• Zeping Gui, MD

    2023 George B. Rathmann Research Fellowship Award
    Zeping Gui, MD

    Zeping Gui, MD

    2023 George B. Rathmann Research Fellowship Award

    Institution: University of Pittsburgh

    Project Title: The Role and Mechanisms of Innate Allorecognition in Renal Allograft Rejection

    Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

    Using HSP70 knockout mice and pharmacological inhibition of HSP70 in mouse kidney transplantation, we will test the role of HSP70 in innate allorecognition and renal allograft rejection. And we propose to interrogate HSP70-related transcriptomic and epigenomic changes in monocytes after allo-stimulation to identify targetable pathways either upstream or downstream of HSP70.

    What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

    Long-term renal allograft survival remains suboptimal. Innate allorecognition represents a currently overlooked mechanism with the potential to drive chronic allograft failure by propagating the adaptive alloimmune response or by directly contributing to allograft pathology. I hypothesize that HSP70 is a central intracellular mediator of innate allorecognition in monocytes and that targeting this pathway could ameliorate chronic renal allograft rejection.

    What are your career goals at the end of the grant period? Five years out? Ten years out?

    1. Become a well-trained surgeon and researcher in the field of immunology and transplantation. 2. Establish myself as an academician whose work influences multiple disciplines. My plan is to establish an independent transplantation immunology research laboratory after completion of my training. 3. Build and maintain a comprehensive clinical experience to keep pursuing answers to the most pertinent questions.

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    On a personal note, my best friend developed uremia a few years ago, I would accompany him to hemodialysis every weekend. Emotionally, I have had to experience the pain of thousands of families and the anxiety of their loved ones waiting for transplants. Professionally, my medical training has brought me into contact with many cases of organ failure that require transplants, as well as patients who have received transplants and have been given a new chance at life, or those who are suffering complications. This has created a solid inner motivation for me to work hard and contribute to the transplant field.

    In one sentence, please describe the importance of having grant funding available through KidneyCure.

    This fellowship grant not only serves as a funding mechanism but also as a recognition by the scientific community of my potential to become a successful surgery-scientist.

    Something you may not know about me is…

    I am a passionate advocate for adopting dogs instead of buying them. Every year I donate part of my salary to protect and promote animal welfare. By choosing adoption, we can make a significant difference in the lives of countless animals in need. I believe in the power of compassion and the joy that comes from providing a loving home to a rescued dog. I hope I can raise awareness, inspire others, and create a brighter future for all our furry friends.

    In my free time I like to…

    Complete hiking tours in different national parks or attend some music festivals with friends.