Dr. Kasper Wang is the Robert M. Filler Chair of Paediatric Surgery, Head of General and Thoracic Surgery at The Hospital for Sick Children, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine. He received his education at The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
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. 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
- 1994–2002: Resident, General Surgery, Stanford University Hospital
- 2002–2004: Fellow, Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2004–2022: Staff Pediatric Surgeon, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2004–2012: Assistant Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
- 2018–2022: Professor of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California'
- 2022–present: Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine
- 2022–present: Staff Pediatric General/Thoracic Surgeon, The Hospital for Sick Children
- 2005–2008: Councillor (elected, National) Executive Committee
- 2007–2008: Society of University Surgeons Foundation Junior Faculty Award
- 2009–2022: Top Doctor, nominated, Pasadena Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine
- 2009–2022: Chairman (appointed, National), Surgery Committee
- 2013–2020: Roster Member, Pediatrics A Study Section, National Institutes of Health
- 2015–2020: Co-chair, OR Efficiency working group of the Perioperative Services Committee, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2015–present: Program Director OR Associate Program Director, Pediatric Surgery Fellowship, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2017–2021: Councillor (elected), Society of Asian Academic Surgeons
- 2018–2020: Interim Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2018–present: Team Lead, Pediatric Surgery, Committee for the Owen F. Wangensteen Scientific Forum, The American College of Surgeons
- 2018–present: Director, Pediatric Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery
- 2020–2022: Chair, Western Pediatric Surgery Research Consortium
- 2021–present: Vice Chair, Pediatric Surgery Board, American Board of Surgery
- 2021–present: Co-Chair, Asian Pacific Islander of DEI program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
- 2021–2022: President, Society of University Surgeons
- 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
- Mavila N, James D, Shivakumar P, Wang KS, et al. Expansion of prominin-1-expressing cells in association with fibrosis of biliary atresia. Hepatology. 2014;60(3):941-953. doi:10.1002/hep.27203
- 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
- Zagory JA, Fenlon M, Dietz W, Wang KS, et al. Prominin-1 Promotes Biliary Fibrosis Associated With Biliary Atresia. Hepatology. 2019;69(6):2586-2597. doi:10.1002/hep.30550
See a full list of Wang's publications on PubMed
- 2009–2022: Principal Investigator, Childhood Liver Disease Research Network, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, National Institutes of Health