About AST

Member Spotlight

Name: Adrian Morelli, MD, PhD
Speciality: Transplant Immunology
Graduated from: University of Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Current Position: Associate Professor in Surgery and Immunology, T.E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh
Current Projects: Our laboratory is focused on studying the role of dendritic cells of the immune system in transplant rejection and tolerance / immunosuppression. We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which donor dendritic cells and other passenger leukocytes transplanted along with the graft communicate with the recipient’s immune cells through exchange of extracellular vesicles (i.e. exosomes). We are also interested in the mechanisms in vivo employed by in vitro-generated immunosuppressive dendritic cells to down-regulate the anti-donor response for therapeutic purposes in transplantation.
What made you decide to work in transplantation? Transplantation is the perfect arena for the application of my previous training in pathology, biology of dendritic cells, and gene therapy for the purpose of inducing immunosuppression. The complexity of the problems that remain to be solved in the field of transplantation are very appealing for any basic scientist. 
What do you find to be the most valuable aspect of your work? The freedom to test hypothesis in an unbiased fashion. The possibility of taking a second look at what seems obvious.  The opportunity to solve a problem, provide an alternative, or shift a dogma, that may directly or indirectly result in improving the quality of life of a transplant recipient. 
Fun Fact: I love hiking in mountain terrain (my wife thinks I must have “goat” genes).