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

Sang-Mo Kang, M.D.

Professor of Surgery
Division of Transplant Surgery
Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation
UCSF-Benioff Children’s Hospital

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
  • Bile Duct Injuries
  • Bile Duct Strictures
  • Choledochal Cyst Disease
  • End-Stage Kidney Disease
  • Fulminant Hepatic Failure
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma (Liver Cancer)
  • Intestinal Failure
  • Intestinal Transplantation
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy
  • Liver Cysts
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Pancreas Transplantation
  • Pediatric Kidney Transplantation
  • Pediatric Liver Transplantation
  • Portal Hypertension
  • Short Bowel Syndrome
  • Dendritic Cell Immune Therapy
  • Novel Strategies for the Induction of Transplant-specific Tolerance
  • T-cell Mediated Transplant Rejection as well as Tolerance
  • Transplant Immunology

Sang-Mo Kang, M.D. 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. He  is Surgical Director of Liver Transplantation at UCSF-Benioff Children's Hospital.

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'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.

Most recent publications from a total of 24
  1. Roll GR, Posselt AM, Freise J, Baird J, Syed S, Kang SM, Hirose R, Szot GL, Zarinsefat A, Feng S, Worner G, Sarwal M, Stock PG. Long term follow up of Beta Cell Replacement Therapy in Ten HIV Infected Patients with Renal Failure Secondary to Type I Diabetes Mellitus. Am J Transplant. 2020 Jan 28. View in PubMed
  2. Gupta N, Henry RG, Kang SM, Strober J, Lim DA, Ryan T, Perry R, Farrell J, Ulman M, Rajalingam R, Gage A, Huhn SL, Barkovich AJ, Rowitch DH. Long-Term Safety, Immunologic Response, and Imaging Outcomes following Neural Stem Cell Transplantation for Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease. Stem Cell Reports. 2019 08 13; 13(2):254-261. View in PubMed
  3. Yamanaga S, Rosario A, Fernandez D, Kobayashi T, Tavakol M, Stock PG, Kang SM. Inferior long-term graft survival after end-to-side reconstruction for two renal arteries in living donor renal transplantation. PLoS One. 2018; 13(7):e0199629. View in PubMed
  4. Yamanaga S, Posselt AM, Freise CE, Kobayashi T, Tavakol M, Kang SM. A Single Perioperative Injection of Dexamethasone Decreases Nausea, Vomiting, and Pain after Laparoscopic Donor Nephrectomy. J Transplant. 2017; 2017:3518103. View in PubMed
  5. Tang Q, Kang SM. Interpretation of transplant biopsies and immune responses following Treg cell therapy. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2014 Dec; 19(6):616-20. View in PubMed
  6. Gupta N, Henry RG, Strober J, Kang SM, Lim DA, Bucci M, Caverzasi E, Gaetano L, Mandelli ML, Ryan T, Perry R, Farrell J, Jeremy RJ, Ulman M, Huhn SL, Barkovich AJ, Rowitch DH. Neural stem cell engraftment and myelination in the human brain. Sci Transl Med. 2012 Oct 10; 4(155):155ra137. View in PubMed
  7. Tang Q, Leung J, Melli K, Lay K, Chuu EL, Liu W, Bluestone JA, Kang SM, Peddi VR, Vincenti F. Altered balance between effector T cells and FOXP3+ HELIOS+ regulatory T cells after thymoglobulin induction in kidney transplant recipients. Transpl Int. 2012 Dec; 25(12):1257-67. View in PubMed
  8. Tang Q, Bluestone JA, Kang SM. CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cell therapy in transplantation. J Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Feb; 4(1):11-21. View in PubMed
  9. Lopez-Vergès S, Milush JM, Schwartz BS, Pando MJ, Jarjoura J, York VA, Houchins JP, Miller S, Kang SM, Norris PJ, Nixon DF, Lanier LL. Expansion of a unique CD57?NKG2Chi natural killer cell subset during acute human cytomegalovirus infection. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 06; 108(36):14725-32. View in PubMed
  10. Ahearn AJ, Posselt AM, Kang SM, Roberts JP, Freise CE. Experience with laparoscopic donor nephrectomy among more than 1000 cases: low complication rates, despite more challenging cases. Arch Surg. 2011 Jul; 146(7):859-64. View in PubMed
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