About AST

Member Spotlight

Name: Annette Jackson, PhD, D(ABHI)
Speciality: HLA Laboratory Director
Graduated from: PhD Immunology - Duke University
Current Position: Director, Division of Immunogenetics and Transplant Immunology, Johns Hopkins University
Current Projects: I am currently serving as co-chair for the AST Transplant Diagnostics COP and as a board member for the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI). I am also honored to be part of multiple HLA working groups investigating immunological risk and donor-specific HLA antibodies. AMR subgroup: NHLBI Mid Atlantic Genomic Organ Transplantation Consortium (GRAFT) AST-ASHI Kidney Subgroup, Sensitization in Transplantation: Assessment of Risk (STAR) Banff Working Group:  Highly Sensitized Patients
What made you decide to work in transplantation? Directly out of college I landed a job with Dr. Nancy Reinsmoen as an HLA technologist at the University of Minnesota. This new job coincided with the first crystalline structure of HLA-A2 and our journey in understanding antigen presentation and how the immune system distinguishes between ‘self’ and ‘non-self’.  It was an exciting time to enter the field of immunology and I became intrigued with the complexity of histocompatibility and its role in transplantation.
What do you find to be the most valuable aspect of your work? Working in the clinical laboratory, we are “behind the scenes” clinicians within the field of transplantation. Yet, we find tremendous satisfaction when our testing contributes to the transplantation of a Status 1A or 100% CPRA waitlist candidate. We know transplantation is life changing for our patients and the HLA laboratory is an important contributor to this mission.
Fun Fact: I met my husband during college in northern Minnesota. My favorite date was to walk on the frozen lake next to campus and take in the Aurora Borealis.