Stuart J. Knechtle, MD

Dr. Stuart J. Knechtle

Stuart J. Knechtle, MD, who started practicing at Emory in 2008, is Professor of Surgery, Director of Adult and Pediatric Liver Transplantation, and Clinical Director of the Emory Transplant Center. He is also the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Professor of Transplant Surgery and Chief of Pediatric Liver Transplant Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta.


General Surgery (Recertified by the American Board of Surgery, 2009)

Areas of Expertise

  • Liver and Kidney transplantation
  • Transplant immunology

Groundbreaking Research and Clinical Trials

Dr. Knechtle, a nationally-recognized surgeon and a leader in the field of liver and kidney transplantation, focuses on finding safer and more effective ways to prevent rejection of organ transplants.

The focus of Dr. Knechtle’s research is immunologic tolerance to organ transplants. Themes pursued in both non-human primates and humans are strategies and mechanisms of tolerance including both depleting agents and costimulation blockade. Another major focus has been immunologic monitoring of transplant patients to detect transplant rejection and overimmunosuppression.

Dr. Knechtle is best known for developing depleting strategies in transplant immunosupression that may promote tolerance to an organ transplant. His research focuses on finding safer and more effective ways to prevent rejection of organ transplants. He has also trained a number of leaders in transplantation. Dr. Knechtle had been the director of liver transplantation and transplant clinical trials at the University of Wisconsin, Madison since 2005. Dr. Knechtle plans to expand Emory’s liver transplant program by collaborating with colleagues in the departments of medicine, radiology, anesthesia and surgery.

Dr. Knechtle has been involved in a variety of clinical trials in organ transplantation and most recently helped develop a method to monitor kidney transplant patients by measuring chemokines in their urine rather than blood tests.

He performed the first living donor liver transplant in Wisconsin and the first combined liver/pancreas transplant there.

The Road to Emory: Education

  • Undergraduate: AB in Biochemistry, Cum Laude, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, 1978
  • Medical School: Cornell University School of Medicine, New York, NY, 1982
  • Internship (Department of Surgery): Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 1982-1983
  • Residency: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 1983-1989
  • Research Fellow, Transplantation Immunology, Department of Surgery: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 1984-1986
  • Transplantation Fellow, Department of Surgery: University of Wisconsin Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin, 1989-1991


  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons
  • American Society of Transplantation
  • American Surgical Association
  • Association for Academic Surgery

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Dr. Knechtle is on the editorial board of several national academic journals, including Transplantation, Transplant Immunology, and Annals of Surgery, and is co-editor-in-chief of Transplantation Reviews. With Peter Morris, he was co-editor of the textbook Kidney Transplantation: Principles and Practice and editor of Portal Hypertension: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Current Clinical Management.


  • National Arthritis Foundation Research Fellow, Cornell University Medical College, 1979-1980
  • National Research Service Award, U.S. Public Health Service, 1980
  • Dean’s Research Prize, Cornell University Medical College, 1980
  • Reader's Digest International Fellowship, Shanta Bhawan Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1982
  • National Research Service Award, U. S. Public Health Service, 1984-1986
  • Upjohn Award for Outstanding Paper in Transplantation Research by a Young Investigator, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, 1986
  • Philip Caves Award for Outstanding Paper in Transplantation Research by a Young Investigator, International Society of Heart Transplantation, 1986
  • Sandoz Fellowship, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, 1989-1991
  • American College of Surgeons Faculty Fellowship, 1992-1994
  • ASTS Roche Presidential Travel Award, 1997
  • James IV Association of Surgeons Travelling Fellow, 1999
  • AST/Wyeth Senior Achievement Award in Clinical Transplantation, 2008
  • Ray. D. Owen Professor of Transplantation at UW from 2005-2008

Major or Recent Publications

  • Knechtle SJ, Pascual J, Bloom DD, Torrealba JR, Jankowska-Gan E, Burlingham WJ, Kwun J, Colvin RB, Seyfert-Margolis V, Bourcier K, Sollinger HW. 2009: Early and Limited Use of Tacrolimus to Avoid Rejection in an Alemtuzumab and Sirolimus Regimen for Kidney Transplantation: Clinical Results and Immune Monitoring. Am J Transplant 9: 1-12
  • Bloom D, Davis Z, Pauly K, Kwun J, Fechner J, Hayes C, Samaniego M, Knechtle S, 2009: BAFF in increased in renal transplant patients following treatment with alemtuzumab. Am J Transplant 9: 1835-45. PMID 19522878
  • Hu H, Kwun J, Aizenstein BD, Knechtle SJ. 2009: Noninvasive detection of acute and chronic injuries in human renal transplants by elevation of multiple cytokines/chemokines in urine. Transplantation 87: 1814-20. PMID 19543058
  • Radziewicz H, Ibegbu CC, Hon H, Bedard N, Bruneau J, Workowski KA, Knechtle SJ, Kirk AD, Larsen CP, Shoukry NH, Grakoui A 2010: Transient CD86 expression on hepatitis C virus-specific CD8+ T cells in acute infection is linked to sufficient IL-2 signaling. J Immunol 184: 2410-22. PMID: 20100932
  • Knechtle SJ, Kwun J, Iwakoshi N, 2010: Prevention trumps treatment of antibody-mediated rejection. J Clin Invest 120: 1036-9. PMID: 20335653


Dr. Knechtle holds citizenship in the United States and Switzerland. His hobbies include gardening and biking.

In 1999, Knechtle founded Renovar, a Wisconsin-based biotechnology company that specializes in diagnostic tests for kidney diseases. He remains Chairman of the Board and Chief Scientific Officer.