Since its establishment in 1985 as the University of Pittsburgh Transplantation Institute, the mission of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute (STI) has been to improve the clinical, scientific, and social aspects of transplantation. The breadth and depth of STI's efforts to develop innovative forms of transplantation distinguishes this transplant program from any other. STI is a leading international resource dedicated to helping people with end-stage organ failure; its comprehensive approach has kept STI consistently at the forefront of this lifesaving field. Renamed in 1996 in honor of Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD, STI has remained at the forefront of solid organ transplantation research for more than two decades.
At the University of Pittsburgh and the UPMC Health System, STI promotes a multidisciplinary environment and cadre of transplantation professionals that unite basic and clinical research. The research faculty and staff of STI bring expertise from multiple disciplines including immunology, surgery, pathology, nephrology, hepatology, molecular biology, genetics, and cell physiology.
STI continues its commitment to finding solutions to the field's most challenging problems, such as immune tolerance, the critically short supply of donor organs, safer immunosuppression, organ preservation, and the mechanisms of rejection. Through the use of invertebrates, rodents, and large animal models, STI research teams explore fundamental questions in the following areas: innate immunity, dendritic cell immunobiology, adaptive immunity, xenotransplantation, cell transplantation, composite tissue transplantation, liver transplant biology, and viral infections in immunocompromised hosts. STI's clinical research programs focus on developing immunological monitoring strategies and conducting clinical trials to optimize immunosuppression, with the ultimate goal of achieving transplantation tolerance.