Megan Sykes, MD
Dr. Sykes is the Michael J. Friedlander Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Surgical Sciences (in Surgery), Columbia University. She is Director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She also serves as Director of Research for the Transplant Initiative and as Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation Research at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Sykes joined Columbia University in April, 2010 after spending 19 years at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she was the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery and Professor of Medicine (Immunology) and Associate Director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center.
Dr. Sykes’ research career, during which she has published >400 papers and book chapters, has focused on hematopoietic cell transplantation, organ allograft tolerance induction, xenotransplantation tolerance and Type 1 diabetes. Dr. Sykes has developed novel strategies for achieving graft-versus-tumor effects without graft-versus-host disease following hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). She developed an approach that has been evaluated in clinical trials of non-myeloablative haploidentical HCT whose safety and efficacy allowed trials of HCT for the induction of organ allograft tolerance, allowing intentional achievement of tolerance in humans for the first time. Dr. Sykes has dissected the tolerance mechanisms and pioneered minimal conditioning approaches for using HCT to achieve allograft and xenograft tolerance. She has recently pioneered an approach to identifying and tracking the alloreactive T cell receptor in human transplant recipients. Her work on xenogeneic thymic transplantation for tolerance induction has led, for the first time, to long-term kidney xenograft survival in non-human primates. More recently, she has extended the HCT approach to the problem of reversing autoimmunity while replacing destroyed islets of Langerhans in Type 1 diabetes. She has developed novel “humanized mouse” models that allow personalized analysis of human immune disorders and therapies.
Dr. Sykes is Past President of the International Xenotransplantation Association, served as Vice President of TTS, has a repeatedly served on TTS Council and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.