Multiple-Organ Transplant Specialist Appointed to NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia

Dr. Tomoaki Kato Serves as Surgical Director of Liver and Intestinal Transplant

Sep 10, 2008


A world-renowned specialist in multiple-organ transplantation, pediatric and adult liver transplantation, Dr. Tomoaki Kato has been appointed surgical director of liver and intestinal transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and assistant professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Previously the director of pediatric liver and gastrointestinal transplant and professor of clinical surgery at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Dr. Kato is known for unique and innovative surgeries for adults and children, including six-organ transplantation; a procedure called APOLT (auxiliary partial orthotopic liver transplantation) that resuscitates a failing liver by attaching a partial donor liver, making immunosuppressant drugs unnecessary; and the first successful human partial bladder transplantation involving the transplant of two kidneys together with ureters connected to a patch of the donor bladder. This March, in a highly publicized case, he led the first reported removal and re-implantation, or auto-transplantation, of six organs to excise a hard-to-reach abdominal tumor.

"I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Kato to our transplant team. His considerable talent and vision will help build on what is already one of the nation's top transplantation programs," says Dr. Jean Emond, chief of transplantation at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and vice chairman of the Department of Surgery and the Thomas S. Zimmer Professor of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. "His appointment represents an important part of our strategic transplant initiative, which will involve recruiting the nation's top experts and expanding our research efforts — all with the aim of giving patients the best possible treatment options."

A native of Tokyo, Dr. Kato received his medical degree from the Osaka University Medical School in Japan. He received his residency training in surgery at Osaka University Hospital and Itami City Hospital in Hyogo, Japan. He completed a clinical fellowship in transplantation at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, in Miami, Fla., where he was subsequently appointed to the surgical faculty in 1997, and promoted to full professor in 2007. He served as a surgeon and senior leader of the liver and transplantation center at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, beginning in 1997, and at University of Miami Hospital (previously Cedars Medical Center), beginning in 2004.

Dr. Kato is a member of numerous professional and honorary organizations, including the American Society for Transplant Surgeons, American Gastroenterological Association, Transplant Society, International Pediatric Transplant Association, Society of University Surgeons, Japan Surgical Society, Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery and Japan Society of Cancer Chemotherapy. He also served on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) pediatric committee in 2005 and 2006. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has been actively involved in promoting organ transplantation in Japan, publishing two books for lay public and appearing in a number of Japanese television documentaries on the subject. Dr. Kato is also helping to establish transplant services in children in underserved countries like Venezuela, where transplantation is not widely available.

"I very much look forward to working closely with Dr. Emond and the entire transplantation team at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia in order to innovate new approaches and techniques in the service of our patients," says Dr. Kato.

Dr. Kato and his family live in New York City.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's organ transplantation program — which includes NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and the Rogosin Institute — performed more transplants in 2007 than any other center in the nation. It offers comprehensive and personalized care for the heart, liver, pancreas, kidney and lung. With outcomes ranked among the nation's best, the hospital is dedicated to improving quality of life for its patients. NewYork-Presbyterian's dedicated teams of surgeons and physicians are responsible for many significant advances made over the past several decades in transplant surgery and the maintenance of healthy organs. The Hospital has been on the forefront of developing and improving anti-rejection medications (immunosuppressants), minimally invasive surgery for living donors, genetic methods to detect transplant rejection, strategies to increase opportunities for donor matching, islet cell transplantation, and the Food and Drug Administration–approved left ventricle assist device (LVAD), which functions as a bridge to transplantation for those waiting for a new heart.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The Medical Center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly two million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. It ranks sixth in U.S.News & World Report's guide to "America's Best Hospitals," ranks first on New York magazine's "Best Hospitals" survey, has the greatest number of physicians listed in New York magazine's "Best Doctors" issue, and is included among Solucient's top 15 major teaching hospitals. The Hospital's mortality rates are among the lowest for heart attack and heart failure in the country, according to a 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report card. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Media Contact:

Belinda Mager (212) 305-5587