Faculty profile

Ken Newell, MD

Kenneth A. Newell, MD, PhD

Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Program Director, Abdominal Transplant Surgery Fellowship, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine

Telephone: 404.727.2489

Email: kanewel@emory.edu

Certification: American Board of Surgery

Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member: 2001


Dr. Newell came to Emory from the University of Chicago, where he had been serving as director of kidney and pancreas transplantation. Prior to joining the faculty of UChicago, he earned a PhD in immunology and completed an abdominal transplantation fellowship at the institution. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed his general surgery residency at Loyola Medical Center in Illinois.

At Emory, Dr. Newell established the unrelated paired donor kidney exchange program in 2007 and served as director of the living donor kidney transplant program until stepping down in 2014 so he could spend more time tending to his national responsibilities.

Currently, Dr. Newell is leading the Emory component of a multicenter trial in the Immune Tolerance Network of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The study is evaluating kidney transplant recipients who were able to stop taking immunosuppressive drugs without serious side effects. In the June 2010 edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Dr. Newell and his colleagues described the identification of a pattern of genes in the occasional kidney transplant recipient that switches on in their white blood cells. Since this pattern eventually may be used to help identify other transplant recipients who could reduce or completely taper their immunosuppressive therapy, Dr. Newell is conducting additional studies and compiling a patient registry. He is also involved in optimizing belatacept as an immunosuppressant in renal transplantation.


View Dr. Newell's publications in PubMed.


  • Emory University Hospital

  • Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston


  • MD received, Class of 1984, University of Michigan

  • General Surgery Residency, Loyola University, Chicago, 1985-89

  • Clinical Fellowship in Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Chicago, 1992-94

  • PhD, University of Chicago, conferred 1996

Honors and Awards

  • Atlanta's Top Doctors, Atlanta Magazine, 2009-2018

  • Featured Basic Scientist, American Society of Transplantation Newsletter, January/February 2004

  • Guide to America's Top Surgeons, 2002 Edition, 2004 Edition

  • Guide to America's Top Physicians, 2003 Edition

  • Castle Connolly's America's Top Doctors, 2001-2011

  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons Mid-Level Faculty Research Award, 2001

  • Chicago Magazine, Top Physicians, 2000

  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons/Roche Laboratories Presidential Travel Award, 1999

  • Outstanding Faculty Presentation, Charles Huggins Research Conference, 1997

  • John L. Keeley Surgical Fellowship, 1988

Editorial Boards

  • Associate Editor, American Journal of Transplantation

Current Organizational Memberships

  • American College of Surgeons, Fellow

  • American Society of Transplantation: Past President; Governance Committee; Steering Committee, The Transplant Research Institute; Chair, AST Transplant Value Initiative Working Group

  • Joint Council of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

  • At Large Member, OPTN/UNOS Vascularized Composite Allograft Transplant (VCA) Committee

  • International Pancreas and Islet Transplant Association

  • Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (NIH): Steering Committee

  • Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation in Children (NIH): Mechanistic Assays Subcommittee

  • International Liver Transplantation Society

  • University of Chicago Surgical Society

  • Association for Academic Surgery

  • American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association

  • Society for Mucosal Immunology

  • American Society of Transplant Surgeons

  • The Transplantation Society

  • American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

  • Society of University Surgeons

  • American Association of Immunologists

  • Georgia Surgical Society

Clinical Specialties

  • Islet transplantation

  • Pancreas transplantation

  • Kidney transplantation

  • Live donor nephrectomy

Research Interests

  • To define the mechanisms responsible for the rejection of transplanted organs. Murine transplant models are utilized to characterize the response of T cells to alloantigens and determine how antigen presentation and T cell trafficking are regulated. Therapeutic interventions are proposed and tested based on an understanding of these mechanisms.

  • The development and validation of immunologic assays that can be used to guide the management of immunosuppression in patients following transplantation. The validation of a battery of monitoring assays would allow the safe individualization of immunosuppression after transplantation and facilitate studies aimed at attaining transplantation tolerance.