Transplantation Surgical Fellowships

The mission of the Stanford Abdominal Transplant Fellowship Program is to train future leaders in pediatric and adult transplantation. This very competitive fellowship accepts two applicants each year through the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) fellowship match.

The two-year program provides advanced training in liver, kidney, pancreas, and intestinal transplant, and is accredited for liver and kidney transplantation by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (since 1995). In addition, fellows receive training in laparoscopic donor nephrectomies, live liver donor operations, deceased donor procedures, pre- and post-surgery transplant management, and advanced, open and laparoscopic hepatobiliary surgery. Fellows receive extensive training in pediatric transplantation from the busiest transplant program in the country.

Our large clinical volume coupled with the academic environment and strong basic science at Stanford University makes this fellowship a premier training program. We expect that trainees of our program will emerge as technically competent in clinical transplantation but also as scholars in the immunology and basic science underpinnings of transplantation.

Clinical Responsibilities

The clinical responsibilities of the Transplant Fellow include participating in the evaluation of all potential recipients and live donors. The Fellow will be called upon to meet with new patients, usually with the attending surgeon and physician, to discuss the proposed surgery and long-term process of transplantation. The Fellow takes an active role in assessing transplant candidates at weekly transplant evaluation meetings. During these meetings the difficult decisions regarding candidacy and pre-operative work-up are discussed.

Fellows are expected to manage transplant recipient care with the help of a multidisciplinary team, which consists of transplant fellows, surgical residents, medical colleagues, transplant nurse coordinators, social workers, and dieticians.  Orders and decisions about immunosuppression are made by surgeons in concert with medical colleagues.

After a period of training as first assistant in the operating room, the Fellow will act as the primary surgeon under the guidance of the attending surgeon.  The Fellow will perform surgery ancillary to transplantation (e.g., hemodialysis access). In addition, the Fellow will perform general surgery procedures related to transplantation and associated diseases (e.g., biliary tract reconstructions).

Fellows will take part in the selection and procurement of deceased donor abdominal organs.After achieving proficiency, they will become the lead procurement surgeon.  The fellow will also learn the techniques for laparoscopic donor nephrectomies, living donor partial hepatectomies, split liver transplantation and procurement of organs from donors after cardiac death.

The Fellows attend the following conferences:  weekly Grand Rounds, Patient Selection, Patient Management, Liver Pathology, Liver Transplant Radiology, Journal Club, Transplant Research and monthly Morbidity and Mortality.

In addition to their clinical responsibilities, the fellows are expected to publish one or two peer-reviewed journal articles per year and are given the opportunity to attend at least one transplant related meeting annually (such as the yearly meeting of the ASTS).

Fellowship Application Information

SF Match administers the Abdominal Transplant Surgery Match. Applicants will be required to submit a distribution list and will pay according to the number of programs they apply to. To review the distribution fees and more information, visit the SF Match website. The application was developed by the Fellowship Training Committee.


*Must have completed general surgery training by start date of our fellowship (August 1st of each year).
*Must be eligible for obtaining a California State Medical License.
*Must NOT require a visa (we cannot accept applicants requiring a visa at this time).

Materials List

1) Curriculum Vitae
2) Personal Statement
3) Any supplemental materials (scores, etc.)
4) Recent photo
5) Three letters of recommendation (minimum)

-one from the Chair of the Department
-one from the Director of the Residency Program
-third from another mentor of choice

Letters should be addressed to:
Carlos O. Esquivel, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Division of Abdominal Transplantation
Stanford University School of Medicine
750 Welch Road, Suite 319
Palo Alto, CA  94304

Important Dates

The application site will open mid-January. 

Applications are due the 3rd Friday in February. 

Interviews take place during March and April of each year.
*One day-long series of interviews with transplant team & lunch (8AM - 6PM)
*Several candidates will interview on the same day


Program Director Dr. Marc Melcher

Asst. Program Director Dr. Tom Pham

Fellowship Coordinator Gioia Zucchero


Division of Abdominal Transplantation
Stanford University School of Medicine
750 Welch Road, Suite 319
Palo Alto, CA  94304

p: (650) 498-5689

Our Fellows

Aleah Brubaker, MD, PhD

  • BS, Pepperdine University, Physiological Psychology (2006)

  • MD PhD, Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine (2014)

  • Residency, Stanford University, General Surgery (2019)

Peter Than, MD

  • BS, University of Florida, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2006)

  • MD, Brown University, Warren Alpert Medical School (2011)

  • Residency, Stanford University, General Surgery (2019)