Funded Research

Identifying Biomarkers in Pediatric Lung Transplantation Using a Complete Microbiome
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Joshua Blatter, M.D., M.P.H Pediatrics
  • David Wang, Ph.D. Molecular Microbiology
  • Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Disease
Award Mechanism:
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
2/1/2016 - 1/31/2020
Total Amount:

Project Summary
Most pediatric lung transplant recipients develop chronic rejection within five years of transplant. Transplant patients undergo an immunosuppressive drug regimen, which helps prevent acute rejection but can lead to infections that may affect longer-term transplant outcomes. Nevertheless, no lung transplant study has simultaneously examined the bacteria, fungi, and viruses in transplanted lungs in order to identify associations between the microbiome and transplant outcomes. An interdisciplinary team will leverage knowledge from the largest group of pediatric lung transplant recipients in the world, a multicenter effort based at Washington University School of Medicine, to identify early microbial biomarkers of disease associated with shorter graft survival.

Specific aims
• Define microbiome signatures associated with chronic rejection or the development of abnormal lung pathology and physiology in pediatric lung transplant patients.

• Define the association of specific candidate microbes with chronic rejection or the development of abnormal lung pathology and physiology.

Potential impact on child health
Survival rates in pediatric lung transplantation have lagged behind other solid organ transplants. The microbiome could be used to diagnose pre-symptomatic disease in pediatric lung transplant patients, facilitating early treatment and improving lung transplant outcomes. Data from this unique cohort may elucidate immune-mediated pathways important for inflammation and fibrosis in transplant and other chronic lung diseases.

Stuart Sweet, M.D., Ph.D.