TTS Education Committee’s Precision Medicine Webinar Series

The pre-recorded series, applies current perspectives on precision medicine and the role of translational research and scientists/physician’s engagement to the field of transplantation, illustrating how these approaches have led to significant advancements in the field. It provides further justification for deliberate, targeted efforts to cross-in translational transplant research.

Each month a new webinar will be released. TTS members are invited to submit comments and questions about each webinar for two weeks after the video is released on the site. The questions will be sent to the speaker and moderator to respond and we will post the responses.

Philip F. Halloran
Moderated by Jon Kobashigawa

Molecular Microscope: Unmet need for precision pathological diagnosis; Introduction to molecular microscopy; Advances and insights from standardized molecular measurements

Philip F. Halloran's Bio:

Dr. Halloran is a clinician-scientist with a focus on organ transplantation and organ diseases, at both the clinical and basic levels. He received his MD and nephrology training from the University of Toronto and his PhD from the University of London. He served on the faculty of the University of Toronto before joining the University of Alberta where he holds the title of Distinguished University Professor.

His research interests are focused on the mechanisms of organ transplant rejection and the effects of immunosuppressive drugs. He has explored the mechanisms of T cell-mediated rejection, and described antibody-mediated kidney rejection, now recognized as the leading cause of late kidney transplant loss (1;2). He has also explored the mechanisms of acute and chronic organ injury and their relationships to disease progression (3;4). He studied the mechanism of action of immunosuppressive drugs and has been an investigator in many of the clinical trials that shaped immunosuppressive drug strategies in organ transplantation (5).  Dr. Halloran is an author of over 300 peer reviewed publications.

Dr. Halloran developed the Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre (ATAGC) into the world’s leading center for molecular studies of organ transplants and organ diseases, based on biopsies ( He has recently developed the Molecular Microscope Diagnostic System (MMDxTM), a system for reading organ transplant biopsies using microarrays that is now being licensed commercially (6).

Dr Halloran currently leads four ongoing international clinical trials are at various stages of completion towards the organ-specific MMDx test: kidney transplants - INTERCOMEX NCT01299168; heart transplants - INTERHEART NCT02670408; lung transplants - INTERLUNG NCT02812290; liver transplants - INTERLIVER NCT03193151. All are directed at changing care in organ transplantation: new understanding and new tests to support decisions.

He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the world’s leading transplantation journal, the American Journal of Transplantation, with the editorial office at the University of Alberta from 2000 to 2010. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Roche Organ Transplant Research Foundation, a Swiss-based charity. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He is the first recipient of the Paul Terasaki Award from the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. Other awards include the 2016 medical research Prix Galien for Canada; an honorary degree from the University of Paris (Sorbonne); and the 2018 J. Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research by the University of Alberta.

Jon Kobashigawa's Bio:

Jon Kobashigawa, MD serves as the Director of the Advanced Heart Disease Section, Director of the Heart Transplant Program and the Associate Director of the Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute. He is the DSL/Thomas D. Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and is also Clinical Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Kobashigawa is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the heart transplant field. He is a past President of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, a past chair of the American College of Cardiology Committee on Heart Failure and Transplantation, and a past member of the National Thoracic Committee of the United Network of Organ Sharing. He has served on the Executive Program Committee for the World Transplant Congress in 2014. He is the immediate past Chair of the Thoracic Committee and a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Transplantation. Dr. Kobashigawa is a productive writer and has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles, chapters and monographs in the field of heart transplantation and has chaired several multi-center heart transplant studies. He has published in prestigious journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. He has also organized and chaired ten International and National Consensus Conferences to discuss pertinent questions in the field of heart failure and heart transplantation. In addition, he has served on several editorial boards including the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the American Journal of Transplantation, the European Heart Journal and Cardiology today. Dr Kobashigawa lectures at universities around the world and has mentored several young physicians who have ascended to important academic positions throughout the country.

Maarten Naesens
Moderated by Valeria Mas

System Biology and Precision Transplantation Medicine: The Complexity of the human and transplant model and the different layers of biological information; Current applications; Composite scores: clinical applications

Maarten Naesens' Bio:

Prof. Dr. Maarten Naesens is Clinical Director of the Nephrology and Renal Transplantation unit of the University Hospitals Leuven. He is co-directing the kidney transplant program, with special focus on renal allograft histology, antibody-mediated rejection, HLA sensitization, living donation and ABO-incompatible transplantation. He directs the protocol biopsy program of the University Hospitals Leuven and the “Biobank Renal Transplantation” at this same institution. He is appointed Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Leuven. In his translational research performed at this institution, he integrates clinical, histological, pharmacokinetic, pharmacogenetic and gene expression data, to get an integrated view on the determinants of histological damage progression of renal allografts and late graft loss. Prof. Dr. Maarten Naesens is principal investigator of the FP7 project “Biomargin” of the European Commission, focusing on biomarker research for kidney transplantation by using omics strategies and systems medicine, and of the FWO TEMPLATE project for epitope matching in kidney transplantation. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts in international journals, amongst others in New Engl J Med, J Exp Med, Sci Transl Med, Nature Comm, J Am Soc Nephrol, Transplantation, Am J Transplant and Kidney Int. He has established collaborative projects and networks with several European and American research centers. He has received investigator awards from the European Society of Organ Transplantation, from the American Transplant Society and from The Transplantation Society. He is appointed Young Key Opinion Leader of The Transplantation Society and elected Councillor of the European Society of Organ Transplantation (ESOT).

Valeria Mas' Bio:

Valeria Mas has a broad background in transplant immunology and molecular biology. She is currently the Director of the Transplant Research Institute that is part of the Methodist University Transplant Institute associated with University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Until few months ago, she was the Director of the Molecular Transplant Research Laboratory at University of Virginia, and previously, she was the Director of the Transplant Genomics Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been conducting studies in genomics and proteomics related to kidney and liver transplant recipients during the last 18 years. Her research projects are mainly focused to: (1) evaluate the molecular pathways that associate with graft fibrosis development and loss of function post-kidney transplantation, (2) test the effects of organ donor biology in short-and long-term outcomes post-transplantation, and (3) identify early biomarkers that distinguish those organs at high risk of post-transplant dysfunction. She uses integrative approaches (proteomics, epigenetics, transcriptomics, and bioinformatics) for understanding the role of immunological and non-immunological factors in transplantation outcomes as well as the effect of the genome collision from the donor and recipient as determinant of final phenotype post-transplantation. As the PI, co-PI, and co-Investigator of multiple federal and non-federal grants, she established a unique biorepository linked to a detailed data base that constitute the foundation of our research initiatives. She has extensive experience using different high-throughput technologies and strategies (SNP detection, non-coding RNA, gene expression, DNA methylation, proteomics, gene editing, flow cytometer, among others) for executing translational research in transplant recipients.


Medhat Askar, MD, PhD, MSHPE, FRCPath, D(ABHI), D(ABMLI), HCLD(ABB)

Director, Transplant Immunology
Assistant Director, Cell Processing Lab
Baylor University Medical Center
Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine,
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
President, The American Board of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ABHI)
President-Elect, The American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI)
Member of Board of Directors, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
Councilor (North America), The Transplantation Society (TTS)
Co-Chair, TTS Education Committee

Valeria Mas, M.S., Ph.D., FAST

Endowed Professor of Transplant Research
Professor of Surgery
Professor of Genetics, Genomics, and Informatics
Director, Transplant Research Institute
Methodist University Transplant Institute
University of Tennessee Health Science Center