Dr. Kasper Wang is the Robert M. Filler Chair of Paediatric Surgery, Head of General and Thoracic Surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He received his education at Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Dr. Wang received his general surgery training at Stanford University and his paediatric surgery training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He subsequently stayed on as faculty at CHLA and the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, where he practiced the full breadth of paediatric general, neonatal, thoracic, and oncologic surgery. Wang is well published in high impact journals such as JAMA, Nature Communications, Cell, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Surgery, Annals of Surgery, Journal of Hepatology, and Pediatrics. Dr. Wang is the Past President of the Society of University Surgeons and past Chair of the Western Pediatric Surgery Research Consortium. He is the current Vice Chair of the Pediatric Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery and will assume the chair in 2023.
Biliary atresia (BA) is a disease of infants where the bile ducts are damaged due to unclear causes such that bile is unable to flow from the liver and progressive liver damage occurs. Unfortunately, even successful surgical drainage of, which is effective only half of the time, does not necessarily prevent progression towards liver failure. BA is the most common indication for pediatric liver transplantation, which is both extremely costly and associated with health risks due to the requirements of life-long immunosuppression. Efforts to understand the underlying causes of BA and the progression towards cirrhosis are critical to impacting the outcome of infants and children with this disease.
Present in regions of the liver with newly evolving fibrosis are nests of disorganized bile ducts. Dr. Wang’s team has long been focusing on the precursor (or progenitor cells) that form these abnormal bile ducts. Specifically, they are studying a gene named Prominin-1, which makes a cell surface protein essential for the normal functioning of these liver progenitor cells. Decreased Prominin-1 is associated with decreased liver fibrosis in infants with BA. They and others have also demonstrated that some gene mutations in Prominin-1 cause decreased formation of cilia that may be linked to BA. Studying this process will likely provide new insights into ways to improve survival of the child’s native liver and avoid liver transplantation.
Education and experience
- 2022–Present: Staff Paediatric General/Thoracic Surgeon, The Hospital for Sick Children
- 2022–Present: Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine
- 2018–2022: Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
- 2004–2012: Assistant Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
- 2004–2022: Staff Pediatric Surgeon, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2002–2004: Fellow, Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 1994–2002: Resident, General Surgery, Stanford University Hospital
- 1989–1984: MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- 1985–1989: BA Biology, Johns Hopkins University
- 2023–Present: Chair, Nominating Committee of The American Board of Surgery
- 2023–Present: Councilor, The American Board of Surgery
- 2023–Present: Chair, Pediatric Surgery Board, The American Board of Surgery
- 2021–2022: President, Society of University Surgeons
- 2021–Present: Co-Chair, Asian Pacific Islander of DEI program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2021–Present: Vice Chair, Pediatric Surgery Board, The American Board of Surgery
- 2021–2023: Vice Chair, Pediatric Surgery Board, The American Board of Surgery
- 2020–2022: Chair, Western Pediatric Surgery Research Consortium
- 2018–Present: Director, Pediatric Surgery Board of The American Board of Surgery
- 2018–Present: Team Lead, Pediatric Surgery, Committee for the Owen F. Wangensteen Scientific Forum, The American College of Surgeons
- 2018–2020: Interim Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2017–2021: Councillor (elected), Society of Asian Academic Surgeons
- 2015–Present: Program Director OR Associate Program Director, Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2015–2020: Co-chair, OR Efficiency working group of the Perioperative Services Committee, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2013–2020: Roster Member, Pediatrics A Study Section, National Institutes of Health
- 2009–2022: Chairman (appointed, National), Surgery Committee
- 2009–2022: Top Doctor, nominated, Pasadena Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine
- 2007–2008: Society of University Surgeons Foundation Junior Faculty Award
- 2005–2008: Councillor (elected, National) Executive Committee
- Bezerra JA, Spino C, Magee JC, Wang KS, et al. Use of corticosteroids after hepatoportoenterostomy for bile drainage in infants with biliary atresia: the START randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2014;311(17):1750-1759. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.2623
- Zhu L, Finkelstein D, Gao C, Wang KS et al. Multi-organ Mapping of Cancer Risk. Cell. 2016;166(5):1132-1146.e7. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2016.07.045
- Zhang D, Gates KP, Barske L, Wang KS, et al. Endoderm Jagged induces liver and pancreas duct lineage in zebrafish. Nat Commun. 2017;8(1):769. Published 2017 Oct 3. doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00666-6
- Short C, Zhong A, Xu J, Mahdi E, Glazier A, Malkoff N, Noriega N, Yeo T, Asahina K, Wang KS. TWEAK/FN14 promotes profibrogenic pathway activation in Prominin-1-expressing hepatic progenitor cells in biliary atresia. Hepatology. 2023 May 1;77(5):1639-1653. doi: 10.1097/HEP.0000000000000026. Epub 2023 Jan 3. PubMed PMID: 36626628.
- Zhong A, Short C, Xu J, Fernandez GE, Malkoff N, Noriega N, Yeo T, Wang L, Mavila N, Asahina K, Wang KS. Prominin-1 promotes restitution of the murine extrahepatic biliary luminal epithelium following cholestatic liver injury. Hepatol Commun. 2023 Jan 20;7(2):e0018. doi: 10.1097/HC9.0000000000000018. PubMed PMID: 36662671; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10019165.
- 2023–Present: Co-investigator, Childhood Liver Disease Research Network, The Hospital for Sick Children, National Institutes of Health
- 2009–2022: Principal Investigator, Childhood Liver Disease Research Network, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, National Institutes of Health