UHN Scientist's research legacy is profound impact on transplantation worldwide

Air Date: December 14, 2022 | Length: 59:06 | Download the transcript 

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Dr. Shaf Keshavjee

Episode Description

UHN surgeon scientist Dr Shaf Keshavjee sits down with Behind the Breakthrough host Christian Coté and takes us on a behind-the-scenes journey of his groundbreaking medical discoveries – two of which have had a profound impact on lung transplant around the world. For his Master's thesis in the late 1980's he developed a lung preservation solution – LDP – which is now the standard for lung preservation worldwide. Twenty years later he followed that up with the invention of a lung perfusion machine that preserves and treats damaged donor lungs outside the body – or ex vivo. The Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion System has doubled the number of lungs available for transplant and is now in use around the world. Today the system is being tested to treat other damaged organs including the liver, kidney, and heart. In this wide-ranging and revealing conversation, Dr. Keshavjee speaks to the importance of mentorship, the qualities necessary to be a successful scientist, and, the importance of scientists learning about patenting and commercializing their work. Dr. Keshavjee also talks about a big personal motivation in his career trajectory - the inspiration he derives from his parents sacrifice. When he was just 12 years old they sold their dream house and quit their jobs in Nairobi, Kenya to move to Canada and start over in the hopes of giving their son and daughter better educational and life opportunities. Don't miss this compelling episode featuring an up-close conversation with Dr. Shaf Keshavjee.

About Dr. Shaf Keshavjee

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee in the Cooper Lab  

Dr. Shaf Keshavjee is a world-renowned thoracic surgeon-scientist with a history of breakthroughs and discoveries in lung transplantation. He is the current Surgeon-in-Chief of the Sprott Department of Surgery, the Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program and Latner Thoracic Research Laboratories at UHN, and Professor of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Keshavjee completed his medical training at the University of Toronto in 1985, and specialized in General Surgery, Cardiac Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. He participated in the world's first successful double lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital in 1986. Dr. Keshavjee completed fellowships at Harvard University and the University of London. During his Master's studies, Dr. Keshavjee developed a lung preservation solution for donor lungs that has now been translated into clinical use around the world. Since then, he has led the development and translation of many innovations to the clinic, including the Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) system.

For Dr. Keshavjee's achievements and leadership in the field, he has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honour that recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Furthermore, he is a member of the Order of Ontario and has been awarded two Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals. In 2020, he received the prestigious Governor General of Canada's Innovation Award. Other notable recognitions include UHN's Inventor of the Year Award, Canada's Top 40 Under 40, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Society of Transplantation.

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