• Jing Zhao, MD, MS

    2023 John P. Merrill Grant in Transplantation
    Jing Zhao, MD, MS

    Jing Zhao, MD, MS

    2023 John P. Merrill Grant in Transplantation

    Institution: Brigham and Women's hospital, Harvard Medical School

    Project Title: Implication of Melanocortin 2 Receptor in Transplantation

    How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

    I'm devising safer combinatorial immune therapies that provide specific suppression of effector alloimmune responses and promotion of regulatory responses is a crucial unmet need to improve long-term transplant outcomes.

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

    I will test the hypothesis that the expression of Melanocortin 2 Receptor (MC2R) on T cells is critical for Treg induction, proliferation, and survival. Synergism between lower frequency and less dose of ACTH-Fc fusion protein and CTLA4-Ig (Costimulatory blockade agent) would ameliorate cardiac transplant vasculopathy and reduces transplant immunity. 

    What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

    I have come to appreciate the urgent need for strategies that can improve the survival of transplant patients.

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

    I hope we can supply more selective and effective immunomodulatory molecules to be used as a part of combinatorial therapies to further improve the long-term outcome of organ transplantation. 

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

    My ultimate goal is to become an independent surgeon-scientist in the area of transplant immunobiology and to contribute further to the ongoing research in this area. In the immediate future, I will continue my research training and develop preliminary data for the research proposal to examine the mechanistic role of melanocortin receptor 2 in regulation of transplant immunity. In working towards my long-term goals, I will continue to equip myself with the necessary tools and experience to become an independent surgeon-scientist. 

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

    KidneyCure funding is critical in my early career development as it's not only encouraged me to stick to my career but also generates the possibility to foster future projects.

    In my free time I like to…

    I like Pilates, travelling and try my best to be a mom…