Our team of physicians and scientists in the Comprehensive Transplant Center continue to make ground-breaking discoveries in the effectiveness and advancements of organ transplantation. These medical discoveries make a difference in patient lives and the future of medicine.

The Johns Hopkins Transplant Research Center

The Johns Hopkins Transplant Research Center (TRC) is a multidisciplinary research partnership between the Department of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Surgery's Division of Transplantation.

Research Labs

Christian Merlo Lab

Principal Investigator: Christian Merlo, M.D., M.P.H.

Work in the Christian Merlo Lab includes studies on pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, outcomes in lung transplantation and treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF), and HIV-related pulmonary disease. We have studied methods of diagnosing and managing pulmonary arteriovenous malformations as well as the outcomes of adult CF patients who are infected with multiple antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Our recent research has also explored recipient and donor variables in the success or failure of lung transplants, and ways in which national healthcare delivery systems impact lung transplant outcomes for CF patients.

Research Areas: cystic fibrosis, pulmonary arteriovenous malformations, HIV, lung disease, lung transplant

headshot of Christian Merlo

Christine Durand Lab

Principal Investigator: Christine Durand, M.D.

Dr. Christine Durand, assistant professor of medicine and oncology and member of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, is involved in clinical and translational research focused on individuals infected with HIV and hepatitis C virus who require cancer and transplant therapies. Her current research efforts include looking at outcomes of hepatitis C treatment after solid organ transplant, the potential use of organs from HIV-infected donors for HIV-infected solid organ transplant candidates, and HIV cure strategies including bone marrow transplantation.

Dr. Durand is supported by multiple grants:

- R01 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study HIV-to-HIV organ transplantation in the US.
- K23 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study antiretroviral therapy during bone marrow transplant in HIV-1 infection.
- U01 from the NIAID to study HIV-to-HIV deceased donor kidney transplantation.
- U01 from the NIAID to study HIV-to-HIV deceased donor liver transplantation.

Research Areas: Bone Marrow Transplantation, transplants, infectious disease, AIDS, HIV, Solid Organ Transplantation, hepatitis C

headshot of Kristine Durand

Duvuru Geetha Lab

Principal Investigator: Duvuru Geetha, M.B.B.S.

Dr. Geetha’s team focuses on renal diseases in patients with systemic vasculitis as well as BK virus nephropathy in patients who have undergone renal transplant. Our studies include clinical trials on the effectiveness of rituximab versus cyclosporine in treating idiopathic membranous nephropathy and a multinational study of belimumab with azathioprine for maintaining remission of granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis. We also have conducted research on the treatment of ANCA vasculitis, particularly in kidney transplant patients.

Research Areas: granulomatosis with polyangiitis, kidney diseases, vasculitis, kidney transplants, Glomerulonephritis, nephrology

headshot of Duvuru Geetha

Edward Kraus Lab

Principal Investigator: Edward Kraus, M.D.

Dr. Kraus’ team investigates the factors that impact the long-term success or failure of kidney transplants as well as barriers to nephrology care and transplants in minority populations. We research many topics dealing with kidney transplant rejection, including diagnostic criteria, infection risk and incompatibility factors. Our lab also has a longstanding interest in pancreas transplants and has conducted research to establish guidelines for diagnosing antibody-mediated rejection of pancreas allografts-updated Banff grading schema.

Research Areas: kidney transplants, nephrology, health disparities, pancreas transplants

headshot of Edward Kraus

Jonathan Orens Lab

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Orens, M.D.

Research in the Jonathan Orens Lab examines topics such as clinical outcomes of lung transplantation, chronic allograft rejection and ischemic reperfusion injury, also known as primary graft dysfunction.

Research Areas: ischemia-reperfusion injury, chronic allograft rejection, pulmonary medicine, lung transplant

headshot of Jonathan Orens

Lonny Yarmus Lab

Principal Investigator: Lonny Yarmus, D.O.

Clinical trials conducted in the Lonny Yarmus Lab focus primarily on minimally-invasive diagnostic testing for patients with lung cancer and local therapy options for malignant airway obstructions. We investigate ways to improve the early diagnosis of lung cancer, as well as the treatment of later-stage cancer, using the least invasive methods possible. We are also part of the LIBERATE clinical study for patients who have difficulty breathing and suffer from severe emphysema.

Research Areas: emphysema, interventional pulmonology, airway stenosis, minimally-invasive diagnostic testing, lung cancer, central airway obstructions, lung transplant

headshot of Lonny Yarmus

Nada Alachkar Lab

Principal Investigator: Nada Alachkar, M.D.

Dr. Alachkar's research focuses on recurrent glomerular diseases post kidney transplantation. In particular, she has been studying recurrent FSGS post kidney transplant in several, partially NIH funded, prospective research projects that focuses on circulating factors associate with recurrent FSGS and new therapies of recurrent FSGS; in addition to the outcome of the disease. Also, Dr. Alachkar is the Chair of Banff recurrent GN working group that focus on the pathological changes of recurrent GN.

Dr. Alachkar's other research focus is incompatible living and diseases donor transplant. She has several ongoing research studies that focus on AMR and the outcome of patients with positive donor specific antibodies.

Research Areas: Focal segmental glomerular sclerosis in the transplanted kidney, Recurrent glomerular diseases post kidney transplant, Incompatible kidney transplant

headshot of Nada Alachkar

Pali Shah Lab

Principal Investigator: Pali Shah, M.D.

Research in the Pali Shah Lab focuses on lung transplants. Specifically, we’re interested in chronic rejection and quality and safety as they relate to lung transplants.

Research Areas: health care quality, pulmonary medicine, safety, lung transplant

headshot of Pali Shah