Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Microbiology and Immunology

Degree Program

Microbiology and Immunology, MS

Committee Chair

Ildstad, Suzanne

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Yolcu, Esma

Committee Member

Schmidt, Nathan

Author's Keywords

kidney transplant; graft versus host disease; chimerism; facilitating cells; T cells; regulatory T cells


Solid organ transplantation coupled with a hematopoietic stem cell transplant from the organ donor allows for the recipient to cease immunosuppressive therapy after transplant via a chimeric immune system. This beneficial effect of stem cell transplants is negatively affected by graft versus host disease (GVHD). Better understanding of the donor and recipient’s immune system is vital to mitigating graft versus host disease and induction of donor chimerism without GVHD. In this study, flow cytometry was used to characterize immune cells of the recipients’ before and up to eighteen months post transplantation. The recipients were categorized into their respective chimeric groups. Fully durable chimeric subjects did not reconstitute naïve T cells to pre-transplant levels by eighteen months post-transplant whereas the transiently chimeric subjects reconstituted. The goal was to find an immune cell biomarker for chimerism but due to the limited number of transiently chimeric subjects, the data showed no significant difference.