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Surgeon Scientist Feature: Satish Nadig, MD, PhD, FACS

Aug 7, 2023, 14:19 PM by Anna Shults

Satish NadigSatish Nadig, MD, PhD, FACS is the Chief, Division of Abdominal Transplant Surgery, the Director, Comprehensive Transplant Center, and Transplant Surgeon at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and also serves as the Chair of the Surgeon Scientist Committee at ASTS. 

We had the privilege to connect with Dr. Nadig and have him shed light on his career as a surgeon-scientist.

Can you tell us about your journey as a surgeon-scientist and what inspired you to pursue this career path?

Early on, in medical school, I was inspired by the immunology behind transplantation. How amazing it was to take an organ from the deceased and put it in someone whose life is on the line and it works! Conditioning the immune system to teach the recipient to accept a new organ was fascinating to me. When I became a resident, this awe was bolstered by the late Dr. Anthony Monaco who encouraged me to pursue further education and a PhD with Prof. Kathryn Wood at Oxford, an endeavor I would never have imagined possible without the mentors I had. Afterall, I was from Irmo, South Carolina….no one from my hometown had ever done a D.Phil in science at Oxford. The faith that my mentors had in me is truly what inspired me on this path.

What are the areas of focus for your research and how did you land on these focus areas?

I focus on pretreatment strategies of organs ex vivo to condition them prior to implantation in order to induce tolerance. I do this by manipulating the immunometabolism and decreasing the immunogenicity of allograft endothelial cells and delivering immunosuppressants in a targeted fashion to donor organs using nanotherapeutics. Our work in transplant nanotherapy was the first of it’s kind over 10 years ago and now is gaining more momentum. 

What advice would you give to aspiring surgeon scientists on pursuing a similar career path?

Embrace failure and turn them into successes, be curious and passionate, and finally, be humble…the best ideas can come from mistakes and from observations when you least expect them. Always be ready to learn…..from anyone.

Could you share some your research that have been inspiring to you?

For my career, our work out of Prof. Wood’s lab on the use of ex vivo expanded human regulatory T cells to abrogate vasculopathy in a humanized system published in Nature Medicine more than 10 years ago really kick-started my career.

What would you like people to take away about the importance of combining surgery and scientific research?

Pursuing science is a privilege that allows the ability to CHANGE the paradigm of transplantation. As a young field, there is so much room to learn and grow, and true science requires that we all work together to ask questions inspired by the experiences of our patients.

 Have a question or comment for Dr. Nadig? Reach out to us at!

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