Dear IRTA Member,

On behalf of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association (IRTA) we would like to encourage you to participate in our 2023 Council Election. Your vote can be cast by following the steps below:

  1. Login into your account
  2. Click the button below and you will be taken to the election ballot.
  3. Prior to accessing the ballot you may view bios and photos on this page.
The deadline to vote is March 24, 2023

Thank you for being an active member of our Association. We hope to welcome all of you in-person at the 18th International Congress of the IRTA from June 30-July 3, 2023 hosted by the team in Chicago, Illinois. Visit for more information.


Yaron Avitzur
IRTA Secretary-Treasurer


President-Elect (one position)
Yaron Avitzur

Dr. Avitzur is a Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, the Medical Director of the joint program in Intestine Transplantation (adults and children) and the Director of the Group for Improvement of Intestinal Function and Treatment (GIFT) at SickKids hospital, Toronto, Canada. He is also the provincial lead of liver and intestine transplantation in Ontario’s organ procurement organization. 

Dr. Avitzur has been an active contributor to the IRTA over the last decade, initially as a committee member (Education and Scientific committees), then as a council member since 2017 and as the IRTA Secretary-Treasurer since 2021. In 2017, Dr. Avitzur established and currently leads the IRTA International Intestinal Failure Registry (IIFR), a world-wide effort to improve the knowledge and life of children with IF. Under Dr. Avitzur’s leadership and with the strong support of the IRTA council and IIFR Committee, more than 1 million dollars were raised to support the IIFR operations. In 2020, and 2022 Dr. Avitzur was the co-chair of PIFRS, the prime pediatric meeting for intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation that was hosted in Toronto. 

As a President-Elect, Dr. Avitzur intends to continue his contributions to the advocacy and promotion of intestine transplantation and rehabilitation around the world.

Tomoaki Kato

Dr. Tomoaki Kato is a pioneer in intestine and multivisceral transplants. He started his career as a transplant surgeon in 1997 at the University of Miami, one of the largest volume centers in the world. He subsequently became the surgical director of pediatric GI transplant program. He moved to Columbia University in 2008. Since then, collaborating with Megan Sykes, he has established robust translational science researches in the field. He has been leading both intestine transplant and rehabilitation programs and is currently conducting a clinical trial on tolerance induction. He is well-known for his cutting-edge surgical procedure of ex vivo surgery, which involves an intestinal transplant surgical technique. He has been a mentor to surgeons and physicians interested in intestine transplantation and rehabilitation around the world. He is one of the founding members of IRTA. Currently, he is the chair of Basic and Translational Science Subcommittee and a member of Scientific Committee at IRTA. He has given a keynote lecture at PIFRS 2022 in Toronto and is organizing a Basic and Translational Research Post-graduate course at CIRTA 2023 in Chicago. He has published more than 400 peer reviewed articles, many of them are in the field of intestine and multivisceral transplant. 

Councilor Europe (Running Unopposed)
Francisco Hernandez Oliveros

Dr. Francisco Hernandez is head of the section of the Pediatric Digestive Transplantation Unit at Hospital Universitario La Paz. He is also the head of the Transplant Research Group of said center and promoter of the implementation of donation in asystole in transplants in general and in intestinal transplantation in particular. He has extensive experience in the field of intestinal and multivisceral transplantation both in daily practice and in research.

Councilor Latin America, Middle East/Africa, Asia (one position)
Pablo Andres Lobos (Latin America)

Dr. Pablo Lobos has been practicing as a pediatric surgeon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the last 29 years. He is the Chair of the Pediatric Surgery Department at the Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires. He is a member of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation team at this institution since its foundation in 2007. He has been appointed Full Professor of Pediatric Surgery. He has attended all the ISBTS and CIRTA meetings from 2009 to 2021, with 12 papers presented in these meetings. He has received over than 50 invitations as guest speaker on pediatric surgical intestinal rehabilitation, having supported the development of multidisciplinary teams inside Argentina and in neighbouring countries. He has a long- lasting commitment with the care of children with intestinal failure.

Hamed Nikoupour (Middle East/Africa)

Dr. Hamed Nikoupour is a pancreato-hepatobiliary and transplant surgeon. He is the head of the Intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation department at the Abu Ali Sina Center, which is the largest transplantation Center in the world. He has trained under Professor Gabriel Gondolesi in Argentina and started the first intestinal rehabilitation unit in the region in the Shiraz Transplant Center in 2017. 

The center offers services from parenteral nutrition up to intestinal transplantation. Since then, more than 69 intestinal transplantations and more than 210 intestinal reconstructions have been performed. Dr. Nikoupour has published his work in world-renown journals in recent years. He has had the honors of being an active member of the IRTA since 2021 and has spoken at multiple events at the IRTA and TTS. More recently he was awarded a chapter in the IRTA.

On a global scale, the Shiraz Transplant Center has had an international fellowship program and has trained many surgeons in transplantation, mainly from countries in the Middle East and Africa, and continues its efforts in providing the highest level of medical education.

Motoshi Wada (Asia)

Dr. Motoshi Wada, MD, PhD, is Professor and Chief of Department of Pediatric Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine. Dr. Wada received his PhD in the field of surgery and transplant immunology at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine (1998-2002) and further underwent hands-on training in pediatric transplantation as a visiting surgeon at the University of Miami, Florida, USA (2003). Tohoku University Hospital has the largest intestinal transplantation program in Japan and Dr. Wada was in charge of 13 intestinal transplantation surgeries performed at Tohoku University Hospital since 2003 and he also supervised the first two living-donor intestinal transplantation procedures in Vietnam. Dr. Wada has long worked for the establishment and development of clinical intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation for intestinal failure patients in Japan and also led a study group of the Japanese Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association (JIRTA). Thanks to this group’s efforts, intestinal transplantation received Japanese public health insurance coverage in 2018. Dr. Wada recently published his work as a principal investigator of pediatric clinical trials of a GLP-2 analogue, teduglutide. He is also conducting an investigator-initiated clinical trial of fish-oil based lipid emulsion for pediatric intestinal failure-associated liver disease.

Councilor North America (one position)
Alan Buchman

Dr. Buchman is Director, Gastroenterology at Elevance Health and Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Medical Director, Intestinal Rehabilitation/Transplant Program. He was the driver behind the program’s Medicare certification.

Dr. Buchman has served on 21 peer-reviewed journal editorial boards and as associate editor and section editor, and has authored nearly 250 peer-reviewed articles, editorials, book chapters and four books. He is currently the editor for Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. He has received numerous national awards from several societies including the American Gastroenterology Association (Fitterman Foundation’s Hugh Butt Award in Hepatology/Nutrition), American Society for Nutrition (Physician Nutrition Specialist Award and Mead Johnson Award), American College of Nutrition (Grace Goldsmith Award), American Society for Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition (Stanley Dudrick Research Scholar Award), Southern Medical Society (Seale Harris Award), and Chicago Medical School’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Dr. Buchman, is past-president of the American Federation for Medical Research (AFMR) served on numerous national committees, including the FDA’s Gastrointestinal Drugs Review Committee (chair), the AGA’s Education, Manpower and Training Committees, and chaired their Nutrition/Obesity Section; the Council of the Central Society for Clinical Research, and the Congressional National Commission on Digestive Diseases. He is the chair of CIRTA 2023.

Ruy J. Cruz

Dr. Ruy J. Cruz Jr. is presently the Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and Surgical Director of the Gastrointestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation Center at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute. He has completed residency in both Brazil and USA and a multiorgan fellowship in multiorgan transplantation at UPMC. As of January 2023, Dr. Cruz has authored or co-authored 105 peer-reviewed manuscripts in various scientific journals including American Journal of Transplantation, Surgery, Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Liver Transplantation, Transplantation to cite a few. He has authored 13 book chapters. He also has presented over 109 scientific abstracts and over 200 lectures at national and international meetings. Dr. Cruz’s current field of interest is within the field of autologous gastrointestinal reconstruction in patients with intestinal failure and small bowel and liver transplantation. At Gastrointestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Center he coordinates a large group of specialists in gastrointestinal diseases, including surgeons, gastroenterologists, dieticians, pharmacist, advanced practice providers and specialized transplant nurses with an annual number of approximately 200 new referrals a year. He is also serves as Member of the Transplant Patient Safety Council at Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and a liver surgeon at VA hospital in Pittsburgh.

Paul Wales

Dr. Paul Wales is a Neonatal and Pediatric surgeon who trained in General Surgery at the University of British Columbia and completed his fellowship in Pediatric General Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Wales holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Edinburgh. He is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cincinnati and holds the Moritz Ziegler Chair in Pediatric Surgery Research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He is appointed as Professor of Surgery and Professor in the Institute of Health Promotion, Management and Evaluation in the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto and Adjunct Scientist in Child Health Evaluative Sciences in the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. His clinical and research focus is in the area of Intestinal Failure. His research program consists of a clinical and translational component utilizing a variety of observational and clinical trial methodologies, as well as, a novel neonatal piglet model of short bowel syndrome. Dr. Wales is the Surgical Director of the Cincinnati Center of Excellence in Intestinal Rehabilitation (CinCEIR), an interdisciplinary program dedicated to the care of children with intestinal failure.



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