IDIA Grant Spotlight on Koizumi, Chen, and El-Amine about Kidney Transplant

IDIA Grant Spotlight Questionnaire

The IDIA congratulates Naoru Koizumi, Chun-Hung Chen, and Hadi El-Amine for receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation to research Optimal Desensitization Protocol in Support of a Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) System.

Naoru Koizumi is a professor and the Associate Dean of Research at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Chun-Hung Chen is a professor of Systems Engineering and Operations Research (SEOR) at George Mason University.

Hadi El-Amine is an assistant professor of SEOR at George Mason University.

The team also includes researchers at the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Louisville. George Mason University is the leading institution with Naoru Koizumi leading the project.

The IDIA spoke with the team about their grant.


Who is the funding agency and what is the full title of the project?

The funding agency is the NSF-ENG (Engineering) and the full title of the project is: Collaborative Research: SCH: Optimal Desensitization Protocol in Support of a Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) System.

We received $677,361 (as part of the $996,766 award in total) from NSF for this project.

What is your grant for?

The research will explore how the integration of simulation and optimization models can dramatically improve the quality of life for end-stage renal disease patients. Partnering with kidney transplant programs at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital and George Washington University Hospital, the research team aims to increase organ-transplant access for underserved minority patients, particularly for those from low socioeconomic African-American communities. Specifically, the research will develop an integrated dynamic stochastic simulation-optimization model comprised of:

  1. an optimization strategy to identify the optimal personalized protocol for desensitization;
  2. improved robust/stochastic optimization methods to integrate the desensitization therapy into the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) matching; and
  3. a decision-support tool to help patients decide whether to accept the desensitization regimen with a less compatible kidney, or wait for a more compatible one.

The output of the integrated dynamic stochastic simulation-optimization model will include the suggested paired matchings from the combinatorial and simulation optimization algorithms, the realized matchings based on simulated patient behavior, and statistical estimates of key performance system metrics. The models that the team will create may also be applied to other organ transplant systems (heart, lungs, liver) and will inform policy decisions by central administrative groups such as UNOS, the administrative body currently in charge of organ allocations.

What is the timeline of the project?

The project will begin on January 1st, 2022 and will end on September 30th, 2025.

What helped you to obtain the grant?

We think it is our multidisciplinary team with two transplant programs at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital and George Washington University Hospital. Also, we clearly identified distinctive roles that each team member will have on the project.

What keywords explain your research?

Kidney transplant, living donor swap, simulation, optimization

What impact are you hoping to have on the community and/or society with the research completed for this grant?

Our project focuses on reducing the racial gap in access to living donor transplants, particularly working with the two aforementioned transplant centers that predominantly serve underserved populations: lower income African American communities