Physician Photo

Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD

A.Benedict Cosimi Chair in Transplant Surgery

Surgical Director, Dialysis Access Program

Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School

Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD is a transplant surgeon and Co-Head of Abdominal Organ/Cell Transplantation Laboratory (Cosimi/Kawai Lab)at the Center for Transplantation Sciences.

  • Phone: 617-726-0289
Transplant Surgery
Department of Surgery


  • MassGeneral Hospital for Children
  • Transplantation
  • Transplant Center
  • Pancreas/Islet Transplant
  • Pediatric Transplant Surgery
  • Kidney Transplant
  • Liver Transplant
Clinical Interests
Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy
Organ transplantation (kidney, liver and pancreas)
Vascular access surgery for renal failure
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, Nihon University
PhD, Tokyo Women's Medical University
Residency, Kawasaki City Hospital
Residency, Tokyo Women's Medical University
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Foreign Languages
Patient Age Group
Adult and pediatric
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients


  • Graduated from Nihon University, School of Medicine (Tokyo, Japan) (1981).
  • Completed Surgical Residency at Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital (1986)
  • Board Certified in Surgery (1986)
  • Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (1991); International Fellowship Award (1991)
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Tokyo Women's Medical University (1994)
  • Associate Professor of Surgery, Tokyo Women's Medical University (1996)
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School (1997)
  • Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School (2008)
  • Martin Research Award (2009)
  • The Transplantation Society - New Key Opinion Leader (nKOL) Award (2010)
  • A. Benedict Cosimi Endowed Professorship (2012)
  • Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School (2015)

Since being appointed to the clinical staff at MGH in 2001, I have played a major role in the following clinical projects at MGH.

  1. Clinical trials for induction of renal allograft tolerance (organ transplantation without immunosuppression) in HLA matched and mismatched kidney transplant recipients.
  2. The first split liver transplantation in New England. More than 50 cases of living donor liver transplantation.
  3. Initiation of ABO blood type incompatible kidney transplant program at MGH, in which the 7 cases have been successfully performed as of 2009.
  4. Development of laparoscopic donor nephrectomy at MGH (>250 cases as of 2009)
  5. Development of vascular access surgical program (performing >300 cases/year as a program)


The induction of donor-specific tolerance is currently one of the most important goals of organ or cell transplantation.

Based on our rodent studies on mixed chimerism, we developed a clinically relevant non-myeloablative preparative regimen to induce mixed chimerism and renal allograft tolerance following donor bone marrow transplantation in MHC fully-mismatched cynomolgus monkeys. This approach has been successfully extended to HLA mismatched kidney transplant recipients. In 4/5 recipients who were treated with our mini-bone marrow transplant, immunosuppression was successfully discontinued at 9-14 months following the transplant in the other four recipients with longest survival exceeding 7 years. Since January 2009, an expanded, multi-center clinical trial for tolerance induction following HLA mismatched kidney transplantation has been underway.


View my most recent publications at PubMed

A total of 124 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 57 Reviews and 17 Textbook chapters have been published as of Dec 2009. Representative publications are following;

  1. Kawai T, Cosimi AB, Colvin RB, et al. Mixed allogeneic chimerism and renal allograft tolerance in cynomolgus monkeys. Transplantation 1995; 59 (2): 256.
  2. Kawai T, Sogawa H, Boskovic S, et al. CD154 blockade for induction of mixed chimerism and prolonged renal allograft survival in nonhuman primates. Am J Transplant 2004; 4 (9): 1391.
  3. Kawai T, Cosimi AB, Spitzer TR, et al. HLA-mismatched renal transplantation without maintenance immunosuppression. N Engl J Med 2008; 358 (4): 353.

The Johnsons: Mother donates kidney to toddler son

An ultrasound at 19 weeks showed that Andrew Johnson would be born with kidney functionality complications. Fortunately for Andrew, his mother was a compatible donor, and when he was strong enough, Andrew underwent kidney transplantation at MassGeneral Hospital for Children Transplant Center. “Everyone was so nervous that day,” Tara Johnson states. “I was elated.”

New procedure, new life

Eight years ago, Jennifer Searl used a handicapped permit to get around campus at the University of New Hampshire. Last October, Searl, 26, ran a half-marathon and felt so good afterward she immediately signed up for another. In between these two extremes lies not only a journey of a thousand steps, but one taken along a path Searl herself blazed - with help from the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center.

In General 12.17.10

MGH Hotline 12.17.10 In General Awards and Honors

Linked lives

Chain 124. That’s the name of a record-breaking kidney transplant chain.

Kidney transplant patients meet their matches

John Marzelli and Esperanza Yoblonsky were suffering from IgA nephropathy and both needed a new kidney; they found the answer in the Mass General Transplant Center’s internal exchange program.

Kawai first incumbent of Cosimi Chair

Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD, a transplant surgeon and surgical director of the Dialysis Access Program, was honored as the first incumbent of the A. Benedict Cosimi Endowed Chair during an April 13 ceremony in the Trustees Room.

Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Phone: 617-726-0289
Phone 2: 617-724-9996
Fax: 617-726-9322