Immunogenetics Research

In the Immunogenics Laboratory at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, curing type 1 diabetes is more than a theoretical possibility. It is a goal.

With focus on autoimmune diseases, researchers in this laboratory have pioneered studies of the relationship of the genetically determined substances responsible for tissue "matching" to the occurrence of type 1 diabetes in children.

Scientists are exploring fundamental questions, including scanning the human genome and mapping and comparing genes to see whether some children are genetically predisposed to certain complications of diabetes, such as blindness. They are also working toward a goal of eliminating the need for anti-rejection drugs in the cases of certain transplants, by genetically altering the cells that serve as "gatekeepers" to the body’s immune system. One exceptionally promising study being pursued by Children’s has advanced from the laboratories into the clinical trial stages. This groundbreaking work involves injecting patients with dendritic cells isolated from their own blood as a way to reverse type 1 diabetes.

As a recipient of a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence grant for the study of autoimmune disorders, Children’s Hospital’s Division of Immunogenetics is one of only nine centers in the nation selected to carry out a cohesive laboratory-based assault on these diseases. The research conducted within the laboratory will expand the study of new immune-based therapies for autoimmune diseases and help accelerate their application for the patients who need them.

Our Researchers

Suzanne Bertera, PhD
Rita Bottino, PhD
Yigang Chang, MD
H. Henry Dong, PhD
Nick Giannoukakis, PhD
Jing He, MD, PhD
Xiaoyan Liang, MD 
Patrizia Luppi, MD
Jonathon Piganelli, PhD
Steven Ringquist, PhD
William Rudert, MD, PhD
Tatiana Zorina, MD, PhD