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2020 TTS Thomas Starzl Innovation Award

The Transplantation Society would like to congratulate Andreas G. Tzakis on being the recipient of the 2020 TTS Thomas Starzl Innovation Award.

Dr. Andreas Tzakis has been involved in transplantation for more than 35 years, and has contributed to many of its aspects. He received his education at the University of Athens School of Medicine and National University of Athens in Athens Greece, as well as at SUNY at Stony Brook in New York. He completed his multiorgan transplant fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Tzakis advanced through the academic ranks at the Universityof Pittsburgh, where he became Professor of Surgery and was Director of the Pediatric Transplant(program at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh (CHP). At this time the pediatric program at CHP was the busiest in the United States, and it developed the first ever successful multivisceral transplant program in the world.

Dr. Tzakis was then recruited as a tenured Professor of Surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine and Director of the Transplant Program at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He then joined the Cleveland Clinic Florida as the Director of Abdominal Transplantation in 2012. He is also Professor of Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

Dr. Tzakis has been a member of notable scientific and professional societies and has held leadership positions in those societies, serving on the Council of the International Pediatric Transplant Association, as President of the Intestinal Transplant Association, and Councilor of the Transplantation Society.

Dr. Tzakis has published over 700 publications, 40 book chapters and numerous abstracts. He has received funding from the NIH, CTOT/ITN and industry.

During his career, Dr. Tzakis has contributed to many aspects of transplantation, including:

  • description and reporting of the first series of piggyback liver transplants obviating the need for veno-venous bypass
  • developing intestinal transplantation in children;
  • advancing the use of immunosuppressive protocols, including an important role in tacrolimus testing;
  • transplantation of HIV positive recipients;
  • demonstrating the utility of donor derived NK cells in minimizing HCC recurrence;
  • tolerance protocols with one of the largest immunosuppression-free liver transplant populations in the world;
  • developing abdominal wall composite tissue transplantation, and most recently;
  • preclinical and clinical advances in uterine transplantation with an overall success rate of live birth.

In the latter effort, he was a key member in the preclinical primate studies and working with the Swedish group analyzing anatomy, vasculature and logistics before embarking on the clinical trial demonstrating the utility of uterine transplantation with an overall success rate of live birth pregnancies of 70%. Dr. Tzakis organized and performed the first successful cadaveric uterine transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

Lastly, Dr. Tzakis has been a consummate teacher, having trained more than 200 surgeons, many of whom have gone on to lead their own programs around the world.

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