My role within QUOD evolves as QUOD continues to grow and expand. In the initial stages of QUOD, I helped develop protocols for sample procurement and storage to retain the quality of samples and limit pre-analytical variability. As QUOD grew, my role became more focused on promoting QUOD to researchers, clinicians, institutions and charities. This includes working closely with charities such as Kidney Research UK and Diabetes UK. My efforts to improve QUOD visibility have also resulted in a number of presentations at national and international conferences, including those run by the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT). Click here for details about Maria’s QUOD-related presentations and publications.
Another part of my role is to create and strengthen research collaborations within and across the QUOD scientific platforms that PI Professor Rutger Ploeg has established. For example, collaborative plans across platforms have brought together Dr Sue Francis, an expert in imaging technologies, and Dr Alberto Sandos, an expert in bioinformatics and molecular omics. This collaboration led to a recent grant application that combines their imaging, bioinformatics and molecular omics expertise. This collaboration will use QUOD data and samples to investigate minimising the number of organs discarded and identify non -invasive novel diagnostic methods to better assess donor organs. Another collaboration l am working on is that between colleagues at Leiden University and the University of Oxford. This collaboration is using histology, artificial intelligence and -omics platforms to investigate kidney disease and transplantation.
In conclusion, my role in QUOD is to create meaningful collaborations which will help address clinical and scientific research questions in organ transplantation and chronic diseases. In the future, I hope that as more data is produced from the analysis of QUOD samples, I will be able to work with colleagues to develop a library of integrated data from sources such as multi-omics, histology, informatics and imaging. This library will be linked to organ atlases, allowing us to profile cell heterogeneity and cellular susceptibility to injury in different organs.