Text Size

President's Message

2012 Conference Toluca, Mexico


In the News

Denise L Faustman, M.D., Ph.D. PDF Print E-mail

Denise L Faustman, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Immunobiology Laboratories
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Massachusetts General Hospital
Building 149, 13th Street, Rm 3602
Boston, MA 02129

Tel (617) 726-4084
Fax (617) 726-4095
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dr. Faustman earned her M.D. and Ph.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in 1985. She completed her training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital and began her lab in 1987 at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Faustman is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Immunobiology Laboratories at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Faustman’s major research accomplishments include improving organ and cell transplants by modifying proteins on donor tissues so that the recipient’s body will not attack the cells. This led to the production of genetically modified pigs for organ donation and in 2003 earned her the prestigious National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine Award, “Changing the Face of Medicine", one of 300 American physicians, one of 35 in research, honored for her seminal scientific achievements in the history of the United States.

Dr. Faustman interest turned to autoimmunity in 1989 when islet transplant trials in human diabetes revealed recurrent autoimmune attack on the new transplants. Dr Faustman research next discovered the role of CD8 cells in human and murine autoimmunity as it related to the escape of autoreactive cells from defective MHC class I antigen processing, a then newly discovered pathway for self tolerance. This defect in T cell education lead not only to the identification of pathogenic naive cells and activated pathogenic T cells but ways to triggered targeted cell death only these cells through class I and self peptide or the TNF pathway. The in vivo use of these two cell death pathways could remove even established autoimmunity in end stage mice and this was followed by the surprising discovery of pancreatic islet cell regeneration. With the world wide genetic efforts validating defects in this pathway in diverse human autoimmunity this project is moving forward to the first human clinical trial to remove established autoimmunity in end-stage diabetic patients. The trial is also unique in the attempt to move the project forward using generic drugs that will add speed and efficiency to the clinical trial process.

Dr. Faustman has published over 100 scientific papers in internationally recognized journals. Over the past two years her research has been highlighted in publications like Science, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Scientific American.