RESEARCH ADVISORY BOARD

CLAUDIA CHINCILLA REYES_crClaudia Chinchilla-Reyes

Claudia Chinchilla-Reyes has been a member of the research team at the Mendez National Institute of Transplantation (MNIT) for more than 11 years. During her tenure, she’s worked on the validation and implementation of new cadaveric donor screening assays like HIV-1/HCV NAT, T. cruzi and West Nile Virus. In her management of every aspect of these studies, she has been involved in obtaining an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for each project; performing retrospective testing on stored cadaveric donor specimens; analyzing and preparing the data for presentations; presenting data to Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) and at conferences like the American Transplant Congress (ATC); and helping the Clinical Testing Laboratory implement the new assay into their testing panel. Together with the Donor Screening Clinical Testing Laboratory, her research aim has been to ensure the most up-to-date donor screening panel, through using the most sensitive assays available, and offering OPO clients the appropriate diagnostic assay for their donor population and demographics. Claudia is currently responsible for the Quality aspects of the Donor Screening and Histocompatibility Clinical Laboratories, ensuring that good quality processes are in place to deliver the fast turn-around-time needed for organ transplantation, along with reliable results to identify good quality organs.

JAMES CICCIARELLI_crJim Cicciarelli

James Cicciarelli, PhD is the director of several HLA labs in California, including the Viracor-IBT HLA Laboratory, the MNIT Immunogenetics Lab, Sharp Hospital, and BloodSource. He has more than 30 years of experience and holds several board certifications in histocompatibility and immunogenetics. He is also a Clinical Professor of Urology and Surgery at the USC Keck School of Medicine, and the author of over 100 scientific articles and 30 book chapter reviews. He serves on the Board of Advisors for OneLegacy and the Medical Advisory Committee for Sharp Hospital. Dr. Cicciarelli received his BS in Biology from Tulane University, his MS in Biology and Chemistry from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and his PhD in Immunology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His current research activities include IgG subclass specific assays, siRNA regulation of HLA genetic expression, and complement flow crossmatch deceased donor assay. Research interests include, Immunobiology of transplant rejection; Histocompatibility and transplant survival; HLA disease association and mechanism; Immunoregulatory role of HLA molecules; Antigenic determinants of HLA; Clinical diagnostic and prognostic tests for transplant recipients and/or candidates; and HLA Molecular typing and diagnostics using chip arrays.

NORI KASAHARA_crNori Kasahara

Dr. Noriyuki Kasahara graduated from Tokyo Medical & Dental University in 1986, and completed post-graduate clinical training and Board certification in Laboratory Medicine/Clinical Pathology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), where he also obtained his PhD in 1994 from the Interdepartmental Program in Endocrinology. Dr. Kasahara was one of the first to target gene delivery vectors to specific cell types by genetically engineering viral proteins. From 1996-2002, he was on the faculty in the Departments of Pathology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and the Institute for Genetic Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), before being recruited to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2003. Until 2013, in addition to being a tenured Professor at UCLA with joint appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular & Medical Pharmacology, Dr. Kasahara was also Director of the UCLA Vector Core & Shared Resource facility. He currently serves as Associate Medical Director of the Viracor-IBT HLA Laboratory in Los Angeles, and is a member of OneLegacy’s Board of Advisors and Chair of its Histocompatibility Committee. As an expert on gene delivery vector technologies, Dr. Kasahara has authored over 120 research articles and has served two terms as a member of the Scientific Committee on Viral Gene Transfer Vectors for the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT).

NATHAN LEMP_crNathan Lemp

Nathan Lemp, PhD received his BS in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley and his PhD in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from University of California, Los Angeles. He has authored scientific articles and book chapters in the fields of oncology, molecular biology, immunology, and viral gene therapy. In 2011, Dr. Lemp joined the MNIT Immunogenetics Laboratory, where he conducted both clinical testing and basic research and oversaw grant applications for both NIH and private funding. Dr. Lemp is currently a Histcompatibility Director in Training at the Viracor-IBT HLA Laboratory in Los Angeles. His current research interests focus on histocompatibility testing and ex vivo modification of organs for transplantation.

Marek_Nowicki_crMarek Nowicki

Marek J Nowicki, PhD is an internationally recognized expert in persistent viral infections. His scientific career began when he was a research fellow at the Medical Academy in Poland in 1976. Later, at the Department of Microbiology at Christian Albrecht University in Germany, he developed and applied cellular immunology assays to evaluate virus-specific immunity. In the same year that French and American researchers discovered HIV, he was invited to join the liver diseases research team studying HBV and NANB (HCV) infections at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena. Shortly thereafter, in 1985, he joined the University of Southern California (USC) where he remained as faculty until 2013. His research at USC involved all aspects of transfusion-transmittable infections, immunology of bone marrow rejection and mechanisms of T-cells regulation. For over a decade he has been involved in research of transplant transmitted infections. He is Research Director for Viracor IBT Donor Screening Laboratory and MNITF Director of Transplant Research, in Los Angeles. He is the author of more than 100 publications and presentations at national and international scientific meetings.

Research Advisory Board Member Harald OttHarald Ott

Harald C Ott, MD is a Thoracic Surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, Associate Professor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Center for Organ Engineering at MGH. After graduating from Medical School in Innsbruck, Austria, he trained in Cardiac Surgery at the University Hospital Innsbruck. After a research fellowship at the University of Minnesota, he trained in General Surgery, and Cardiothoracic Surgery at MGH, and ultimately joined its staff. In parallel to his clinical work, Dr. Ott built a highly innovative, multidisciplinary research group around organ engineering and regeneration. His main contribution to the field was the invention and refinement of perfusion decellularization of solid organs, and its successful application to heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, small bowel, and composite tissues. Over the past years, Dr. Ott’s team has ventured further to include stem and developmental biology projects with the goal to leverage developmental cues to generate functional tissue grafts from patient derived cells. The ultimate goal is to replace lost organ function with personalized grafts that would not require immunosuppression.