Fellowship Information

Thank you for your interest in Vanderbilt’s Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship! Below you will find more information about our program.


The first transplant was done at Vanderbilt in 1962 and almost 10,000 liver and kidney transplants have been performed here since. The fellowship was established in 2019 and continues to build on the successful legacy of the transplant programs. Vanderbilt has trained over 15 transplant fellowship-bound residents over the last 25 years, among whom number department chairs, a UNOS President, and program directors.  

Fellowship Goals & Structure

The Vanderbilt ASTS Abdominal Transplant Fellowship aims to provide the highest caliber of clinical education so that graduating fellows are competitive for any post-fellowship faculty position they desire. Our fellows are exposed to a wide breadth and depth of pathophysiology in preparation for independent practice after fellowship. More information about fellowship goals can be found here: Fellowship Goals PDF

One fellow is accepted each year for a two-year position. The two-year program will be equally divided between the kidney and liver services, with an option for additional special electives based on career desires. The fellow will also participate in deceased donor procurements for one week per month, with the goal to be independent in procurements by the end of the first year.

Clinical Responsibilities

Vanderbilt is a high-volume transplant center and our fellows easily exceed the ASTS minimum case requirements.

Vanderbilt Transplant Case Volumes

  2020 2021 2022 2023
Adult Liver 127 120 142 152
Pediatric Liver 14 9 4 17
Adult Kidney 252 298 273 320
Pediatric Kidney 9 18 12 14
Pancreas Transplant 4 7 8 8

The kidney/pancreas and liver/hepatobiliary inpatient services are separate at Vanderbilt, and one fellow will be assigned to a service at any given time. The fellow is expected to manage the inpatient service (with faculty support), participate in elective cases and transplants, and attend outpatient clinic. Faculty are committed to graduated operative autonomy with the goal of independence by graduation. Our transplant teams are supported by advanced practice providers for both liver (outpatient) and kidney (inpatient & outpatient) groups.

The fellow is expected to supplement the education of general surgery residents and medical students both in and out of the operating room. General surgery residents rotate through the transplant services during PGY1 through PGY4 years. The fellow’s teaching and guidance is integral for residents’ learning and success on the transplant services. 

In addition to standard liver and kidney transplants, clinical training will include the following areas:

  • Complex deceased donor kidney transplantation (re-operative exposures, intra-peritoneal implants, complex donor anatomy/reconstruction)
  • Living donor kidney transplantation
  • Living donor nephrectomies (laparoscopic and robotic)
  • Complex deceased donor liver transplantation (re-operative exposures, intra-operative veno-venous bypass, complex vascular reconstructions)
  • Living donor liver transplantation
  • Living donor hepatectomies
  • Pancreas transplantation (simultaneous pancreas-kidney and pancreas-after-kidney)
  • Pediatric liver and kidney transplantation
  • Dual organ transplantation (heart-liver, heart-kidney, liver-kidney, lung-kidney)
  • Deceased donor organ procurements (including DCD liver and kidneys)
  • Elective hepatobiliary surgery (hepatectomies, bile duct reconstructions)
  • Vascular access creation and revision (peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis access)
  • General surgery in cirrhotic patients
  • Outpatient pre-transplant evaluations and post-transplant care


The fellow participates in formal didactic training through the ASTS online curriculum. The fellow has free access to numerous transplant, hepatobiliary, and vascular textbooks through the Vanderbilt library. In addition, the fellow has access to all educational resources through the Office of Graduate Medical Education at VUMC. The fellow will be expected to prepare presentations (patient-based, journal club, research) occasionally during fellowship.

There are several weekly scheduled educational conferences the fellows participate in:

  • Organ-specific transplant selection committee
  • Department of Surgery morbidity, mortality, and improvement conference
  • Surgical grand rounds
  • Transplant resident teaching conference (Organized by the transplant fellows. Sessions incorporate ASTS transplant modules with a transplant faculty member to moderate and answer questions.)

In addition, there are other organ-specific educational conferences the fellow will attend (as applicable on each service):

  • Living donor kidney selection committee (weekly)
  • Kidney/Pancreas conference (weekly; visiting lectures, biopsy review, M&Ms)
  • Kidney quality improvement meetings (monthly)
  • Vascular access conference (monthly)
  • Multidisciplinary hepatobiliary conference (weekly)
  • Liver pathology conference (weekly)
  • Liver walk rounds (weekly on Friday mornings)

Formal educational feedback is provided to the fellows at least every 6 months.


The fellow is encouraged to attend and present at a national transplant meeting during fellowship. Fellows are encouraged to create research projects under the mentorship of faculty and staff. Many faculty are engaged in clinic research, and there are numerous avenues for research support (including biostatistics) within the institution.

Life in Nashville

Nashville has much to offer beyond its well-known world-class music and entertainment. We are now referred to the “Silicon Valley of Healthcare” given the rich array of healthcare innovation in the insurance, scientific and business spaces. Thriving downtown communities such as East Nashville and the Gulch are home to many of the nation's up and coming restaurants and boutiques, making Nashville one of the hottest places to live in the U.S.