the ABO barrier, which has had a major global impact on infant heart transplantation. Her investigations of the immune development of infants after ABO-incompatible transplantation led to the first demonstration of neonatal transplantation tolerance in humans. Dr. West is the Director of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP), a coalition of more than 300 investigators at 30 sites in nine province, funded by CIHR and various partners. The CNTRP links basic and clinical researchers in solid organ transplantation, donation and hematopoietic cell transplantation with the overall goal of increasing access to transplantation and improving long-term outcomes. Dr. West is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Norman Kneteman, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS

Dr. Norman Kneteman trained in surgery at the University of Alberta and did his Fellowship in multi-organ transplantation at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently Professor of Surgery at the University of Alberta, Director, Division of Transplantation and Co-Zone Clinical Section Chief, NARP and Transplants at University Hospital/Alberta Health Services. He heads the Alberta Liver Transplant Program and performed the first liver transplant at the University Hospital in 1989. He is also a practicing hepatobiliary/pancreatic/transplant surgeon. Current research interests include the role of liver transplantation in the treatment of HCC and development and evaluation of therapy for hepatitis C in a mouse model.

EDUCATION DIRECTOR

Patricia Campbell MD

Dr. Campbell is a transplant nephrologist and current Director of the Histocompatability Laboratory at the University of Alberta.  Her research interests include antibody mediated rejection and the immunology of rejection in kidney transplant recipients.  She has played previous roles in numerous education and research initiatives within the transplant programs and currently implemented the Transplant Institute fellows lecture series and a number of other educational initiatives within the Institute.

RESEARCH DIRECTOR

Darren Freed MD, PhD

Cardiac transplantation is the gold standard therapy for the treatment of end-stage heart failure refractory to medical therapies. However the wider application of this life saving intervention is limited by the availability of donor organs. Ex vivo organ perfusion has been proposed as a method to expand the pool of donor organs for transplantation. My lab is developing a device that allows full biventricular working mode analysis of donor cardiac function. Experiments are ongoing to determine the optimal conditions for ex vivo myocardial perfusion and techniques to maximize the time the heart can be maintained in a beating state outside the body. The application of this approach is being investigated in a large animal model of heart transplantation.

Other major research in my laboratory is investigating myocardial fibrosis and wound healing, with particular emphasis on the role of progenitor cells. We have found that human bone marrow stem cells (MSC) and human ventricular myofibroblasts have significant similarity with respect to phenotype and function. Furthermore, we also isolated ventricular fibroblasts from discarded ventricular tissue from patients undergoing ventricular assist device placement. Comparing the two human cell types, we showed that human MSC respond to transforming growth factor-beta in similar fashion to human ventricular fibroblasts with respect to collagen synthesis and collagen gel contraction. We have also identified a novel microRNA, as a regulator of the MSC myogenic phenotype. Through these experiments we have identified a potential therapeutic target for treating or possibly preventing fibrosis.