Mary Louise Markert

Mary Louise Markert
Professor of Pediatrics
Campus mail: Box 3068 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-6263

Dr. Markert is currently investigating thymus transplantation in complete DiGeorge syndrome. Complete DiGeorge syndrome is a fatal genetic disorder in which patients have heart defects, severe parathyroid hypoplasia and absence of the thymus. In a research protocol complete DiGeorge patients who have no T cells are transplanted with postnatal cultured human thymic epithelial tissue. The transplants are later biopsied to evaluate whether host stem cells have migrated to the tranplanted tissue and developed into T cells. Seventy nine infants with complete DiGeorge anomaly have been transplanted and 56 survive (71%). Her research to date has shown that the patient can develop new recipient T cells in the graft and normal T cell proliferative responses to mitogens and antigens. Thus, in infants born with no T cells because of DiGeorge syndrome, cultured donor postnatal thymic tissue is sufficient for the development of recipient T cells from recipient stem cells. Dr. Markert is now studying patients previously transplanted to learn how long the thymus functions and why the T cell numbers in her post thymus transplantation patients remain low for age - similar to the T cell numbers in patients with partial DiGeorge anomaly who do not need thymus transplantation. In 2012, Dr. Markert began studies in an animal model to use thymus transplantatin to induce tolerance to solid organ transplants. This work was funded by The Hartwell Foundation and is continuing under internal funding.

Education and Training

  • Duke University, Ph.D. 1981
  • Duke University, M.D. 1982

Selected Grants and Awards