WekerleProfessor of Transplantation Immunology,
Dept. of Surgery, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

M.D. Degree: University of Vienna
Post-doctoral training: Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital and Inst. of Pathophysiology/Medical University of Vienna

Research Interests:
• Induction of tolerance in transplantation and allergy
• Costimulation blockade
• Cell therapy for immunomodulation in kidney transplantation (NCT03867617)

Dr. Thomas Wekerle is currently Professor of Transplantation Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna. After graduating from medical school, he trained both in Vienna and Boston (Harvard Medical School, laboratory of Dr. Megan Sykes) and was certified as clinical immunologist in 2006. Since 2000 he is leading a research group at the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of Vienna which has a long-standing interest in investigating ways to induce immunological tolerance in organ transplantation and in IgE-mediated allergy. The goal of his research is to avoid the problems and risks associated with lifelong treatment with immunosuppressive drugs in the setting of organ transplantation and to permanently tolerize the immune system towards selected allergens in the setting of allergy. In both settings cell therapy-based approaches are being investigated as promising strategies. Thomas Wekerle is Principal Investigator of the WWTF Life Science Project “Combination cell therapy for immunomodulation in kidney transplantation”, Editor-in-Chief of Transplant International and Coordinator of the Research Platform Transplantation at the Medical University of Vienna. Thomas Wekerle has been awarded several national and international awards, among them the Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the American Society of Transplantation. He has published more than 140 scientific articles.

Proposed PhD research projects:
Cell therapy approaches for allergy prevention and treatment

Selected publications:

  1. Farkas, A.M., U. Baranyi, G.A. Bohmig, L. Unger, S. Hopf, M. Wahrmann, H. Regele, B. Mahr, C. Schwarz, K. Hock, N. Pilat, I. Kristo, J. Mraz, C. Lupinek, J. Thalhamer, G. Bond, L. Kuessel, E. Wlodek, J. Martin, M. Clatworthy, G. Pettigrew, R. Valenta, and Wekerle T. Allograft rejection is associated with development of functional IgE specific for donor MHC antigens. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2019; 143:335-45.
  2. Wekerle, T., Segev, D., Lechler, R. and R. Oberbauer. Strategies for long-term preservation of kidney graft function. Lancet 2017; 389:2152-62. (review).
  3. Baranyi, U., Farkas, A., Hock, K., Mahr, B., Linhart, B., Gattringer, M., Focke-Tejkl, M., Petersen, A., Wrba, F., Rulicke, T., Valenta, R. and Wekerle, T. Cell therapy for prophylactic tolerance in IgE-mediated allergy. EBioMedicine 2016; 7:230-9.
  4. Pilat, N., B. Mahr, L. Unger, K. Hock, C. Schwarz, A. Farkas, F. Wrba, and Wekerle T. Incomplete clonal deletion as prerequisite for tissue-specific minor antigen tolerization. JCI Insight 2016; 1: e85911.
  5. Pilat, N., Baranyi, U., Klaus, C., Jaeckel, E., Mpofu, N., Wrba, F., Golshayan, D., Muehlbacher, F., and Wekerle, T. Treg-therapy allows mixed chimerism and transplantation tolerance without cytoreductive conditioning. Am J Transplant 2010; 10:751-62.
  6. Baranyi, U., Gattringer, M., Farkas, A., Hock, K., Pilat, N., Iacomini, J., Valenta, R., Wekerle T. The site of allergen expression in hematopoietic cells determines the degree and quality of tolerance induced through molecular chimerism. Eur J Immunol 2013; 43:2451-60.
  7. Baranyi, U., Linhart, B., Pilat, N., Gattringer, M., Bagley, J., Muehlbacher, F., Iacomini, J., Valenta, R., and Wekerle, T. Tolerization of a type I allergic immune response through transplantation of genetically modified hematopoietic stem cells. J Immunol 2008; 180:8168–75.
  8. Vincenti, F., Larsen, C., Durrbach, A., Wekerle, T., Nashan, B., Blancho, G., Lang, P., Grinyo, J., Halloran, P. F., Solez, K., Hagerty, D., Levy, E., Zhou, W., Natarajan, K., and Charpentier, B. Costimulation blockade with belatacept in renal transplantation. N Engl J Med 2005; 353:770-81.
  9. Blaha, P., Bigenzahn, S., Koporc, Z., Schmid, M., Langer, F., Selzer, E., Bergmeister, H., Wrba, F., Kurtz, J., Kiss, C., Roth, E., Muehlbacher, F., Sykes, M., and Wekerle, T. The influence of immunosuppressive drugs on tolerance induction through bone marrow transplantation with costimulation blockade. Blood 2003; 101:2886-93.
  10. Wekerle, T., Kurtz, J., Ito, H., Ronquillo, J. V., Dong, V., Zhao, G., Shaffer, J., Sayegh, M. H., and Sykes, M. Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation with co-stimulatory blockade induces macrochimerism and tolerance without cytoreductive host treatment. Nature Med 2000; 6:464-9.

Other Publications