Gokanapudy Hahn receives Translational Research Award in Pediatric Heart Transplantation from American Heart Association and Enduring Hearts

Lakshmi Gokanapudy Hahn

Lakshmi Gokanapudy Hahn, MD, has received the Translational Research Award in Pediatric Heart Transplantation from the American Heart Association (AHA) and Enduring Hearts for her project titled, “Contemporary Approach to Desensitization: Targeted Therapies for HLA Sensitized Pediatric Heart Transplant Candidates.” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is the primary site out of seven large pediatric heart transplantation (PHT) centers collaborating on the project.

According to the AHA website, the award is given to investigators who are “committed to conducting research directly related to improving the life expectancy and quality of life of pediatric heart transplant recipients.”

“This is very exciting for us as a center,” Gokanapudy Hahn, an assistant professor of Pediatrics at Washington University, said. “Our goal is to get as many patients safely through transplant as we can, so that they can go on to live meaningful lives.”

“Personally, I really enjoy transplant immunology and am grateful for this grant that will allow me to pursue my research interests while working to improve our patient outcomes!” she said.

Gokanapudy Hahn’s project aims to address the critical issue of HLA sensitization in PHT. HLA sensitization is the presence of antibodies targeting non-self human leukocyte antigens (HLA). This study will pave the way for guideline-directed desensitization approaches, with the goal of enhancing transplant opportunities and long-term graft survival in sensitized patients.

“We are one of the few pediatric centers around the country that do positive crossmatch transplants, and we are forever in the pursuit of the ideal desensitization strategy,” Gokanapudy Hahn said. “This grant will allow us to pursue a new desensitization approach, collaborate with six other large pediatric heart transplant centers and, in the process, develop a guideline-directed approach that is currently lacking.”

This highly competitive and prestigious award will fund Gokanapudy Hahn’s project until March 31, 2028.