Department of Surgery
I am a 3 rd year PhD student at the Department of Surgery working on changing the blood group of human kidneys to improve waiting times for patients requiring a kidney transplantation. I have a background of cell and molecular biology but transitioned to more translational research with direct clinical applications for my PhD work and have massively enjoyed working in a field that works so closely with other scientists, clinicians and patients. I have also been hugely involved with public outreach and have presented my work at many charity and public events, including the Cambridge Festival.
A major restriction to transplantation is the requirement for ABO blood group compatibility between donor and recipient. Donor cells can present type A or B markers on their surface which must be the same as the recipient cell markers to prevent organ rejection. In my PhD work, I have used a technology called machine perfusion to pump human kidneys with blood outside the body and have added specific bacterial enzymes that remove these type A or B markers from the cells of the kidney. We have shown over 90% loss of these markers in as little as two hours, providing a way to convert human kidneys into universally transplantable organs. This paves the way for the first clinical studies and could revolutionise donor organ allocation worldwide.
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