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TSI Lab »  People »  Principal Investigators »  Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D.
Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D.

Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor of Surgery
  • Division of Adult Cardiothoracic Surgery
  • Director, Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology (TSI) Lab

Contact Information

(415) 502-8742
[email protected]
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University of Wuerzburg and Munich, Germany MD 10/2001 Medicine, Immunology

University of Wuerzburg, Germany Doctoral Thesis 05/2002 Medicine, Immunology

University of Hamburg, Germany and Stanford University, Stanford, CA PhD 01/2007 Experimental Cardiac Surgery, Transplant Immunobiology

Stanford University, Stanford, CA Postdoctoral Training and Instructor 02/2009 Cardiothoracic Surgery, Transplant Immunobiology

  • 2005 - 2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, Transplant Immunology Laboratory, Stanford University, School of Medicine, CT Surgery. Advisor: Dr. Robert C. Robbins
  • 2007 - 2009 Instructor, Transplant Immunology Laboratory, Stanford University, School of Medicine, CT Surgery
  • 2009-2015 Professor and Founder, Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology (TSI) Laboratory, University Heart Center Hamburg, Germany
  • Cardiovascular MechanismsiInvolved in Vessel Stenosis
  • Pluripotent Stem Cell Immunobiology
  • Transplant Immunology
  • Vascular Biology of Mice During Space Travel
  • German, French

Sonja Schrepfer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Surgery, founded the Transplant and Stem Cell Immunobiology (TSI) Lab in 2009 in Germany. In 2016, she joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of California San Francisco. She is also Director of the TSI Lab at UCSF.

Dr. Schrepfer's research career has been dedicated to making fundamental discovers in stem cell immunology, transplant and cardiovascular immunobiology. Her lab currently works on immunobiological mechanisms of pluripotent stem cells (mouse and human). One project uses e.g. a combination of molecular/cellular biology, genomic/epigenomic profiling, tissue engineering, and molecular imaging technologies to better understand stem cell biology in vitro and in vivo. She has made significant contributions in the field of immunological barriers in regenerative medicine and in identifying novel immunobiological targets involved in cardiovascular diseases.

The TSI Lab is also investigating the vascular biology of "mice from space"; that is mice that have spent time at the international space station (ISS). This research will provide insight into what physiological effects time in outer space might have on astronauts, with potentially important implications for future longer-term missions, and has the possibility to open the door to fascinating new discoveries that could be used in earth-bound cardiovascular research.

Dr. Schrepfer's research aims to understand the critical immunological barrier that presently precludes the successful application of cell-based regenerative therapy Her TSI Lab has made seminal contributions to the field, including the first description of the antigenicity of mitochondria in embryonic stem cells derived by somatic cell nucleus transfer (SCNT). Currently, her group is interested in understanding the molecular, cellular, and epigenetic landscape changes after transplantation of stem cells and their derivates and we are aiming to decrease the immunogenic potential of PSCs.

The lab has also discovered novel pathways involved in the development of vascular intimal hyperplasia. Myointimal hyperplasia is a pathological process of the vascular system characterized by abnormal proliferation of smooth muscle cells of the vascular wall that leads to luminal obliteration and subsequent ischemia. Myointimal hyperplasia may occur in patients after vessel injury during medical procedures (e.g. after balloon dilation or stent placement) or after pathological injury of the blood vessel (e.g. due to inflammation or toxic exposure). It can cause graft failure and in-stent restenosis. To help prevent this and increase the success of treatments for coronary heart disease, Dr. Schrepfer's   lab has also developed novel humanized models to study the development of intimal hyperplasia.

Transplant immunology after heart and lung transplantation is another area the lab is exploring with particular focus on translational research and investigation of underlying mechanisms of acute and chronic graft rejection. Novel drug discoveries will benefit our patients tremendously.

Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
  • Hypo-immunogenic cardiomyocytes for myocardial repair
    Sponsor ID:
    Funding Period:
    Aug 2018
    Jun 2022
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • Microgravity as model for immunological senescence and its impact on tissue stem cells and regeneration
    Sponsor ID:
    Funding Period:
    Jun 2017
    Jun 2021
    Principal Investigator
Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
  1. Gravina A, Tediashvili G, Zheng Y, Iwabuchi KA, Peyrot SM, Roodsari SZ, Gargiulo L, Kaneko S, Osawa M, Schrepfer S, Deuse T. Synthetic immune checkpoint engagers protect HLA-deficient iPSCs and derivatives from innate immune cell cytotoxicity. Cell Stem Cell. 2023 Nov 02; 30(11):1538-1548.e4. View in PubMed
  2. Hu X, White K, Olroyd AG, DeJesus R, Dominguez AA, Dowdle WE, Friera AM, Young C, Wells F, Chu EY, Ito CE, Krishnapura H, Jain S, Ankala R, McGill TJ, Lin A, Egenberger K, Gagnon A, Michael Rukstalis J, Hogrebe NJ, Gattis C, Basco R, Millman JR, Kievit P, Davis MM, Lanier LL, Connolly AJ, Deuse T, Schrepfer S. Hypoimmune induced pluripotent stem cells survive long term in fully immunocompetent, allogeneic rhesus macaques. Nat Biotechnol. 2023 May 08. View in PubMed
  3. Hu X, Gattis C, Olroyd AG, Friera AM, White K, Young C, Basco R, Lamba M, Wells F, Ankala R, Dowdle WE, Lin A, Egenberger K, Rukstalis JM, Millman JR, Connolly AJ, Deuse T, Schrepfer S. Human hypoimmune primary pancreatic islets avoid rejection and autoimmunity and alleviate diabetes in allogeneic humanized mice. Sci Transl Med. 2023 04 12; 15(691):eadg5794. View in PubMed
  4. Hu X, Manner K, DeJesus R, White K, Gattis C, Ngo P, Bandoro C, Tham E, Chu EY, Young C, Wells F, Basco R, Friera A, Kangeyan D, Beauchesne P, Dowdle WE, Deuse T, Fry TJ, Foster AE, Schrepfer S. Hypoimmune anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T cells provide lasting tumor control in fully immunocompetent allogeneic humanized mice. Nat Commun. 2023 04 10; 14(1):2020. View in PubMed
  5. Gravina A, Tediashvili G, Rajalingam R, Quandt Z, Deisenroth C, Schrepfer S, Deuse T. Protection of cell therapeutics from antibody-mediated killing by CD64 overexpression. Nat Biotechnol. 2023 05; 41(5):717-727. View in PubMed
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