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Dr. Shaf Keshavjee - University Health Network. Toronto, ON, CA

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee Dr. Shaf Keshavjee

Surgeon in Chief | University Health Network

Toronto, ON, CANADA

A gifted surgeon with decades experience at the forefront of innovative research into lung transplantation





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Dr. Shaf Keshavjee is a Thoracic surgeon and Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program. He is Surgeon-in-Chief, James Wallace McCutcheon Chair in Surgery at University Health Network in Toronto, and Professor Division of Thoracic Surgery and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Keshavjee completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 1985. He subsequently trained in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto followed by fellowship training at Harvard University and the University of London for airway surgery and heart-lung transplantation respectively. He joined the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1994 and was promoted to full professor in 2002. Dr. Keshavjee served as the Chair of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto from 2004 to 2010. He was also the inaugural holder of the Pearson-Ginsberg Chair in Thoracic Surgery.

Dr. Keshavjee’s clinical practice is in thoracic oncology, lung cancer and lung transplantation. He has a passion for surgery and innovative research. He is a scientist in the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine at UHN. He leads a team of researchers in a leading research program and is widely published in the field. His specific research interest is in lung injury related to transplantation. His current work involves the study of molecular diagnostics and gene therapy strategies to repair organs and to engineer superior organs for transplantation.

Dr. Keshavjee has served on the board of directors of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, The Canadian Society of Transplantation and on the Governing Council of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery. He has received numerous awards for contributions to his field, including the George Armstrong Peters Young Investigator Award, Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award, the Colin Woolf Award for Excellence in Medical Education and the Lister Prize in Surgery - the highest award for research achievement in the Department of Surgery. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Ryerson University, as well as an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Queen’s University. He has also received two Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals and the Order of Ontario.

Industry Expertise (5)

Research Health Care - Providers Public Policy Health Care - Services Health and Wellness

Areas of Expertise (10)

Lung Transplantation Clinical Research Medical Research Molecular Diagnostics Gene Therapy Surgical Leadership Thoracic Surgery Ex-Vivo Process for Transplant Surgery and Critical Care Multi-Organ Transplant

Accomplishments (7)

Doctor of Science honoris causa, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada (professional)


This honorary degree is bestowed on those who share the spirit of Ryerson University’s mission to advance the well-being of our local and global community with learning and discovery at the ingenious edge.

Doctorate of Science (DSC) – Honorary, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. (professional)


Awarded to luminaries who have made outstanding contributions to society on a national or international scale.

Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Fellowship (FCAHS) (professional)


Fellows of the Academy are elected in the basis of their demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and commitment to advance academic health sciences.

Order of Ontario (professional)


Inducted in to the Order of Ontario for his leading work in lung transplantation. Dr. Keshavjee's advances in organ preservation and repair have significantly increased the number of donor lungs used to save lives with lung transplantation.

Lister Prize in Surgery (professional)


The highest award for research achievement in the Department of Surgery.

Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Award (professional)


Canada's Top 40 Under 40, established in 1995, is a national program that uniquely celebrates the achievements of 40 Canadians in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, who have reached a significant level of success before the age of 40.
The program is designed to promote mentorship and professional development by introducing these leaders to the established business community and by promoting them as role models for young Canadians.

George Armstrong Peters Young Investigator Award (professional)


Awarded to a young investigator who has shown outstanding productivity during his/her initial period as an independent investigator as evidenced by research publications in peer reviewed journals, grants held, and students trained.

Education (6)

University of Toronto: Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Cardiac Surgery 1993

University of Toronto: Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, Thoracic Surgery 1993

University of London: Fellowship, Lung Transplantation

University of Toronto: MD., Medicine 1985

University of Toronto: Fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, General Surgery 1991

Harvard University: Fellowship, Airway Surgery

Affiliations (4)

  • Toronto General Research Institute
  • Division of Experimental Theraputics
  • Latner Thoracic Research Laboratories : Senior Scientist & Director
  • Division of Thoracic Surgery & Institute for Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto

Media Appearances (3)

'Truly humbled by this recognition'

Kingston Whig Standard  online


Dr. Shaf Keshavjee can remember right down to the minute when he first heard that the world's first successful lung transplant had just been performed. He recounted this experience to a full house in Grant Hall at Queen’s University on Tuesday. Dr. Keshavjee, thoracic surgeon, director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, and surgeon-in-chief at the University Health Network in Toronto, received an honorary degree from Queen's University during its fall convocation for his work in lung transplants. He urged the students to follow the same advice his father gave him: make sure you do what you enjoy and then do it well.

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Doctors weigh in on 2013’s biggest medical breakthroughs

The Toronto Star  online


Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion
A technology that enables high-risk donor lungs to continue breathing outside the body for nearly 24 hours so the organs can be repaired before transplant, has led to a 25 per cent increase in transplantations this year at Toronto’s lung transplant clinic.
It is “an unprecedented increase in the number of transplants ever in the history of transplantation,” says Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, the surgeon-in-chief at University Health Network and director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program.

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Double lung transplant recipient Helene Campbell is off the ventilator — and on the treadmill

Postmedia News  online


TORONTO — An Ottawa woman’s prognosis is good, but her double lung transplant was more complicated than first let on, doctors acknowledged at a news conference Tuesday. Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program, called 21-year-old Helene Campbell’s lung transplant “one of the more courageous and challenging we’ve ever done.”

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Event Appearances (2)

C. Walton Lillehei Lecture

Society of Thoracic Surgeons : 50th Annual Meeting Online  Online


Can a human lung breathe outside the human body?

TedMed 2010  San Diego, CA.


Articles (1)

Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome: Alloimmune-Dependent and -Independent Injury with Aberrant Tissue Remodeling Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 20(2)


Long-term success in lung transplantation continues to be challenged by chronic graft dysfunction, which is manifest as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). The mechanisms of BOS involve both immune-mediated pathways (rejection, autoimmune-like mechanisms), and alloimmune-independent pathways (infection, aspiration, ischemia, primary graft failure), which lead to a fibroproliferative responses. BOS correlates histologically with obliterative bronchiolitis in terminal bronchioles and evidence of aberrant remodeling in the airway epithelium, vasculature, stroma, and lymphoid system. A potentially important mechanism that supports the progressive and therapy-resistant nature of BOS is a continuous cycle of ongoing injury and aberrant remodeling. Namely, anatomical and functional abnormalities induce and exacerbate immune-mediated and alloimmune-independent pathways through various mechanisms (e.g., epithelial remodeling decreases mucociliary clearance that exacerbates aspiration-related injury). From this viewpoint, we review current therapeutic strategies and revisit the role of transplant surgeons in attenuating the initial transplant-related injuries to prevent the lung grafts from entering the remodeling-injury cycle.

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