All Press Releases for November 06, 2019

Vera Hauptfeld-Dolejsek Celebrated for Dedication to the Field of Medical Research

Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek is credited with the discovery of class II antigens

Dr. Vera Hauptfeld-Dolejsek is perhaps most well-known for her groundbreaking discovery of class II antigens of the Major Histocompatibility Complex.

    BIRMINGHAM, AL, November 06, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Vera Hauptfeld-Dolejsek has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Having accrued more than 50 years of experience in her chosen field, Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek has garnered a lauded reputation first as an associate professor and then as a professor of surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She has leveraged her scientific background and expertise in histocompatibility to provide a solid foundation for clinical application in her leadership and consulting roles as the director and clinical consultant of the Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics Laboratory Comprehensive Transplant Institute (CTI) for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 2005. When cardiac, renal and hepatic transplantation in children moved to Children's of Alabama, and the VA Hospital established their own transplant services, Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek provided the same expertise to them. Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek has been instrumental in developing and daily functioning of multiple transplant programs at UAB established by Dr. Locke, Director of the CTI, namely Kidney Pair Donation, HLA Incompatible/Desensitization Transplant Program, Kidney High Immunologic Risk and High Immunologic Risk Non renal Solid Organ Transplant Program.

Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek first studied at Charles University in Prague completing coursework at the Faculty of Natural Sciences between 1961 and 1966. She later obtained a Master of Science in biology and experimental zoology from the aforementioned university in 1966, whereupon she further pursued classes at the faculty of natural sciences.

She notably authored "The Effect of Thymectomy and Splenectomy in Mice of Different Ages on the Development of the Animal Organism and its Haemato- and Lymphopoiesis with a Special Respect to the Development and Retaining of Transplantation Reactivity" in 1966 and "Effect of Thymectomy and/or Splenectomy Performed At Different Ages on Allotransplantation Reaction" in 1967. She graduated from the Institute of Experimental Biology at Charles University with a Doctor of Natural Sciences in 1968. Furthermore, Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek received a Candidate of Sciences (CSc) from the Czech Academy of Sciences in 1996.

After the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek went to Paris on a postgraduate scholarship at the Institute of Cancerology and Immunogenetics at the Hospital Paul Bruce in Paris-Villejuif, France where she worked in the laboratory of professor George Mathe who was the pioneer in human bone marrow transplantation. She spent two years at the University of Zagreb, Yugoslavia prior to coming to the US to join Professor Jan Klein at the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1972. In years that follow, Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek was instrumental in defining function and structure of the murine histocompatibility loci. The long objective of her research was to resolve, by genetic and functional approaches, the multiple genes of the H-2 complex, in order to advance our understanding of the organization, function and regulation of the MHC genes. Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek continued her research on the histocompatibility H-2 system at Washington University from the 1977-1993. Beside the scientific work, she was active on the Admission committee for graduate students and was a faculty representative for the Department of Genetics animal facility funded by NIH. Her work on the murine histocompatibility system resulted in over 50 publications in peer review journals including Science and PNAS. Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek is perhaps most well-known for her groundbreaking discovery of class II antigens of the Major Histocompatibility Complex. Antigens are molecules such as peptides, proteins, and polysaccharides, which induce the immune system to respond to sickness or disease. Class II antigens are noteworthy in that they have a far more limited distribution throughout the body, and are only found in certain cell types. Class I and Class II antigens, coded by the histocompatibility complex play a major role in the rejection of transplanted organs and hematopoietic cells.

Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek has applied her expertise in the murine histocompatibility system and immunogenetics field to the human major histocompatibility system (HLA) when in 1993 joined the Saint Louis University as an Associate Director of HLA Typing Laboratory and a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery. After four years of devoting her time to the solid organ transplant programs, she wanted to broaden her expertise in new molecular methodologies applicable to the bone marrow transplants. She spent the next three years in South Carolina as an Associate Director of the Molecular Genetics Program, scientific Director and Research Professor of the USC. In 1998 she became Board certified for human histocompatibility D.(ABHI), as a clinical consultant and the director of the histocompatibility laboratories.

In 2000 Dr Hauptfeld-Dolejsek joined the faculty at UMAS at Worcester as an Associate Professor and as the Director of Histocompatibility Laboratory to bring the Laboratory to the accreditation standards in order to obtain accreditation by NMDP for the UMAS Bone Marrow unrelated pair Transplant Program. The program grew but Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek wanted to be a part of both the solid organ transplant as well as the bone marrow transplant programs and in 2005 she joined the faculty and the Histocompatibility Laboratory at UAB.

Adjacent to the primary concerns of her career, she has contributed her time on numerous committees and review boards throughout her professional journey in academia. She dedicates her skills and resources to the American Society of Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics as the commissioner of the accreditation review board, an inspector and an active member of the bylaws committee, and an invited speaker on annual clinical histocompatibility antibody workshops, among other capacities.

In accounting for her outstanding success, she credits three people. For the research stage, her deepest gratitude goes to her mentor Professor Jan Klein, a world renowned immunologist, in her later stage of her clinical career, to her clinical mentor, Professor Jayme Locke. And for the determination to do her best under all circumstances, she credits her father, a nuclear scientist who tragically perished during the Holocaust when she was still very young. A Nobel Prize nominee and an underground resistance supporter against the Nazi regime, her father proved to be an enduring role model and an incredible example of a truly dedicated human being, despite her never having known him. Looking toward her future, Dr. Hauptfeld-Dolejsek is dedicated to her career and wishes she will still be able to contribute to the field of transplantation for some years to come.

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