Ph.D. Student’s Research Listed in The American Journal of Transplantation’s “Top 10 Articles of 2019”

By David Murphy

Research work carried out by Michał Mańkowski, a Ph.D. student in the KAUST Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering (CEMSE) Division, was recently selected for inclusion by the editors of The American Journal of Transplantation (AJT) in their “Top 10 Articles of 2019.” Mańkowski and his collaborators were recognized for their outstanding research dedicated to moving the field of transplantation forward.

The AJT award was based on the paper of Mańkowski et al. titled, “Accelerating Kidney Allocation: Simultaneously Expiring Offers.” The paper focuses on performing a simulation study to demonstrate that an accelerated allocation strategy might increase the utilization of kidneys at risk for non-use. The researchers found that using nonideal kidneys for transplant quickly may reduce the discard rate of kidney transplants.  

“We proposed a new system that expedites kidney allocation in the U.S. Currently, a kidney is offered to one hospital at a time. Each center has to decide on the organ. The decision to accept or decline a kidney offer takes some time. It’s rare that the first offered hospital is going to accept an organ, so time accumulates over multiple declines of the organ. Note that each hour decreases the quality of organs,” he explained.

Of his prestigious acknowledgement by the AJT, Mańkowski added, “It’s very exciting to receive such an award! It justified the importance of our work. During academic work, we often face rejections from journals or conferences, so each distinction brings new motivation to work.”

Using U.S. focused research to benefit the Kingdom

Mańkowski began his Ph.D. in computer science at KAUST in 2016, and his current research focuses on operations research (OR). The first branch of his research focuses on developing new methods for combinatorial optimization using extensions of dynamic programming. During research investigating the problem of optimal matching in trees, Mańkowski, along with his supervisor Professor Mikhail Moshkov, discovered the similarities to optimizing kidney exchange. This discovery brought him to Mańkowski’s second branch of research that focuses on applied OR in healthcare with a focus on organ transplantation, this work is supervised by Professor Sommer Gentry, professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy and research associate at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In the near future, Mańkowski states that his biggest hope and research goal is to translate his US-focused research regarding organ transplantation to the Saudi Arabian healthcare system. “We’ve started discussions with leading clinicians at the Kingdom who have expressed an interest in collaboration with me and my research partners to bring novel solutions to Saudi organ transplantation operations,” he concluded.