Director’s Biography

Megan Sykes, MD

Michael J. Friedlander Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Surgical Sciences (in Surgery)

Director, Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Director of Research, Transplant Initiative, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

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 380 papers and book chapters, has been in the areas of hematopoietic cell transplantation, achievement of graft-versus-leukemia effects without GVHD, organ allograft tolerance induction and xenotransplantation. 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, with the first intentional achievements of this outcome.  Dr. Sykes has dissected the tolerance mechanisms and pioneered minimal conditioning approaches for using HCT to achieve allograft and xenograft tolerance. 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.

Dr. Sykes is Past President of the International Xenotransplantation Association and was Vice President of The Transplantation Society.  She has received numerous honors and awards, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.