His research focuses on: a) developing effective strategies to increase access to solid organ transplantation, b) improving the process of selecting and caring for living kidney donors, c) determining outcomes of health policies on vulnerable populations with renal disease, including the elderly, d) testing strategies to improve important health behaviors such as medication adherence, and e) transplant ethics.
Dr. Reese has developed highly impactful solutions to the major public health problem of the lack of organs for patients needing transplant. As an example, many deceased donors have hepatitis C virus (HCV) because of the opiate epidemic. Historically, thousands of HCV-infected donor organs were discarded because of poor HCV treatment options. Dr. Reese recognized that new direct-acting antiviral medications created the opportunity to transplant these organs into well-informed patients without HCV, followed by antiviral treatment. Outstanding outcomes from trials in kidney and heart transplantation included 100% HCV cure rates and manageable side effects and growing adoption of this practice across North American and European centers.
Dr. Reese has advanced the care of living kidney donors. He demonstrated that centers vary widely in their acceptance of donors with risk factors for kidney disease. He examined living donors who later developed end-stage kidney disease and revealed that organ allocation policy worked as intended to reduce waiting times to transplantation for these individuals. In the Annals of Internal Medicine, he provided the best empirical evidence that incentives for living kidney donation were unlikely to have unjust or undue effects.
He is a past chair of the Ethics Committee for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which oversees organ allocation and transplant regulation. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House.