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Chirag Desai, MD, has been appointed as the next division chief of abdominal transplant surgery in the Department of Surgery and executive medical director of the UNC Healthcare Center for Transplant Care, effective Sept. 1.

After completing his surgical training and practicing as an attending surgeon in Mumbai, India, Desai completed a fellowship in multi-organ transplant surgery and hepatobiliary surgery at Georgetown University. In addition to liver and kidney certification, he was the first fellow to be certified in small bowel transplantation by the American Society of Transplant Surgery. Upon finishing his fellowship, he joined the University of Arizona as an assistant professor of surgery, where he helped to launch a new intestinal transplant program. A few years later, he returned to Georgetown University to serve as the founding director of the autologous islet cell transplant program and start a funded research program studying islet engraftment in different liver models.

In 2016, he was recruited to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as surgical director of liver transplantation and as director of the Chronic Pancreatitis and Autologous Islet Cell Transplant Center. This center was awarded the National Pancreas Foundation Center of Excellence Designation this past year. Desai also has published extensively in islet auto transplant, as well as liver transplantation, in such notable journals as JACS, JAMA Surgery, the American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation and Pediatric Transplantation.