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Gregg A. Hadley, PhD

Award Name Pilot Grant

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Transplant Immunology

Gregg A. Hadley, PhD, received a one year grant from the CCTS in the spring of 2011 for his research in transplant immunology.

Working under the supervision of Chandan K. Sen, PhD, associate dean of the College of Medicine, Hadley seeks to isolate messenger RNA from CD8 T-cells that infiltrate rejecting human organ transplants using an advanced technology called laser capture microdissection (LCM).

Hadley has previously characterized graft infiltrating CD8 T-cells and LCM is currently the most advanced technology used to characterize these cells. In the past cell characterization was more challenging and significantly less precise, but the technology and expertise available through the LCM core laboratory provides a much more accurate way to determine the functional characteristics of these cells.

“The best way to do this is to ask 'What genes do (these cells) express? Do they express genes that destroy tissue?'” Hadley said, describing the methodology behind the research.

Headley faced challenges in characterizing gene expression that was unique to these specific cells. “It was hard to identify the cells,” Hadley said. “That turned out to be difficult.”

The biggest challenge came from not being able to isolate these cells from other, not-targeted, cells. It is important to be able to single out an individual cell to study its gene expression, otherwise the other cells that are not being targeted may make it difficult to be certain which cells are expressing which genes. LCM allowed Headley to solved this problem by eliminating all other cells, allowing him to focus on an individual cell.

Headley is excited for how this research will add to his manuscript, which is currently in process. “This was not easy to pull off,” he said. Headley anticipates his research will serve as solid preliminary data for future research grants.

By Nuala McSweeney, February 6, 2012

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