Bio


Dr. Alin Girnita received his MD/PhD degrees from the University of Medicine in Craiova, Romania, where he was board certified in cardiovascular surgery. He completed his fellowship in transplantation immunology, histocompatibility and immunogenetics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical center, where he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Pathology and Associate Director of HLA lab. Between 2009-2019, Dr. Girnita was an Associate Professor, and then Professor of Surgery and Director of Transplant Immunology Division at University of Cincinnati. Since November 2019, he was recruited as a Professor of Pathology at Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. Girnita has authored over 40 scientific articles that have been cited over 1500 times. His research interest involves the alloimmune response in solid-organ transplantation, markers of antibody-mediated rejection, influence of various therapeutic protocols on desensitization and alloimmune response, structural matching and genetic polymorphism in transplantation.

Academic Appointments


  • Clinical Professor, Pathology

All Publications


  • Genotypic Variation and Phenotypic Characterization of Granzyme B Gene Polymorphisms TRANSPLANTATION Girnita, D. M., Webber, S. A., Brooks, M. M., Ferrell, R., Girnita, A. L., Burckart, G. J., Chinnock, R., Canter, C., Addonizio, L., Bernstein, D., Kirklin, J. K., Naftel, D., Zeevi, A. 2009; 87 (12): 1801-1806

    Abstract

    Granzyme B has been associated with allograft rejection in solid organ transplantation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the granzyme B gene might impact its expression. The aims of this study were (1) to establish the frequency of two granzyme B SNPs (A-295G; Q-55R) in pediatric heart transplant (PHTx) recipients and (2) to determine their phenotypic expression in healthy individuals.Three hundred ninety-six PHTx patients (245 white non-Hispanic, 49 black non-Hispanic, 82 Hispanics, and 20 others) and 52 healthy controls were screened for Q-55R and A-295G. For the control samples, we assessed the frequency of granzyme B positive cells by ELISPOT assay after mitogen stimulation.Among the PHTx recipients, 57% percent of the population carried the Q/Q genotype, whereas 6% were R/R homozygotes. Seven of 49 (14%) black non-Hispanics were R/R homozygotes, whereas 13 of 245 (5%) of white non-Hispanics and 5 of 82 (6%) Hispanics carried the R/R genotype (P=0.02). The A allele frequency of granzyme B A-295G (49.6%) was similar to that of the G allele (50.4%). However, 80% of Black non-Hispanics were A allele carriers compared with 68% of White non-Hispanics (P<0.0001). After mitogen stimulation, the frequency of granzyme B positive cells was higher in the Q/Q homozygotes compared with R/R carriers (P=0.006), whereas a similar frequency of granzyme B positive cells was noticed among the genotypes of A-295G SNP.These data indicate that 55 Q/Q genotype is associated with increased in vitro expression of granzyme B.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181a755a4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000267361000007

    View details for PubMedID 19543056

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2739874

  • Genetic polymorphisms impact the risk of acute rejection in pediatric heart transplantation: A multi-institutional study TRANSPLANTATION Girnita, D. M., Brooks, M. M., Webber, S. A., Burckart, G. J., Ferrell, R., Zdanowicz, G., DeCroo, S., Smith, L., Chinnock, R., Canter, C., Addonizio, L., Bernstein, D., Kirklin, J. K., Ranganathan, S., Naftel, D., Girnita, A. L., Zeevi, A. 2008; 85 (11): 1632-1639

    Abstract

    The objective of this study was to determine the association between the genetic polymorphisms of proinflammatory and regulatory cytokines and long-term rates of repeat and late acute rejection episodes in pediatric heart transplant (PHTx) recipients.Three hundred twenty-three PHTx recipients: 205 White non-Hispanic, 43 Black non-Hispanic, and 75 Hispanic were analyzed for time to first repeat and late acute rejection episodes by race, age at transplantation, and gene polymorphism (interleukin [IL]-6, -174 G/C, IL-10, -1082 G/A, -819 C/T, 592 C/A; vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) -2578 C/A, -460 C/T, +405 C/G; tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha)-308 G/A).Recipient black race and older age at transplant were risk factors for both repeat and late rejections, though black race was more significantly related to late rejection (P=0.006). Individually, TNF-alpha high, IL-6 high, VEGF high, and IL-10 low phenotypes did not impact the risk of repeat or late rejection. However, the combination VEGF high/IL-6 high and IL-10 low was associated with increased estimated risk of late rejection (P=0.0004) and only marginally with repeat rejection (P=0.051). In a multivariate analysis, adjusting for age and race, VEGF high/IL-6 high and IL-10 low still remained an independent risk factor for late acute rejection (RR=1.91, P<0.001).This is the largest multicenter study to document the impact of genetic polymorphism combinations on PHTx recipients' outcome. The high proinflammatory (VEGF high/IL-6 high) and lower regulatory (IL-10 low) cytokine gene polymorphism profile exhibited increased risk for late rejection, irrespective of age and race/ethnicity.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/TP.0b013e3181722edc

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256712900018

    View details for PubMedID 18551071

  • Disparate distribution of 16 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms among racial and ethnic groups of pediatric heart transplant patients TRANSPLANTATION Girnita, D. M., Webber, S. A., Ferrell, R., Burckart, G. J., Brooks, M. M., McDade, K. K., Chinnock, R., Canter, C., Addonizio, L., Bernstein, D., Kirklin, J. K., Girnita, A. L., Zeevi, A. 2006; 82 (12): 1774-1780

    Abstract

    Allograft failure in African-Americans remains higher than in Caucasians. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been associated with altered allograft outcomes.In this multi-center study we compared SNP frequencies in 364 pediatric heart recipients from three ethnic/racial groups: Caucasian (n = 243), African-American (n = 39), and Hispanic (n = 82). The target genes were: tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-10, IL-6, interferon (IFN)-gamma, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), transforming growth factor-beta1, Fas, FasL, granzyme B, ABCB1, CYP3A5.Compared to Caucasians, African-Americans exhibited a higher prevalence of genotypes associated with low expression of IFN-gamma (24% vs. 45.7%, P < 0.001) and IL-10 (33% vs. 57.1%, P = 0.052). African-Americans also exhibited an increased prevalence of high IL-6 (82.9% vs. 38.1%; P < 0.001). VEGF -2578 C/C and -460 C/C genotypes were found more frequently in African-Americans and Hispanics as compared to Caucasians (P < 0.001). G/G genotype of Fas and T/T genotype of FasL were expressed more often by African-American recipients. The prevalence of Granzyme B (-295A/G) genotype was differentially distributed in the three groups. Compared with Caucasians, African-Americans were twice as likely to carry the ABCB1 2677 G/G genotype (78.6% vs. 33.7%, P < 0.0025), and they were more frequent carriers of the CYP3A5 *1/*1 genotype (35.7% vs. 0.6% in Caucasians and 7.2% in Hispanics; P < 0.001).African-Americans have a genetic background that may predispose to proinflammatory/lower regulatory environment, reduced drug exposure and immunosuppressive efficacy. In this ongoing multicenter study, these gene polymorphisms differences among ethnic/racial groups are being documented so that therapeutic strategies can be devised to optimize outcomes for pediatric transplant recipients.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.tp.0000250656.33731.08

    View details for Web of Science ID 000243178200046

    View details for PubMedID 17198275