Joanna M. Schaenman, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is the recipient of the 2015 Association of Specialty Professors-IDSA Young Investigator Award in Geriatrics. This award provides support to infectious diseases faculty who are interested in pursuing a career in geriatric medicine aspects of the subspecialty. Recipients of this award must develop and implement a basic, clinical, or health services research project encompassing the geriatric aspects of infectious diseases.
Dr. Schaenman earned her MD and PhD degree in microbiology from the University of Virginia and completed internal medicine residency and fellowship in infectious diseases at Stanford University, were she first became interested in clinical and research questions related to infectious complications in immunocompromised patients. She received a masters degree in epidemiology from the Stanford University in the Health Research and Policy Program.
After joining the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA, Dr. Schaenman became focused on the study of the increased rate of infections observed in the elderly transplant patient, as compared with younger patients. By analyzing T cells from peripheral blood of older kidney transplant recipients for markers of immune senescence, exhaustion, and terminal differentiation, she hopes to develop a model of T cell dysfunction in the elderly transplant patient to better understand the mechanism of increased vulnerability to infection. This technique may also be utilized as a method for post-transplant immune monitoring, to allow for customized adjustment of immune suppression regimens, leading decreased rates of both infection and rejection.
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