Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery
Department of Pediatrics Division of Infectious Diseases
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Marian Michaels, MD, MPH, a physician in allergy, immunology and infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, is a leading, international authority on infections from xenotransplantation. Xenotransplantation is the transplantation of living organs, cells or tissue from one species to another, typically from animals to human
While many human transplant operations are highly successful, the nation’s severe shortage of suitable donated organs from humans continues. This shortage is what drives physicians and researchers to explore xenotransplantation as an alternative to human organ and tissue transplants.
Encouraging new therapies from xenotransplantation include the treatment of life-threatening or chronic debilitating illnesses, such as diabetes or liver failure. At the same time, no medical procedure is without risk, and Dr. Michaels is one of only a handful of experts nationwide studying the possible medical implications of xenotransplantation, including the introduction of new types of infectious diseases.
As a specialist in infectious disease, Dr. Michaels has focused her research on the development and implementation of screening strategies for animal organs used in xenotransplantation. These screening strategies are setting the standard for when and how to cross species lines for xenotransplantation. In addition, Dr. Michaels has developed protocols for the prevention and management of infections in children undergoing heart and lung transplants, including viral infections. These protocols have been used by numerous centers across the United States.
Dr. Michaels’ research on viral infections in xenotransplantation is funded by the National Institutes of Health. She currently serves as a consultant to the United States Public Health Services and the World Health Organization for the development of xenotransplantation public health policies.