Department of Surgery »  Faculty »  Sang-Mo Kang, M.D.

Sang-Mo Kang, M.D.

Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Transplant Surgery
Surgical Director, Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation

Contact Information

Academic Office
(415) 476-0789
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  • Cornell University, B.A., Chemistry, with Distinction, 1982-86
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, M.D., Magna Cum Laude 1986-92
  • University of California, San Francisco, Intern and Resident, General Surgery Program, 1992-95
  • University of California, San Francisco, Resident, General Surgery Program, 1997-99
  • University of California, San Francisco, Fellow, Transplant Surgery, 1999-01
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral Fellow , Immunology and Transplantation, 1995-97
  • American Board of Surgery, 2000
  • UCSF Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The Liver Center at UCSF
  • Diabetes Center at UCSF
  • Dendritic Cell Immune Therapy
  • Novel Strategies for the Induction of Transplant-specific Tolerance
  • T-cell Mediated Transplant Rejection as well as Tolerance
  • Transplant Immunology

Dr.Sang-Mo Kang is an Associate Professor of Surgery and transplant surgeon. He joined the UCSF School of Medicine faculty in 2001 and in 2005 was named Surgical Director of Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplantation at UCSF Medical Center.  Dr. Kang takes care of both adult and pediatric patients and performs kidney, liver, pancreas and intestinal transplants as well as surgery for numerous hepatobiliary and gastrointestinal diseases.  

Dr. Kang received his B.S. in chemistry from Cornell University and his M.D. from Harvard University Medical School.  He completed a general surgery residency, and immunology and clinical transplantation fellowships at University of California, San Francisco.  Dr Kang was recognized with two Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowships, one during medical school and one during his residency. 

Dr. Kang's current research  focus is in the development of novel strategies for the induction of transplant-specific tolerance. Dr. Kang has published numerous articles in medical and scientific journals and been invited to present at national and international seminars and conferences.  

Dr. Kang is a member of numerous medical societies including American Society of Transplant Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Association of Immunologists, National Kidney Foundation, Association for Academic Surgery, and Society of University Surgeons.


The Kang Lab is developing novel strategies for the induction of transplant-specific tolerance. The research focuses on achieving what is known as "allo-specific transplant tolerance",  a specialized method of preventing the rejection of a transplanted organ without suppressing the entire immune system. 

Currently, transplant recipients must receive immunosuppressive drugs to suppress their own white blood cells (T cells) that attack foreign cells and cause organ rejections.  Unfortunately, these non-specific drugs affect the entire immune system and thus carry significant risks for infection and certain malignancies. The goal is to eliminate the need for global immunosuppression in transplant recipients.  Ideal immunotherapy would be one that targets only the donor-specific immune cells that cause rejection, without affecting any of the other immune cells, thus leaving the immune system intact and able to function at full capacity.

To this end, the lab is conducting several experiments to gain insight into the mechanisms of rejection.  These projects include the use of specialized immune cells in targeting specific lymphoid organs, as well as investigations into the contributions of CD+4 T cells and CD8 T cells to the process of transplant rejection.  The laboratory's work is helping to define important parameters for potential treatments in humans.

  1. Brennan TV, Hoang V, Garrod KR, Liu FC, Hayden T, Kim J, Kang SM. A new T-cell receptor transgenic model of the CD4+ direct pathway: level of priming determines acute versus chronic rejection. Transplantation. 2008 Jan 27; 85(2):247-55. 
  2. Kim J, Chang CK, Hayden T, Liu FC, Benjamin J, Hamerman JA, Lanier LL, Kang SM. The activating immunoreceptor NKG2D and its ligands are involved in allograft transplant rejection. J Immunol. 2007 Nov 15; 179(10):6416-20. 
  3. Kang SM. Investigating the immunological mechanisms underlying organ transplant rejection. J Vis Exp. 2007; (7):256. 
  4. Liu F, Kang SM. Small bowel transplantation in mice. J Vis Exp. 2007; (7):258. 
  5. Liu F, Kang SM. Heterotopic heart transplantation in mice. J Vis Exp. 2007; (6):238. 
  6. Garrod KR, Chang CK, Liu FC, Brennan TV, Foster RD, Kang SM. Targeted lymphoid homing of dendritic cells is required for prolongation of allograft survival. J Immunol. 2006 Jul 15; 177(2):863-8. 
  7. Melcher ML, Carter JT, Posselt A, Duh QY, Stoller M, Freise CE, Kang SM. More than 500 consecutive laparoscopic donor nephrectomies without conversion or repeated surgery. Arch Surg. 2005 Sep; 140(9):835-9; discussion 839-40. 
  8. Carter JT, Freise CE, McTaggart RA, Mahanty HD, Kang SM, Chan SH, Feng S, Roberts JP, Posselt AM. Laparoscopic procurement of kidneys with multiple renal arteries is associated with increased ureteral complications in the recipient. Am J Transplant. 2005 Jun; 5(6):1312-8. 
  9. Posselt AM, Mahanty H, Kang SM, Stoller ML, Meng MV, Roberts JP, Freise CE. Laparoscopic right donor nephrectomy: a large single-center experience. Transplantation. 2004 Dec 15; 78(11):1665-9. 
  10. Visser BC, Suh I, Way LW, Kang SM. Congenital choledochal cysts in adults. Arch Surg. 2004 Aug; 139(8):855-60; discussion 860-2. 
  11.  Abrahams HM, Freise CE, Kang SM, Stoller ML, Meng MV. Technique, indications and outcomes of pure laparoscopic right donor nephrectomy. J Urol. 2004 May; 171(5):1793-6. 
  12. Freise CE, Kang SM, Feng S, Hirose R, Stock P. Excellent short-term results with steroid-free maintenance immunosuppression in low-risk simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation. Arch Surg. 2003 Oct; 138(10):1121-5; discussion 1125-6. 
  13. Meng MV, Freise CE, Kang SM, Duh QY, Stoller ML. Techniques to optimize vascular control during laparoscopic donor nephrectomy. Urology. 2003 Jan; 61(1):93-7; discussion 97-8.