2021 ASTS Research Grants Recipients

This year, the ASTS Foundation along with the generosity of our corporate partners and members, is awarding $875,000 in research grants to 25 transplant professionals. Thank you to all our partners and members who supported the Foundation this year by directing their funding to an ASTS Research Grant.  Please join us in congratulating our 2020 recipients!

2021 Advanced Transplant Provider Research Grant


Cassandra E. Bruns, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental and Physical Patient-Reported Outcomes in Abdominal Transplant Candidates and Recipients



Lisa Catalli, RN, MSN, ANP
University of California San Francisco

Post Transplant BRIDGE to Liver Wellness Program: evaluating the feasibility and impact of a virtual group psychoeducational program delivered by advanced practice providers


Jenessa Mayer, PA-C
Froedtert Hospital & The Medical College of Wisconsin

Impact of the role of advanced transplant provider (ATP) on patient experience in liver transplantation

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Anna Frank, PA-C
MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Pre-Operative Patient Education for Kidney Transplant Recipients


Jennifer Mahaffey, MPAS, PA-C, BSN
Medical College of Wisconsin

Evaluation of a new Transplant Surgery workforce paradigm: Transplant Surgeon-Advance Transplant Provider Model

2021 ASTS Faculty Development Grant


Matthew Brown, PhD
New York Presbyterian-Columbia University Medical Center

An Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Assay for Diagnosis of Acute T Cell-Mediated Allorejection in Kidney Transplant Patients

2021 ASTS-Natera cfDNA Faculty Research Grant

*ASTS gratefully acknowledges Natera as our funding partner for this award in 2021.


Minh-Tri Nguyen, MD, PhD
Loma Linda University Medical Center

Integration of donor-derived cell-free DNA with HLA-DR+TNFR2+ regulatory T cell in the prediction of acute rejection and graft function after kidney transplantation

2021 ASTS-TGI Faculty Research Grant for Biomarker Discovery and Functional Genomics

*ASTS gratefully acknowledges TGI, Eurofins as our funding partner for this award in 2021.  


Keri Lunsford, MD, PhD
Rutgers University/New Jersey Medical Center

Evaluation of a Novel Pre-Transplant Plasma Biomarker Panel to Predict Liver Transplant Recipient Waitlist and Post-Transplant Mortality

2021 ASTS-Veloxis Fellowship in Transplantation Grant

*ASTS gratefully acknowledges Veloxis as our funding partner for this award in 2021.


Asish C. Misra
Keck Medical Center of USC

Nanostructured Mass Exchangers for Hepatic Replacement Therapy

2021 ASTS-Natera Socio Economic & Racial Disparity Grant

*ASTS gratefully acknowledges Natera as our funding partner for this award in 2021.


Wairimu Magua, MS, PhD
Emory University School of Medicine

Evaluating the Distribution and Impact of Human Leukocyte Antigen Mismatches at High Resolution on Graft Failure in Heart Transplant Recipients

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Praise Matemavi, DO
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Increasing Living Donor Kidney Transplants in Black Patients in Mississippi

2021 ASTS Collaborative Scientist Grant


Giuseppe Orlando, MD, PhD
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center


Benjamin Humphreys, MD, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Single cell analysis of the DCD renal allograft for the identification of pathways of adaptive repair and of a fingerprint of function to minimize the discard rate

2021 Jonathan P. Fryer Resident Scientist Scholarship


Jonathan Mitchell, MBBS
Howard University College of Medicine

Cellular Immune Response to SARS - CoV - 2 Vaccination in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients



Guergana Panayotova, MD
New Jersey Medical School/Rutgers University

Hypothermic Oxygenated Machine Perfusion for Donation after Cardiac Death Liver Transplantation: Evaluation of Clinical Outcomes and the Molecular Mechanisms and Pathways of Organ Injury


Qimeng Gao, MD, MHS
Duke University School of Medicine

The Delivery of AAV Vector to Liver Allograft Using Ex Vivo Machine Perfusion System

2021 ASTS-Natera Jon Fryer Resident Scientist Scholarship - Top Female Recipient

*ASTS gratefully acknowledges Natera as our funding partner for this award in 2021.

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Audrey Brown, MD
University of California San Francisco

A Transcriptomic Analysis of Differential Gene Expression Associated with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development in Chronic Liver Disease

2021 ASTS Presidential Student Mentor Grant


Colin Davey
University of British Columbia

Prehabilitation Exercise for Renal Transplant Recipients: Impact on Frailty and Function


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Frederick Ditmars
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Hepatocyte Spheroids as a Model for Human EP Engraftment to Human Liver


Zachariah Lee

Zachariah L. Lee
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Identifying the Mechanism behind Gut Microbiota-Induced Consequences on Innate Immunity and Organ Transplantation Outcomes



Sydney Olson
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Comparing Functional Frailty and Radiographic Sarcopenia as Predictors of Outcomes After Liver Transplant


Deepika Sarode
Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California

Immune Mediators of Acute Rejection in Pediatric Liver Transplantation


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Emma Silverman
University of Maryland School of Medicine

The role of PD-1/PD-L1 receptor-ligand in the migration of T regulatory cells to promote immune tolerance

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Rohit Singla
University of British Columbia

Non-Invasive Fibrosis Quantification Using Smart Kidney Ultrasound


Benjamin Wang

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Duke University

An Analytics-Based Prediction for Liver Graft Survival in Donation After Cardiac Death