Elizabeth Anne Pomfret, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.S. is a Professor of Surgery and the Department of Surgery Igal Kam MD Endowed Chair in Transplant Surgery and Chief of Transplant Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She is also the Executive Director of the Colorado Center for Transplantation Care, Research, and Education (CCTCARE) at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.
Pomfret is an established multi-organ transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon specializing in living donor liver transplantation. Pomfret is an international leader in organ transplantation and is the 2023 President-Elect of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). She was previously the President of the International Liver Transplantation Society (ILTS) from 2014-15 and has served on various other organizational and governmental boards, including the ASTS Chair National Transplant Curriculum Committee 2007-09, ASTS Council 2009-12, Organ Procurement Transplantation Network/United Network for Organ Sharing Board of Directors from 2011–14, CU Medicine Executive Committee of the Board of Directors 2021-23. Pomfret was the Executive Editor of the journal Transplantation and currently serves on their Editor’s Advisory Council.
Pomfret is an active researcher with more than 200 publications. She has won numerous mentorship awards and has been invited to lecture worldwide on current issues in the field.
Bruce Kaplan, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Surgery and the Medical and Scientific Director of CCTCARE. Kaplan is an internationally renowned researcher and clinician in organ transplantation. He has over 400 peer-reviewed papers and over $20 million in extramural grants. He also has written the definitive textbook on immune pharmacology and has held three endowed chairs.
Kaplan’s research interests include immunosuppressive pharmacology, molecular biomarker development, and outcomes in transplantation. His articles have been published in various journals, including the American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation, Nature reviews, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Kaplan is the Executive Editor of Transplantation and on the advisory board of Nature Reviews. He has mentored numerous fellows and faculty. Three of his fellows were winners of young investigator awards by a major transplant society. Four of his trainees are now Medical Directors of renal transplant at major programs. Kaplan has also served as a reviewer for the NIH and CDRMP.
James Pomposelli, MD, Ph.D., is the Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation and Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado. He also serves as Chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Liver and Intestine Committee that directs organ allocation policy for the United States.
His research interest have included surgical innovation for living donor liver transplantation, assessing organ transplant outcomes, nutrition metabolism, and patient and caregiver health literacy.
He is also interested in transplant surgical education, especially for the international community, and serves on the International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS) Education Committee and, more recently, in the ILTS leadership as an elected Counselor.
Jesse Schold, Ph.D., M.Stat., M.Ed. is a Visiting Professor of Surgery and Epidemiology at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. He is the Director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Policy and Associate Vice Chair of Policy and Outcomes for the Department of Surgery. He received his undergraduate training at Emory University, two Masters degrees from North Carolina State University, and a Doctorate from the University of Florida.
Schold’s research interests include large database analyses, quality metrics for healthcare providers, health services research, disparities in healthcare, and statistical and epidemiological methods. Schold has authored over 320 peer-reviewed scientific publications with a primary focus on the field of organ transplantation. He has served on numerous national committees and is a former Board member of the American Society of Transplantation.
Schold has been a Co-investigator on multiple studies from the National Institutes of Health, Health Services and Resource Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Schold has given over 200 invited national and international lectures and peer-reviewed abstract presentations at scientific conferences.
Schold is particularly focused on research that promotes access to care for patients with end-stage organ disease and utilizing empirical evidence most effectively to improve care delivery and healthcare policy.
Lisa Forman, M.D. received her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and continued on to complete her residency training and Gastroenterology fellowship. During her fellowship, she also obtained a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology.
She has been on the faculty at the University of Colorado since 2002 and is a Professor of Medicine. She is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of hepatology and liver transplantation with a particular interest in autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and primary biliary cholangitis. She heads the autoimmune liver research program at the University of Colorado. In addition, Dr. Forman is also researching the effects of marijuana use post-liver transplant as well as social determinants of health as it relates to access to transplant and post-transplant outcomes. Forman also has been devoted to education and was the program director for the GI Fellowship program for over 10 years.
Dr. Huang is currently Professor of Surgery within the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Transplant Surgery at the University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus.
She received her PhD in Immunology at Tufts University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 1995, completed postdoctoral training in Transplantation Immunology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and spent 20 years as faculty at Harvard Medical School before joining the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine in 2018. She has over 25 years of experience in studies related to transplantation immunology in small and large animal models and has published hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals in the field of transplantation immunology.
Her research involves using basic immunologic approaches to develop clinically relevant strategies for regulating inflammation, overcoming transplant rejection, and improving tumor immunotherapy. She has also extensive experience in the training of students, residents, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty for independent academic or industrial careers.
Whitney Jackson, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado and the medical director of living donor liver transplantation at UCHealth. She obtained her medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, completed Internal Medicine Residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gastroenterology and Hepatology Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic where she served as Chief Fellow during her final year, followed by Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at the New York Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia and Cornell Universities in New York City.
Her clinical and research interests are in the field of liver transplantation, the role of living donor liver transplantation, donor selection with expertise in the non-directed anonymous donor as well as transplant outcomes research specifically in the low-MELD population. She is active in the American Society of Transplantation.
She enjoys speaking for outreach and education.
Michael Kriss, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine and transplant hepatologist within our liver transplant program. He is the Physician Informaticist for the Colorado Center for Transplantation Care, Research and Education (CCTCARE) and Associate Program Director of our Transplant Hepatology fellowship. He completed his internal medicine training at Northwestern/McGaw Medical Center where he also served as Chief Medical Resident.
Kriss has been at University of Colorado since 2012, completing both a Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology fellowship that included an NIH-funded advanced research fellowship in liver immunology. His clinical practice focuses on improving care for patients with chronic liver disease and optimizing outcomes for liver transplant recipients.
His research builds upon these interests, integrating capabilities of the electronic medical record to perform high quality clinical research including national and international multi-center clinical trials assessing predictors of outcomes in patients with acute-on-chronic liver failure undergoing liver transplantation. He is an active leader within the field of hepatology, serving as Executive Committee member and Education Subcommittee co-chair of the Liver and Intestine Community of Practice within the American Society of Transplantation, a role in which he has lead/contributed to several position papers outlining clinical advances in transplant medicine.
James R. Burton, Jr., M.D. is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO. He serves as the section head of Hepatology and the Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at Colorado Center for Transplantation Care, Research and Education (CCTCARE).
Burton served as Program Director of the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship from 2010-2018 and Medical Director of the Medicine Specialties Unit from 2008-2018 and Co-Director of the Transplant and Hepatology Unit from 2018-19. Burton is a board-certified transplant hepatologist with over two decades of experience in specialized care of patients with acute and chronic liver disease before and after liver transplantation. He has spent the past decade focused on research related to HCV infection in the liver transplant setting including clinical trials on the use of direct-acting antivirals in the transplant setting as well as transplanting HCV nucleic acid-positive liver and kidney allografts into HCV-negative recipients. He served as a site primary investigator for the NIH supported Adult to Adult Living Donor Transplant Cohort Study (A2ALL) from 2010-2015.
Burton’s clinical interests are in the management of complications of cirrhosis including liver cancer, helping patients obtain a liver transplant, and caring for them for the rest of their lives. His goal is to provide comprehensive and compassionate multidisciplinary care to patients with complex liver problems in a way that his patients and their families can understand.
Trevor Nydam, MD is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Transplant Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Anshutz Medical Campus. During his surgical residency, Dr. Nydam completed an NIH Basic Science research fellowship in post-injury inflammation. Following his clinical transplant surgery fellowship at the University of Colorado training under Dr. Igal Kam, his research has focused on methods to address the donor shortage. His basic and translational research focused on limiting the damage to the renal tubule during cold storage of the kidney graft. This work was supported by the Faculty Development Grant from the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.
More recently, Dr. Nydam’s research efforts include clinical trials in ex-vivo perfusion of liver allografts and improving renal function following liver transplantation. He has multiple grants supporting these efforts and has over 70 peer reviewed publications. Currently, he is working to improve liver allograft utilization through the use of normothermic regional perfusion and decrease the disincentive to living donation by developing minimally invasive surgical technics at the University of Colorado.
Yanik Bababekov MD, MPH is a transplant and hepatobiliary surgeon at University of Colorado-Anschutz Medical Campus and works together with a diverse team of clinicians and researchers to improve care for patients. In effort to mitigate the severe organ shortage, he has obtained funding to optimize the use of donor organs and improve post-transplant outcomes.
Current projects include assessing the impact of perfusion technologies on expanded criteria organs, the gaps in healthcare quality attributable to social determinants of health, and the application of oncologic principles to patients undergoing deceased or living donor liver transplant for hepatobiliary malignancies.
JP Norvell, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus in Aurora, CO. He has served as a Hepatology attending at the Colorado Center for Transplantation Care, Research, and Education (CCTCARE) since 2017. He serves as the Program Director of the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship since 2018, and is also the Medical Director of the inpatient Transplant Hepatology Unit at the University of Colorado Hospital since 2019.
Prior to joining the faculty at University of Colorado, Norvell was a faculty member at Emory University for 5 years where he helped grow the liver transplant program, served as Assistant Program Director of the Transplant Hepatology Fellowship, and won teaching awards for his involvement in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology fellowship program. He has a history of research resulting in over 20 peer-reviewed publications including primary research across a wide spectrum of liver diseases and portal hypertension, review articles, and book chapters. His most recent project is a proactive palliative care liver transplant protocol, which has won the UCH Pioneer Award and resulted in presentations at the 2023 American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine Meeting and UCHealth Quality an Safety Conference. He has also worked on our transplant center’s guidelines for transplant for alcoholic liver disease. His overall goals are to provide excellent comprehensive care for all liver diseases for his patients while focusing on patient education to empower his patients and their families in their understanding and ability to make medical decisions.
Avash Kalra, M.D. is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and serves as Director of Liver Transplant Outreach and Strategic Development. In this role, he has helped to establish outreach clinics in Albuquerque NM and Billings MT, and his interests include medical education and addressing healthcare disparities.
His current research includes a project designed to assess outreach practices among U.S. transplant centers, and he also serves as primary investigator for a study examining the natural history of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas in solid organ transplant recipients. Kalra graduated from Cornell University and subsequently worked in a lab studying anti-aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He attended medical school in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio (Wright State University), before completing his Internal Medicine residency, a Chief Residency, and fellowships in Gastroenterology and T
ransplant Hepatology at the University of Colorado.
Megan Adams, MD, FACS is an adult and pediatric transplant surgeon. She is the surgical director of pediatric living donor transplantation and pediatric clinical research at Children’s Hospital of Colorado. She did her undergraduate training at the University of Michigan and medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit.
She then came to Colorado for residency and fellowship and was recruited to stay on as faculty. She has several grants and over 30 publications. She has a passion for increasing organ availability for pediatric patients on the waiting list. She has ongoing research looking at disparities in access to organ transplantation and some qualitative research into access to living donation. She also studies coagulation in pediatric liver transplant recipients.
Jessica Saben, Ph.D. is an Assistant Research Professor and the Director of Research Operations for the Center for Transplantation Care, Research, and Education (CCTCARE) in the Division of Transplant Surgery at the University of Colorado. Her research portfolio encompasses a broad range of clinical and translational research that has centered around using “omics” methodologies. Metabolic diseases including obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and liver disease have been the focus of Saben’s research. Saben received her PhD in Cellular Biology, Stem Cells, and Development at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in 2011.
She completed two postdoctoral fellowships in maternal health, obesity, and pediatric nutrition. Since the completion of her training, Jessica has been managing and directing clinical and translation research in several different areas (personalized medicine, acute care, pediatric nutrition), including transplantation.
Tom Pshak, M.D. earned dual bachelor's degrees in Mathematics and Economics from Illinois State University. He then worked as a senior management consultant for 6 years, specializing in Mathematical and Financial modeling before changing career paths into medicine. He attended medical school at the University of Colorado where he also completed his surgical residency and transplant fellowship. He is uniquely trained as a board-certified Urologist and Liver, Kidney, and Pancreas transplant surgeon.
He has 17 peer-reviewed publications, a book chapter, and has received a foundation grant to research coagulopathy in deceased donors. His current research efforts are focused on minimally invasive surgical techniques in transplantation and expanding the application of his novel percutaneous laser stricturotomy in the treatment of refractory anastomotic biliary strictures following transplantation.
Kendra Conzen, MD, FACS, is an Assistant Professor of Surgery in the Division of Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. She serves as the Program Director for the Transplant Surgery Fellowship and Surgical Director of Quality Improvement for the Division. Her clinical practice focuses on multi-organ transplantation, living donor surgery, and hepatobiliary procedures (open and robotic). She is dedicated to providing excellent and compassionate care for patients with liver, biliary and kidney disease.
Dr. Conzen’s research interests include increasing access to transplantation and studying outcomes after transplantation with “higher risk” organs. She is the principal investigator for a prehabilitation (physical fitness and lifestyle) program to improve physical functional ability in patients debilitated by advanced chronic kidney disease. Her goal is to help patients who would otherwise be declined for transplant due to physical deconditioning.
Dr. Conzen achieved her medical degree at University of California, San Francisco, and completed general surgery residency at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her transplant and hepatobiliary fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Colorado. She joined University of Colorado faculty in 2015. Dr. Conzen is active in the national transplant community as a member of the ASTS Fellowship Training Committee.
Jon Rice, M.D. is an Assistant Professor at the School of Medicine. After completing medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Rice relocated to Colorado for an internal medicine residency. It was during this time that he discovered his passion for hepatology and transplants. He continued his education at the University of Colorado, where he completed his gastroenterology and transplant hepatology fellowships before joining the faculty.
Rice's research primarily focuses on stratifying risk among liver transplant patients. He has published analyses on a novel clinical marker, the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, which can predict mortality in acute-on-chronic liver failure. In addition, he has investigated pre-liver transplant cardiovascular risk assessment and the relationship between pre-transplant coronary artery disease and post-transplant cardiac events. This research has led to changes in pre-transplant cardiac risk assessment and introduced innovative technologies, such as non-invasive coronary CT angiography. Most recently, Rice has concentrated on assessing barriers to transplant access, particularly identifying and addressing socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic disparities among transplant candidates.
James Cooper, M.D. is a Professor of Medicine within the Division of renal diseases and hypertension and serves as medical director of the kidney and kidney/pancreas transplant programs. His research interests include the clinical impact of donor-specific antibody development on post-kidney transplant outcomes and immunosuppression exposure and its impact on antibody development.
Current research involves the development of novel methods for assessing donor/recipient immunologic compatibility and implications for prescribing individualized precision immunosuppression following a kidney transplant.
Zhirui Wang, DVM, PhD is an Associate Professor of Surgery in Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus. Dr. Wang’s expertise is using a unique diphtheria toxin resistant yeast Pichia pastoris expression system as a platform to develop diphtheria toxin-based recombinant immunotoxins for treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases as well as transplantation tolerance induction.
Before joining the University of Colorado, Dr. Wang had worked in Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School for 11 years. Dr. Wang had also worked in Dr. David Neville's Laboratory at NIH for 8 years on a variety of immunotoxin development projects. He has been working in the immunotoxin field for more than 20 years. His lab has established systems and long-term success experience with the entire immunotoxin development process including in vitro efficacy analysis and in vivo efficacy characterization using rodent models and large animal models. His lab has successfully developed 10+ valuable recombinant immunotoxins. He has 50+ publications and 10+ patents.
Dr. Wang was awarded a NIH STTR FastTrack Grant in 2021 with $2.4 M for IND (Investigational New Drug)-enabling studies (GMP production and toxicology studies) for CCR4-IL2 Bispecific Immunotoxin for targeted therapy of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma. The goal is to prepare an IND-ready data package and move this technology into clinical trials.
In addition, Dr. Wang has been running a Protein Core to provide unique recombinant immunotoxins and proteins including anti-monkey CD3 immunotoxin, anti-porcine CD3 immunotoxin and porcine IL-3 to nationwide transplantation research community.