Udeme D Ekong, MD MPH

Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology)

Research Interests

Immune tolerance following pediatric liver transplantation; Immune dysregulation in autoimmune hepatitis; Immune mediated liver disease.

Current Projects

  1. The role of sodium chloride and the Treg/Th17 axis in Autoimmune Hepatitis

This project is investigating if a salt restriction protocol will improve immune parameters in patients with autoimmune hepatitis in vivo?

  1. De NovoAutoimmune Hepatitis in Pediatric Liver Transplantation

This project is investigating if excess dietary salt functions as an environmental trigger for the development of autoimmunity.

  1. Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation (SPLIT)

The mission of the Studies of Pediatric Liver Transplantation is to improve the outcome, and provide educational and advocacy resources for children who require, or have received, liver transplantation in the United States and Canada.


Research Summary

Dr Ekong is interested in developing ways to predict children who can discontinue their anti-rejection medications (immunosuppression) following liver transplantation and prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she was the center Principal Investigator on a clinical study on Immunosuppression Withdrawal in Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients, conducted by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) and sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Extensive Research Description

Dr Ekong's research interest includes immune tolerance following liver transplantation and prior to joining the faculty at Yale, was the center Principal Investigator on a clinical study on Immunosuppression Withdrawal in Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients, conducted by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) and sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). She is also interested in the role regulatory T cell dysfunction in the immune pathogenesis of de novo autoimmune hepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis.


Selected Publications

  • 1. Ekong UD, et al. Successful Resolution of Inflammation and Increased Regulatory T cells in Sirolimus Treated Post Transplant Allograft Hepatitis. Pediatr Transplant 2012 Mar; 16(2):165-175.
  • 2. Feng S, Ekong UD, Lobritto S, et al. Complete Immunosuppression Withdrawal and Subsequent Allograft Function Among Pediatric Recipients of Parental Living Donor Liver Transplants. JAMA 2012; 307(03):283-293.PMID: 22253395.
  • 3. Ekong UD, et al., Lymphocyte activation markers may predict the presence of donor specific alloreactivity in pediatric living related liver transplant recipients. Hum Immunol 2011 May; 72(5):392-7. PMID: 21315129.
  • 4. Ekong UD, Alonso EM et al. Once Daily Calcineurin Inhibitor Monotherapy in Pediatric Liver Transplantation. AJT 2010. 10; 883-888. PMID: 20420643
  • 3. Ekong UD, Miller SD, O’Gorman MRG. In- vitro assays of allosensitization. Pediatr Transplant 2009 Feb; 13(1):25-34. PMID 19017286.
  • 5. Ekong UD, Hector Melin-Aldana, Roopa Sheshadri, Joan Lokar, Dave Harris, Peter F. Whitington, Estella M Alonso. Graft Histology Characteristics in Long-term Survivors of Pediatric Liver Transplantation. Liver Transplantation 2008 Nov; 14(11), 1582-87. PMID: 18975292

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