Chris P. Larsen, MD, DPhil
Dean, Emory University School of Medicine
Vice President for Health Center Integration, Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Chair, Board of Directors, The Emory Clinic
Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Emory
Dr. Larsen has made seminal contributions to the investigation of the immunologic mechanisms of transplant rejection and immunologic tolerance and is an internationally recognized leader in kidney and pancreas transplantation. With his long-time collaborator Dr. Thomas Pearson, Dr. Larsen initiated the Emory Transplantation Immunology Lab, which has played a pivotal role in developing a new class of immunosuppressive drugs known as the costimulation blockers. One such drug is belatacept, which Dr. Larsen, Dr. Pearson, and researchers at Bristol Myers Squibb began developing in the 1990s as a less toxic alternative to standard immunosuppressants. In June 2011 the FDA approved belatacept in the form of the drug Nulojix for kidney transplant recipients. Belatacept is now being tested in experimental clinical trials for kidney transplant, liver transplant, pancreatic islet transplant, and hand transplant.
In 2012 Dr. Larsen received an NIH grant for nearly $20 million to lead teams of multiple investigators attacking the problems of immunosuppression from different but complementary angles. The connective focus will be continued development of more effective co-stimulation blockers for near-term treatment of transplant patients and better strategies for the "holy grail" of transplantation—long-term, true immune tolerance of transplanted organs.
Dr. Larsen began serving as executive director of the Emory Transplant Center in 2008 and chair of the Department of Surgery at Emory in 2009. He left both positions in January 2013 to serve as dean of the Emory University School of Medicine.
- Investigations of the mechanisms involved in initiation and maintenance of T cell responses
- Development of new immunosuppressive strategies to prevent transplant rejection and preserve protective immunity
- Tightly linked projects and investigations that span basic, translational, and clinical research using murine, non-human primate, and human models