Awarded in 2017
Home Departments: Immunology and Medicine
Faculty Advisors: Paul Bollyky (Medicine - Infectious Diseases, Microbiology & Immunology) and Carolyn Bertozzi (Chemistry)
Research Title: Engineering Dendritic Cells for Immune Tolerance
Research Description: The ability to prevent foreign tissue rejection would revolutionize transplant medicine. Payton and his colleagues have identified novel ways to prevent transplant rejection by targeting polysaccharides on the surface of cells - the pericellular matrix. Ordinarily, this pericellular "coat" stabilizes the cell-cell interactions involved in antigen presentation, thereby enhancing immune responses involved in transplant rejection. By altering this coat, it becomes possible to destabilize antigen presentation and to promote the induction of immune tolerance instead. By combining novel chemistry techniques and specialized immunological assays, Payton will engineer the pericellular matrix of immune cells called dendritic cells to promote transplant tolerance. If successful, this work could help patients with transplanted hearts and other organs live longer, fuller lives.
Payton defended his PhD in Immunology in the summer of 2020 and transitioned back to clerkship years of medical school at Stanford, with an expected MD graduation year of 2022.