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Adrian E. Morelli, MD, PhD



W1556, Biomedical Science Tower, 200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: (412) 624-2193

Professor of Surgery and Immunology

MD, Physician, School of Medicine, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; PhD, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Pathologist, Office of Public Health, Argentina

Research Area(s):

Dendritic cells, microvesicles, transplant rejection and tolerance

Description of Research: The aim of our laboratory is to investigate the function of professional Ag-presenting cells, in particular dendritic cells (DC) of the immune system, during transplant rejection and transplant tolerance / immune-suppression. Recently, our laboratory has unveiled the mechanisms in vivo by which therapeutic tolerogenic / immune-suppressive DC carrying donor Ag, generated in vitro, and administered systemically, prolong survival of heart allograft in mice. The beneficial effect of tolerogenic DC-based therapies in transplantation is based on the transfer of donor-Ag from the therapeutic DC to recipient’s quiescent DC resident in lymphoid organs. Therefore, our group is also interested in the mechanisms of transfer of Ag, small RNAs,  and other regulatory signals between DC via small membrane vesicles (i.e. ectosomes and exosomes).  Currently, we also are working on the role of inflammatory DC and conventional DC of the recipient during rejection of cardiac allografts in mice, and the effect of neuropeptides released by nerve ending and leukocytes on DC biology during graft rejection.

The better understanding of the role of DC in transplantation will lead to development of novel DC-based therapies to promote donor-specific tolerance/immune-suppression in transplant recipients, one of the final goals in transplantation.

Morelli Team:
Darling Rojas-Canales, PhD
William J. Shufesky (research specialist)