Abdominal Transplant Fellowship »  Faculty »  Nancy L. Ascher, M.D., Ph.D.

Nancy L. Ascher, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery
Division of Transplant Surgery
Isis Distinguished Professor in Transplantation
Leon Goldman, MD Distinguished Professor in Surgery

Contact Information

Academic Office
(415) 476-1236
nancy.ascher@ucsf.edu
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  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, B.A., 1967-70
  • University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, M.D., 1970-74
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, Ph.D., 1974-85
  • University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery, Minneapolis, MN,  Surgical Internship, 1974-75
  • University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery, Minneapolis, MN, Surgical Residency, 1975-77
  • University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery, Minneapolis, MN, Surgical Residency, 1979-81
  • University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery, Minneapolis, MN,   Transplant Fellowship, 1981-1982
  • University of Minnesota, Department of Surgery, Minneapolis, MN, Research Fellowship, 1977-79
  • American Board of Surgery, 1982, renewed 2012
  • End-Stage Kidney Disease
  • Fulminant Hepatic Failure
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer)
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Liver Cysts
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Living Donor Liver Transplantation
  • Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Pediatric Kidney Transplantation
  • Pediatric Liver Transplantation
  • Portal Hypertension
  • Clinical Transplantation
  • Recurrence After Liver Transplantation
  • Transplant Ethics
  • Transplant Policy

Dr. Nancy Ascher, chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery, has devoted her career to organ transplants and transplant research. Dr. Ascher completed her undergraduate and medical education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She then went on to complete a general surgery residency and clinical transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Ascher joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1982 and was named Clinical Director of the Liver Transplant Program. She was recruited in 1988 by the UCSF Department of Surgery to build a liver transplantation program. In 1991, she was appointed Chief of Transplantation, an expanded role that included liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. In 1993, she was appointed Vice-Chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery, and in 1999 was appointed Department Chair. 

Dr. Ascher has had a distinguished career of public service that includes appointments to the Presidential Task Force on Organ Transplantation and the Surgeon General's Task Force on Increasing Donor Organs. She also served as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation for the Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 - 2005. Highly respected by her peers, Dr. Ascher was named to the list of U.S. News "America's Top Doctors," a distinction reserved for the top 1% of physicians in the nation for a given specialty.

Dr. Ascher is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds memberships in numerous other medical societies. She has taken an active leadership role in American Society of Transplant Surgeons activities and was its past-president. Dr. Ascher has published over 425 articles in medical and scientific journals. Her research interests are in hepatocyte immunogenicity, mechanisms of allograft rejection and clinical transplantation.

I. RECURRENT DISEASE AFTER LIVER TRANSPLANT
The NIH Liver Transplant Data Base has been extended to address the important issue of disease recurrence after liver transplantation. Although short term liver transplant results have improved markedly over the past ten years, it is apparent that disease recurrence is an important source of patient morbidity and graft loss. Long term following of greater than 1000 patients in the Liver Transplant Data Base will facilitate our understanding of the factors associated with graft recurrence.

II. EXPANDED CRITERIA FOR LIVER TRANSPLANT FOR HEPATOCELLULAR CARCINOMA
We have redefined the criteria for liver transplantation beyond the Milan criteria. The UCSF criteria enables additional patients to benefit from liver transplants without compromising outcome.

Most recent publications from a total of 360
  1. Braun HJ, Dodge JL, Roll GR, Freise CE, Ascher NL, Roberts JP. Impact of Graft Selection on Donor and Recipient Outcomes After Living Donor Liver Transplantation. Transplantation. 2016 Jun; 100(6):1244-50. View in PubMed
  2. Braun HJ, Dusch MN, Park SH, O'Sullivan PS, Harari A, Harleman E, Ascher NL. Medical Students' Perceptions of Surgeons: Implications for Teaching and Recruitment. J Surg Educ. 2015 Nov-Dec; 72(6):1195-9. View in PubMed
  3. Ascher NL. Nancy L. Ascher, MD, PhD: Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery, UCSF; Past-President, ASTS; President-elect, The Transplantation Society. Transplantation. 2015 Jun; 99(6):1106. View in PubMed
  4. Braun HJ, O'Sullivan PS, Dusch MN, Antrum S, Ascher NL. Improving interprofessional collaboration: evaluation of implicit attitudes in the surgeon-nurse relationship. Int J Surg. 2015 Jan; 13:175-9. View in PubMed
  5. Dusch MN, Braun HJ, O'Sullivan PS, Ascher NL. Perceptions of surgeons: what characteristics do women surgeons prefer in a colleague? Am J Surg. 2014 Oct; 208(4):601-4. View in PubMed
  6. Dusch MN, O'Sullivan PS, Ascher NL. Patient perceptions of female surgeons: how surgeon demeanor and type of surgery affect patient preference. J Surg Res. 2014 Mar; 187(1):59-64. View in PubMed
  7. Vagefi PA, Parekh J, Ascher NL, Roberts JP, Freise CE. Ex vivo split-liver transplantation: the true right/left split. HPB (Oxford). 2014 Mar; 16(3):267-74. View in PubMed
  8. Roll GR, Parekh JR, Parker WF, Siegler M, Pomfret EA, Ascher NL, Roberts JP. Left hepatectomy versus right hepatectomy for living donor liver transplantation: shifting the risk from the donor to the recipient. Liver Transpl. 2013 May; 19(5):472-81. View in PubMed
  9. Trompeta JA, Cooper BA, Ascher NL, Kools SM, Kennedy CM, Chen JL. Asian American adolescents' willingness to donate organs and engage in family discussion about organ donation and transplantation. Prog Transplant. 2012 Mar; 22(1):33-40, 70. View in PubMed
  10. Vagefi PA, Ascher NL, Freise CE, Dodge JL, Roberts JP. Use of living donor liver transplantation varies with the availability of deceased donor liver transplantation. Liver Transpl. 2012 Feb; 18(2):160-5. View in PubMed
  11. View All Publications
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  • Chris Schroeder

    When Chris Schroeder's Kidneys Failed, His Family Stepped Forward

    Chris Schroeder has been extraordinarily unlucky — and extraordinarily lucky. The 58-year-old Walnut Creek, Calif., resident grew up in a family where the specter of polycystic kidney disease, a disorder in which cysts form on the kidneys and eventually stop them from functioning, loomed large. His mother had a kidney transplant in her late 60s, and her father died of hereditary disease at the age of 56. So, from a young age, Schroeder was on the lookout for signs that he too would face similar challenges. Chris Schroeder with his wife and son By the time he was in his early 40s, his[...]
    Story Categories: Kidney TransplantLaparoscopic Donor NephrectomyLiving Donor Kidney TransplantPeritoneal DialysisPolycystic Kidney Disease
  • Sheila FitzPatrick

    Due Diligence Pays Off

    Sheila Fitzpatrick.jpg
    An international attorney specializing in data privacy and employment law, Sheila FitzPatrick spent three weeks of every month hopscotching the globe. Curious and passionate, she nurtured a worldwide network of friends who became her second family. A self-described "super-active" person, she loved heart-pounding 2-mile swims in the morning and long, leisurely walks around the great cities of Europe. She approached staying healthy with the same drive. Regular checkups never revealed the slightest hint of kidney disease. But in 2008, her[...]
    Story Categories: DialysisEnd-Stage Renal Disease (ESRDKidney Transplant
  • Amy Baghdadi

    The Gift of a Lifetime

    Amy Baghdadi
    Amy Baghdadi was living a perfectly normal life — working as a lawyer and raising two young kids with her husband in San Francisco. While training for a half marathon her side would ache after long runs. She figured it was just pulled a muscle. Then one evening the pain was so excruciating that her husband made her go to the emergency room. An ultrasound revealed that her liver was full of tumors, which were quickly diagnosed as cancer. After an aggressive chemotherapy regimen failed, Baghdadi's treatment options were running out. Liver[...]
    Story Categories: Liver Cancer (Hepatocellular Carcinoma)Liver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
  • Patrick Caldie & Stephen Fowler

    Work of Love

    Stephen Fowler and Patrick Caldie have more in common than teaching at-risk high school students at the El Dorado County Office of Education. On Feb. 1, 2007, Fowler donated part of his liver to Caldie at UCSF Medical Center's Liver Transplant Program, one of the nation's leading centers for adult and pediatric liver transplants. Fowler underwent a new procedure, called a living donor transplant, which allows a living person to donate a segment of their liver that then grows or regenerates to full size in the recipient. UCSF liver transplant[...]
    Story Categories: CirrhosisLiver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant
  • Gloria & Veronica Ramos

    Living Donor Transplant Emblemmatic of Loving Family

    Gloria Ramos
    When Gloria Ramos received the call in August 2000 that UCSF Medical Center had a liver for the transplant she badly needed, the Ramos family drove to the hospital with great anticipation and excitement. But further testing of the available organ revealed it wasn't a good match for Gloria and her daughters and husband expressed their disappointment. "This only means that I'm at the top of the list," Gloria recalls assuring her family. "I'll get called again!" Gloria contracted Hepatitis C through a blood transfusion in 1982 but the deadly virus lived undetected in her body until the summer[...]
    Story Categories: CirrhosisHepatitis CLiver TransplantLiving Donor Liver Transplant

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