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Start date

October 2016

Project title

Investigation on the Role of ST2 and IL-33 in Transplant Tolerance


Dr Joanna Hester, Dr Fadi Issa

Kento Kawai

Bachelor of Arts, MSc

DPhil student

Prior to coming on board to this programme, I grew up in the United States where I did my undergraduate at Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia). I had gained experience and interest in transplantation research in my time working as a research assistant at the Center for Transplantation Sciences at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts), where I first started studying the function of Tregs and many of their pathways in nonhuman primate models and their role in long-term allograft survival.

As a DPhil student in the TRIG group, I am currently investigating the role of regulatory T cells (Tregs) in the induction of long-term allograft survival and how specific pathways can be manipulated to orchestrate transplantation tolerance. Specifically, part of my research is focused on the axis between interleukin-33 (IL-33) and its receptor ST2 and how they modulate Treg activity. Additionally, I am also a part of a team in collaboration with the Ratcliffe Group of the Nuffield Department of Medicine (Oxford) in investigating the role of Hypoxia-Inducible Factors (HIFs) within Tregs. It is thought that elucidating ways to manipulate Treg activity through different pathways, such as the IL-33/ST2 axis and HIF, may be the key to harness the induction of specific immunologic tolerance.