Associate Dean for Physician Scientist Education and Training
Professor of Surgery, Comprehensive Transplant Center
Director, OSU Medical Scientist Training Program
Director, Department of Surgery Research Training Program
Director, Medical Student Research Program
MPI NIH T32GM139784
PI/PD NIH T32AI106704

395 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43210

Dr. Bumgardner, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S., is The Ohio State University College of Medicine Associate Dean for Physician Scientist Education and Training, Director of the Ohio State Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and Director of the Department of Surgery’s Research Training Program. She is a tenured Professor and transplant surgeon-scientist in the Department of Surgery, Division of Transplant Surgery and Comprehensive Transplant Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Dr. Bumgardner earned her undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in French from the College of William and Mary, her M.D. degree from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. during her General Surgery residency at the University of Minnesota. She completed her Transplant Surgery fellowship training at the University of California San Francisco. She has over 28 years of experience in the practice and science of transplantation. Dr. Bumgardner performs abdominal transplant surgery, provides pretransplant, peri-transplant and post-transplant care and immunosuppression management. In addition to patient care, teaching and education administrative responsibilities, she directs an NIH-funded Transplant Immunology Laboratory. Dr. Bumgardner is passionate about physician and surgeon-scientist education and training. As the inaugural Associate Dean for Physician Scientist Education and Training she oversees physician scientist training and career development across the spectrum of early stage trainees to early career faculty. She is Principal Investigator/Program Director for three NIH T32 training grants including the Ohio State MSTP T32 (MPI), a postdoctoral T32 entitled “Advanced Training in Immunology for Surgical Trainees,” and the OSU CCTS TL1 pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training program in clinical and translational science. Dr. Bumgardner currently serves as Secretary and is the upcoming President-Elect of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). She is also a member of the American College of Surgeons National Surgeon Scientist Program Committee. She was elected to the Ohio State Mazzaferri-Ellison Society of Master Clinicians in 2020 and received The Ohio State College of Medicine Distinguished Educator Award in 2021.

Research Interests

My laboratory-based investigations are focused on the discovery of novel mechanisms that regulate de novo alloantibody production after transplant to uncover new targets for development of immunotherapeutics. These studies address the clinical problem of antibody-mediated allograft damage by investigating mechanisms that 1) drive or downregulate alloAb production or 2) cause tissue damage mediated by alloAb effector pathways.

In addition, we test the relative efficacy of conventional and novel immunotherapeutics to suppress alloAb production to see if it interferes with alloAb-mediated graft damage and prolongs allograft survival. Well-developed experimental models are used to study allograft rejection mediated by alloAb alone (e.g., in Rag1 KO recipients), in vivo and in vitro cytotoxicity of alloprimed B cells, in vivo CD8-mediated suppression of alloprimed B cell antibody production, in vitro co-cultures to investigate CD8-mediated suppression of CD4+ T follicular helper cells and methods to enrich for CD8+ T Ab suppressor cells. Using these and other models, my research team was the first to discover a role for iNKT cells in critically enhancing the magnitude of alloAb production post-transplant and also the first to discover a novel CD8-dependent pathway which downregulates alloAb production post-transplant. Studies to date indicate that alloAb-mediated parenchymal cell injury is complement-independent, NK-independent and relies on macrophage dependent cytotoxic effector mechanism. My lab collaborates with experts in transplant immunology, tumor immunology and B cell biology.

Lab Mission Statement

The Bumgardner Transplant Immunology Laboratory research goals are to investigate adaptive and innate immune responses to both cellular and solid organ transplants to spearhead development of novel immunotherapies, which will prolong transplant allograft survival.

Current Research

The focus of our current research is to:

  • More precisely identify the unique characteristics of a novel antibody suppressing CD8+ T cell subset and to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms critical for their activation, maturation and expansion.
  • Study mechanisms by which CD8+ T Ab suppressor cells suppress development and function of IL-4- and IL-21- producing CD4+ T follicular helper cells. These studies have significant potential clinical impact to suppress alloantibody production post-transplant as well as to suppress ongoing antibody mediated rejection.
  • Pursue human transplant immunology research to determine if donor specific alloantibody development is regulated by a subset of CD8+ T regulatory cells.

Research Techniques

Well-developed experimental models are used to study allograft rejection mediated by alloAb alone, in vivo and in vitro cytotoxicity of alloprimed B cells, in vivo CD8-mediated suppression of alloprimed B cell antibody production, in vitro co-cultures to investigate CD8-mediated suppression of CD4+ T follicular helper cells and methods to enrich for CD8+ T Ab suppressor cells.

A transgenic functional hepatocyte transplant model is used to study immunogenicity of allogeneic parenchymal cells.

Some research techniques that are commonly used in the laboratory include small animal surgery, liver cell isolation, injection of monoclonal antibodies, splenocyte isolation, phlebotomy, adoptive transfer of cell populations, in vitro cell culture, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, cell viability assays, ELISA, ELISPOT and confocal microscopy.

Active Funding

  • NIH T32 grant advancing research training in immunology for surgery trainees (ARTIST), National Institutes of Health (NIH, NIAID), 8/1/2019–7/31/2024, $1,600,000
  • NIH R01 grant investigating a novel cellular therapy to prevent and treat acute antibody mediated kidney transplant rejection, 7/1/2019–6/30/2024, $2,686,090
  • NIH grant advancing today's discoveries to improve health, 6/29/2019–10/15/2023, $258,712
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant, 10/15/2021–10/14/2023, $550,000
  • NIH T32 grant - Medical Scientist Training Program, The Ohio State University, 7/1/2021–6/30/2026, $4,189,808
  • T32 grant - Predoctoral Research Training Grant funding six graduate students, The Ohio State University, 10/2023–10/2028, $1,500,000


Undergraduate Education: College of William and Mary
Medical Degree: University of Virginia School of Medicine
PhD: Surgery, Transplant Immunology, University of Minnesota
Residency: General Surgery, University of Minnesota
Fellowship: Transplant Surgery, University of California San Francisco Medical Center
Fellowship: Surgical Endoscopy, University of Minnesota
Fellowship: Surgical Infectious Disease, University of Minnesota

Honors and News

  • Elected secretary of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS), 2020-2023
  • Named a "Master Clinician" by The Ohio State University College of Medicine's Mazzaferri-Ellison Society of Master Clinicians, 2020
  • Surgeon scientist article, Study finds immune cell that predicts risk of organ rejection in transplant patients, 2020
  • Surgeon scientist article, Ohio State researchers are working with a novel cell therapy to prevent kidney transplant failure
  • Surgeon scientist article, featured by Transplantation, the official journal of The Transplantation Society and the International Liver Transplantation Society, 2017 
  • Surgeon scientist article, Bumgardner quoted in general surgery news, 2016
  • Selected to participate in OSU Project REACH program designed to inspire female entrepreneurship, 2016
  • Selected to serve on the American College of Surgeon’s Board of Governors, 2016
  • Deputy editor, Liver Transplantation, 2015
  • OSU Courage to Teach Award, 2014
  • Elected councilor-at-large of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, 2014 - 2017
  • Voted by peers for the “Best Doctors List” for central Ohio, 2005 - 2015
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, The Ohio State University College of Medicine Department of Surgery, 2005

Learn more about Dr. Bumgardner's research  PubMed articles