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SQI: Simpson Querry Institute

Joseph Leventhal

  • Fowler McCormick Professor of Surgery
  • Deputy Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center
  • Director, Kidney Transplant Program, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
MD (1987), State University of New York
PhD (1996), University of Minnesota

Dr. Leventhal collaborates with members of SQI and Northwestern’s Comprehensive Transplant Center on projects that seek to use bionanotechnology strategies to improve outcomes after organ transplantation. The first project focuses upon the use of nanofibers to target regulatory T cells (Tregs) to allografts to prevent or enhance recovery from ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Previous preclinical work has shown that injections of Tregs can mitigate inflammatory responses and induce immunologic tolerance. Leventhal has considerable experience with the isolation and expansion of Tregs and is partnering with the Stupp laboratory to use nanofibers to target Tregs specifically to areas of inflammation and injury.

Leventhal is also interested in the development of nanoparticles for the antigen-specific depletion of plasma cells. Pre-existing or de novo donor-specific antibodies (DSA) represent a significant barrier to solid organ transplantation and long-term allograft survival. IRI enhances allograft immunogenicity and increases the risk of DSA development. There are currently no approved therapies for the targeted depletion of plasma cells, which are activated B cells that generate these antibodies. In collaboration with the Scott lab, Leventhal is engineering a novel nanocarrier designed to target plasma cells in an antigen-specific manner to avoid large-scale depletion of the host immune response.

Areas of Interest

Regulatory T Cells, Plasma Cells, Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury, Antibody-Mediated Rejection

Healthy human T cell. Courtesy: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.