Emory transplant surgeons Christian P. Larsen, MD, DPhil and Thomas C. Pearson, MD, DPhil, have received the Roche Award from The Transplantation Society for excellence in translational science. The award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions in transplantation and for making a major international impact in the field of transplantation. Dr. Larsen is the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Surgery in Transplantation Biology at Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Emory Transplant Center. Dr. Pearson is Livingston Professor of Surgery and director of Emory's kidney transplantation program.
Dr. Larsen and Dr. Pearson were honored during The Transplantation Society awards ceremony at the World Transplant Congress on July 26 in Boston, Mass.
Dr. Larsen is chief of Emory's Division of Transplantation in the Department of Surgery and vice chairman of research, Department of Surgery. He is also director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Center for Islet Transplantation at Emory University and an affiliate scientist at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. His research focuses on: understanding the fundamental mechanisms involved in the T cell response to transplant issues, specifically the role of co-stimulatory pathways in T cell activation; and the mechanisms involved in immunologic tolerance to self and transplanted tissues. His clinical specialties include islet, kidney and pancreatic transplantation.
Dr. Larsen received his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine and his DPhil in transplantation immunology at the University of Oxford, UK. He completed his general surgery residency at Emory and became a Livingston Surgical Fellow at the University of Oxford and later a fellow in transplantation surgery at Emory. He joined the faculty in the Department of Surgery at Emory in 1991.
In 2004, Dr. Larsen received the Roche Basic Science Established Investigator Award from the American Society of Transplantation. He was listed among Emory's Distinguished Faculty for 2002-03, and received the Dean's Clinical Investigator Award, Emory School of Medicine the same year. He is also a member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, Society of Clinical Surgery and the Transplantation Society. He is an active faculty member in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis graduate studies program at Emory.
Dr. Pearson serves as co-director of the kidney/pancreas transplant program at Emory University Hospital and is affiliate scientist at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He received his medical degree from Emory in 1982, a DPhil in transplantation immunology at the University of Oxford in 1991, and completed his general surgery residency and a research fellowship in portal hypertension at Emory. Dr. Pearson became a Livingston Surgical Research Fellow at the University of Oxford before completing a fellowship in transplantation surgery at Emory. He joined the faculty at Emory in 1991.
Dr. Pearson's clinical specialties include islet, kidney and pancreatic transplantation.. His research has focused on gaining a better understanding of the critical factors for T cell activation and function (T cells have a central, critical role in the rejection of transplanted organs) and the development of novel strategies to block the rejection response. These investigations have involved the development and assessment of novel immunoregulatory strategies in rodent models and pertinent pre-clinical testing in non-human primates, with the ultimate goal of developing a clinically relevant strategy to induce permanent long-term tolerance to transplanted organs in humans.
Dr. Pearson's service includes the Board of Governors of the LifeLink Foundation; associate medical director of LifeLink of Georgia; membership on the Medical Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia; associate editor of the American Journal of Transplantation; and membership in American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. He was named to the Alpha Omega Alpha National Honor Medical Society, Emory University, in 2004, and received the NIH Basic Science Award from the American Society of Transplant Physicians in 1997 and the Dean's Clinical Investigator award at Emory in 1999 and 2002.