Meet Our Research Team
AITS is home to a world-class team that works collaboratively to advance transplantation to new levels of excellence.
Here is a snapshot of some of the key people who have dedicated their careers to transplantation and
helping the lives of our patients.
Dr. James Shapiro made medical history when he pioneered “The Edmonton Protocol.” His procedure involves transplanting islet cells from a donor pancreas into patients with severe cases of Type 1 diabetes, followed by a unique immunosuppressant drug regime. The Edmonton Protocol is now a highly successful procedure now used worldwide. Shapiro continues to focus on improving ways to transplant islets so that more people can benefit and patients can stay off insulin longer. He works closely with another of our researchers, Dr. Greg Korbutt, who recently constructed a one-of-a kind “stem-cell” facility to help researchers develop innovative transplant technologies.
Clinical Islet Transplant Program
Dr. Lori West is one of the world’s leading experts in infant heart transplantation. In a revolutionary discovery, she developed a protocol that allowed for the successful transplantation of a heart into a baby from a donor with a mismatched blood type. West’s protocol has been adopted worldwide for infants under two years. It’s now proven that because an infant’s immune system is still immature, the incompatible blood type doesn’t pose a rejection issue. West is now working on novel methods to prevent rejection of transplanted organs and improve long-term outcomes for patients.
Cardiac Transplant Research
Dr. Norman Kneteman is the surgeon who started our liver transplant program more than 20 years ago. Our liver transplant team has now saved more than 1,000 children and adults with this life-saving operation. Kneteman also made a ground-breaking discovery while working with patients who needed a liver transplant for hepatitis C infection. His lab was the first in the world to successfully develop a mouse model for hepatitis C virus. This has allowed for the testing and development of drugs that can treat the virus.
Only 35, Dr. Jayan Nagendran is an example of the next generation of researchers who are making big contributions at the AITS. A heart and lung transplant surgeon, Nagendran is developing an innovative technology where donated organs can be fully repaired in the operating room before transplantation. This will increase the numbers of organs we can use and improve patient outcomes. He also works with other researchers in AITS on ways to improve the immune acceptance of organs after transplantation.