Sean Agbor-Enoh, MD, PhD
Photo: Sean Agbor-Enoh

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Elected 2023

Sean T. Agbor-Enoh, MD, PhD, completed medical school at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon, and a PhD and post-doctoral training in Molecular Biology at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington DC. He then pursued residency at Johns Hopkins, where he was also Chief Resident. His joint clinical fellowship training was in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health. He joined NHLBI as a Staff Clinician and is now Tenure Track Investigator through the Lasker Clinical Research Fellowship and NIH Distinguished Scholar Programs. He is Chief of the Laboratory of Applied Precision Omics. 

Dr. Agbor's research mission is to improve lung transplant survival by developed better approaches to detect and effectively treat lung transplant rejection. For children and adult with advanced lung diseases, transplantation is often the only treatment. Unfortunately, half of these patients die within 5 – 6 years of transplantation primarily from rejection. Biopsy is the gold standard to detect rejection. However, biopsy is invasive with procedure-associated complications. Additionally, biopsy samples are analyzed by histopathology, which is limited  by low sensitivity and high inter-observer variability. Consequently, with this approach, diagnosis often remain elusive even when patients present with significant loss of allograft function. Could more sensitive approaches improve detection of rejection? 

Dr. Agbor now leads the Genomic Research Alliance for Transplantation (GRAfT), a collaborative of NHLBI and 5 transplant centers to recruit transplant patients and collect samples. With this resource and a basic science laboratory, he developed cell-free DNA, a blood-based approach to detect transplant rejection. This approach is sensitive and reliable, detects rejection earlier than biopsy, can be used to guide treatment response, and can risk stratify patients for long-term outcomes. Dr. Agbor is planning a clinical trial to test if early detection and treatment of rejection guided by cell-free DNA improves survival in lung transplant patients. 

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