Dr. Hrishikesh Kulkarni joined the Department of Medicine in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division as an Instructor on March 1, 2018.
Dr. Kulkarni is a physician-scientist who focuses on how immune proteins, specifically complement proteins, modulate lung injury. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh prior to moving to WashU for fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care. At WashU, he also did a T32 research fellowship, being co-mentored by Dr. John Atkinson (Rheumatology), Dr. Steve Brody (Pulmonary) and Dr Andrew Gelman (Surgery) and obtained a Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation (Translational Research Track).
During his postdoctoral training, he demonstrated that airway epithelial cells are unique in having intracellular stores of the complement protein C3 (a central component of the cascade) and these stores can be augmented to mitigate cell death. Dr. Kulkarni employs both in vitro and in vivo model systems (such as pneumonia and ischemia-reperfusion injury) to distinguish the role of locally-derived complement proteins in the lung from that present in the blood and how they modulate the development of acute lung injury. Additionally, Dr. Kulkarni is utilizing human bronchoalveolar lavage specimens, explant tissue and DNA to determine whether certain components of the complement system can be used to identify those recipients developing severe primary graft dysfunction, a form of acute lung injury occurring after lung transplantation. The overarching goal of this research is to determine how locally derived proteins can be harnessed to mitigate the risk of acute lung injury in various settings, to ultimately reduce the burden of end-stage lung disease.
Dr. Kulkarni’s clinical focus is on the care of lung transplant recipients and his research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Lung Association and the and the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences. He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians.