Department of Surgery

Melanie J. Scott, MD, PhD

  • Vice Chair for Research
  • Associate Professor of Surgery
  • Director of Graduate Education for Surgery Research

Education & Training

  • MD, University of Liverpool
  • PhD, University of Louisville
  • MRCSEd (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh)

Representative Publications

Dr. Scott's publications can be reviewed through PubMed.

Research, Clinical, and/or Academic Interests

Dr. Scott's research interests involve investigating innate immune responses after surgery, trauma, hemorrhagic shock and infection. Her main research focus is the role of the inflammasome and inflammatory caspases on cell death and survival pathways during surgery and trauma. This work centers on elucidation of novel pathways of inflammasome activation and function in the liver, and how mitochondria are central to these responses in both sterile and infectious tissue injury. She is also very interested in the different ways inflammasomes are activated in multiple cell types in a cell type-specific manner and how these varying responses help coordinate inflammatory responses to host stress and infection. She is also working on a project that investigates the role of pattern recognition receptors, danger signals and inflammasomes in models of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Dr. Scott has multiple collaborations with other PIs in the department, within the university and also at other instituations, which allows her to work on the role of inflammasomes in varying model systems such as tick-borne Ehrlichia infection (a collaboration with Dr. Nahed Ismail in the Department of Pathology), and sickle cell disease (a collaboration with Dr. Prithu Sundd in the Vascular Medicine Insititute).

As a post-doctoral research associate, I investigated the role of the pattern recognition receptor TLR4 on endotoxin uptake and clearance by the liver; this work is continuing. Dr. Scott's lab is now uncovering exciting findings suggesting cell-specific roles for TLR4 on endotoxin homeostasis during sepsis. Her PhD research investigated the role of natural killer and natural killer T-cells in the initiation of immune responses to sepsis, and she has since continued these studies in a model of hemorrhagic shock.

Dr. Scott is also involved with research investigating roles for damage associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) during trauma and infection. This work is being undertaken in the Billiar Lab in collaboration with multiple other labs both at Pitt/UPMC and at outside institutions.

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