Zsolt Szepfalusi, MD

Szepfalusi-ZHead, Ped. Pulmonology, Allergy, Cystic Fibrosis and Lung Transplantation
Division of Ped. Pulmonology, Allergy and Endocrinology
Department of Pediatrics
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna

Education:
MD: University of Vienna, Faculty of Medicine 
Postdoctoral Training: Institute of Pathophysiology
Clinical Training: Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of Vienna

Research Interests:
• Early development of allergies and interventional approaches
• Allergy development under immunosuppression
• Biomarkers of tolerance induction in food allergy

Biography:
Early scientific activities focused on IgE-mediated allergies and in particular on the mode of materno-fetal interaction with emphasis on allergic sensitization (1993-1996). On an ex-vivo placenta model experimental data support the idea of an early materno-fetal allergen-cross talk (1998-2005). Early fetal allergen-exposure could be shown to mature the fetal allergen-specific T cell responses towards a Th1-driven response, suggesting a potential way to tolerize the fetal immune system by early allergen exposure (2006-2012). Based on these experimental observations clinical studies have been started to elucidate the early and preventive effect of allergen-specific immunotherapy in young children (2005-ongoing). Actually, the first placebo-controlled, sensitization-preventive sublingual immunotherapy trial is ending (2008-2012). A particular research focus emerged more recently from observations on lung transplanted children and adolescents. Despite strong T cell-focused immunosuppression, IgE-mediated sensitizations and allergies were observed very often (20%). In cross-sectional, prospective and immunological studies the particular Th2-driving capacity of tacrolimus could be shown (2006-2014). Food allergy diagnosis is a big challenge, often necessitating a food-challenge. New biomarkers are needed which might predict clinical relevance of certain food IgE sensitizations. The role of the high-affinity FcERI is studied in vitro and in various types of IgE- and non-IgE-mediated allergies (2007-2015). 

Proposed PhD research projects:
1) Transmission of Type I allergy through human allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation
2) Novel predictive markers and monitoring parameters for clinical manifestations of allergies