Photo of Tatsuo  Kawai, MD, PhD

Tatsuo Kawai, MD, PhD

  • A.Benedict Cosimi Chair in Transplant Surgery
  • Surgical Director, Living Donor Transplantation and Dialysis Access Program
  • Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School


Accepting New Patients


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.


Transplant Surgery


Centers & Specialties

MassGeneral Hospital for Children

Transplant Center

Clinical Interests
  • Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy
  • Organ transplantation (kidney, liver and pancreas)
  • Vascular access surgery for renal failure
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
  • Japanese
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • AllWays Health (NHP) - ACD
  • AllWays Health (NHP) - PBO
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • BMC HealthNet Mass Health MCO/ACO
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Commonwealth Care Alliance
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • Maine Community Health Options (MCHO)
  • MassHealth
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • OSW - Connecticut
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
  • Well Sense Pediatrics

Note: This provider may accept more insurance plans than shown; please call the practice to find out if your plan is accepted.

Patient Age Group
Adult and Pediatric
Provider Gender


Tatsuo Kawai MD, PhD is Professor of Surgery Harvard Medical School and A. Benedict Cosimi Chair in Transplant Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also the Surgical Director of living donor transplantation and the dialysis access program. He specializes in kidney, pancreas and liver transplantation as well as hemodialysis access surgery. He received his M.D. from Nihon University School of Medicine and Ph.D. from Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo, Japan. He completed surgical residency at Tokyo Women’s Medical University and clinical fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital.  His clinical and research interests are primarily focused on development of methods to induce immunological tolerance in organ/cell transplantation. He was the first to report a consistent model for induction of renal allograft tolerance in nonhuman primates through a mixed chimerism approach. This and subsequent pre-clinical reports have extended this approach to the world’s first clinical trials for induction of renal allograft tolerance in HLA mismatched kidney transplantation. This is a seminal achievement of a clinical protocol leading to the first reproducibly successful induction of renal allograft tolerance in humans and was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 and 2013. He was awarded the Martin Research Prize at MGH in 2009 and the New Key Opinion Leader Award by the Transplantation Society in 2010 for this work.

Research & Publications

Research Summary

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

Select Publications:  From a  total of 124 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 57 Reviews and 17 Textbook chapters have been published as of Dec 2009. 

  • Kawai T, Cosimi AB, Colvin RB, et al. Mixed allogeneic chimerism and renal allograft tolerance in cynomolgus monkeys. Transplantation 1995; 59 (2): 256.
  • 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.
  • Kawai T, Cosimi AB, Spitzer TR, et al. HLA-mismatched renal transplantation without maintenance immunosuppression. N Engl J Med 2008; 358 (4): 353.

News & Events

  • Patient Story: Kidney Donation Saved Her Cousin's Life

    When Jeanette Bernard needed an urgent kidney transplant in January 2018, it was not a stranger from a donor list but her own cousin, Jill Palermo, who came to her aid.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Linked lives

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

  • In General 12.17.10

    MGH Hotline 12.17.10 In General Awards and Honors

  • 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.


  • 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.”


Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696
Phone 1: 617-726-0289
Phone 2: 617-724-9996
Fax: 617-726-9322

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