Abdominal transplant surgery fellows in the operating room
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The Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, provides fellows with the best possible foundation for a career in transplantation surgery. The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) has accredited Mayo Clinic for training in liver and kidney transplantation.

Multi-organ procurement by the Mayo Clinic team


Multi-organ procurement by the Mayo Clinic team

This two-year fellowship prepares fellows for either academic medicine or private practice by training with board-certified staff who teach management concepts in:

  • Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy
  • Living donor transplantation (Kidney and Liver)
  • Deceased donor liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation
  • Pediatric transplantation exposure
  • Multidisciplinary team management
  • Multi-organ transplants
  • Paired donation

Your fellowship is overseen by Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education (MCSGME) under the supervision of the Graduate Medical Education Committee. Therefore, fellows at Mayo Clinic are considered trainees and comply with all regulations regarding trainees, including the 80-hour workweek as stipulated by MCSGME and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

Mayo Clinic supports ECFMG J-1 visa sponsorship and if certain conditions are met, may also support an H-1B temporary work visa. See MCSGME immigration and visas information for details.

The Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship matches two fellows per year. In addition, each fellow is provided with ample opportunity to complete clinical research projects and present at national meetings. Since many of our faculty are involved extensively in research endeavors, there is an option for a pre-clinical research year within our fellowship program. If this is something you are interested in, please contact our Education Coordinator. 

Our goal is to train competent transplant surgeons who readily find employment after graduation. Since 2003, 32 of our 36 graduates have been successfully placed in a transplant faculty role.

You will be evaluated by the supervising surgeon(s) quarterly throughout the course of the fellowship. Conversely, you will have the opportunity to evaluate your supervising surgeon(s) as well. Evaluations and feedback are discussed with the fellow on a regular basis throughout the course of the fellowship.

Accreditation and certification

The Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship is approved by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) under delegated authority of the ACGME for kidney and liver transplantation certifications. However, there will also be exposure to pancreas transplantation and hepato-pancreato-biliary surgery (HPB) in addition to pediatric transplantation (liver and kidney).

When you successfully complete the Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship, you will be eligible to be certified by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS).

Program history

The ASTS-accredited Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship began at Mayo Clinic in 1979. Since it began, more than 70 fellows have completed training in this program. Going forward, it is anticipated that two fellows will complete this program every year.

Your training experience

Your training experience

As a fellow at Mayo Clinic, you'll have access to robust clinical, educational, and research resources. You'll find support inside and outside of the campus to promote wellness and ensure work/life balance.

More about the curriculum

More about our fellows

Director's welcome

Director's welcome

"The Mayo Clinic culture is pervasive in every facet of the system, including the transplant division. We strive to treat our fellows like our partners and give them the responsibility and autonomy they need to grow into great transplant surgeons."

More from the program director

See where our fellows are now

Frequently asked questions (and answers)

What is the patient population like?

There is no denying that the transplant patient population is one that can be complex and challenging clinically. The key is to have appropriate mentorship to our trainees so they feel comfortable as they grow into their knowledge of transplant. We encourage fellows to contact staff with any questions, day or night. 

How much autonomy will I have?

The intent of our Abdominal Transplant Fellowship is to produce proficient and competent physicians. That does not mean just knowing the operations, it means performing them.

All staff aim to serially progress our trainees through each transplant operation until the fellow is able to complete the operation on his/her own. Of course each fellow progresses at their own rate, but our job as educators is to understand this and to give more responsibility and autonomy as they become ready for it. 

What is the work-life balance like?

Our fellowship program is intense, providing a solid foundation that serves fellows well in their future practice. Fellows and their families enjoy numerous activities outside of the workplace afforded by the dynamic, safe, and affordable city of Rochester, Minnesota.

With a smaller program, fellows are more than just colleagues - they are close friends, frequently interacting outside the work environment and reporting overall satisfaction with the work-life balance. Here are just a few quotes from our graduating fellows.

Philippe Paci, M.D., C.M., M.S.

Transplant fellowship is intense, but I was fortunate to develop a close friendship with my senior fellows when I was a first-year fellow, as well as with my co-fellow. This allowed us to approach our training as a team and allowed us to help each other when necessary. - Philippe Paci, M.D., C.M., M.S. (2019-2021)

Lavanya Yohanathan, M.B.B.S.

It is a rigorous training program but the team and relationships amongst the co fellows and attendings make it fun to be at work. Everyone has family obligations, and it is nice to be able to get time with your family. - Lavanya Yohanathan, M.B.B.S. (2019-2021)

Shennen Mao, M.D.

I embraced opportunities to work hard but also play hard as a fellow. We generally had every other weekend free of clinical obligations and I utilized this time to explore northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. During the summer I enjoyed running, biking, and swimming. In the winter I could be found snowshoeing, downhill skiing, enjoying dinner/theater in Minneapolis, or traveling. I enjoyed being able to own my own home and spend time with my husband (also a Mayo Clinic fellow). - Shennen Mao (2016-2018)

Ek Khoon Tan, M.D., M.Med., M.P.H.

Frankly, one should expect to be training hard while in fellowship training. Despite that, I felt that my welfare was well taken care of and I was well supported throughout. I had the full support of my wife and family who were able to accord time out during these 2 years to manage the children so that I could concentrate on the training. - Ek Khoon Tan, M.B.B.S., M.Med., M.P.H. (2017-2019)

Mohammed Shaheen, M.B.B.S.

Certainly it is not an easy task to strike the right balance between work and life outside work when in transplant training. Nonetheless, Mayo Clinic has a strong supportive network of allied health staff that help ease the burden of the training fellows giving you worry-free time to spend outside work. With three to four surgical fellows at a time, cross coverage is possible among trainees. Additionally, the short travel distance between work and home is always a plus! You can always find time to go home during downtime even when on call. - Mohammed Shaheen, M.D. (2016-2019)

What is the dress code?

The dress code at Mayo Clinic emphasizes maintaining a professional appearance.

Fellows wear scrubs on appropriate inpatient services, and they wear a white coat instead of a suit jacket in many settings.

What is it like to live in Rochester, Minnesota?

Rochester offers all of the cultural opportunities of a larger U.S. city, including access to theater, arts, and various leisure activities such as shopping, golf and fine dining. Explore all the Rochester community has to offer and see what current and former fellows have to say about the city.

Niv Pencovici, M.D., Ph.D.

Coming with my family, I looked for a safe and quiet environment that will enable me to focus on my training.  Rochester provides just that. It's a great city for kids, you have everything you need within a 5-minute drive, and the surrounding nature is astounding. - Niv Pencovici, M.D., Ph.D. (2021-2023)

Mayo Clinic abdominal transplant faculty member Julie Heimbach, M.D.

It is very easy and very peaceful to live here, and I get so much time back every day by avoiding the traffic and long lines which I had to deal with living in larger cities. - Julie Heimbach, M.D. (current faculty)

Mayo Clinic abdominal transplant faculty member Phillipe Paci, M.D., C.M.M.S.

Living in Rochester is very easy. Commuting to work is never an issue as there is no traffic. Although I was not able to get to know the city more due to restrictions from the pandemic, it is very lively during the summer with plenty of activities to do. - Philippe Paci, M.D., C.M., M.S. (2019-2021)

Mayo Clinic abdominal transplant fellow Nassir Thalji, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

Rochester is a  smaller city, but has been growing fairly rapidly over the last three years. There’s effectively no rush hour traffic – ever. It’s very safe and the lower cost of living is a big plus. Huge investments aiming to grow Mayo Clinic as a Destination Medical Center have culminated in multiple new restaurants and craft breweries popping up. The Twin Cities are just about an hour away and have a ton to offer as well. The winters are cold – there’s no denying that – but spring, summer, and fall in Minnesota are beautiful. Biking and hiking trails are everywhere, and there are loads to do outdoors. - Nassir Thalji, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (2019-2021)

Mathew George, M.B.B.S., M.S.

Rochester is an easy place to live with its multicultural background. All amenities are at a walkable distance and I could survive for two years without a car. - Mathew George, M.B.B.S., M.S. (2018-2020)

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