Remembering John Najarian, MD

October 13, 2020 | By UCSF School of Medicine

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of John Najarian, MD– an early leader in the development of transplant surgery and immunology. He was 92 years old.

Dr. Najarian joined UCSF in 1948 as a medical student. After receiving his medical degree, he completed his internship and residency at UCSF, followed by fellowships in transplant-related immunology and surgery at The University of Pittsburgh and the Scripps Clinic. He returned to San Francisco in 1963 to found the transplant program at UCSF Medical Center. In 1967, he moved to the University of Minnesota Hospitals, where he stayed for the rest of his career.

Along with his colleagues, Dr. Najarian made many pivotal contributions in numerous areas of the developing field of transplant surgery, including living donor transplantation, pancreas and islet transplantation, pediatric transplantation and transplant immunology. He and his team pioneered the use of anti-lymphocyte globulin, one of the first effective immunosuppressant compounds.

He was especially influential in the training of transplant surgeons. Dr. Najarian was a founding member and eventual president of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) and was a longtime chair of its Fellowship Training Committee, which established and upgraded requirements for many of today’s practicing transplant surgeons. 

He will be dearly missed by his many friends and colleagues at UCSF and in the communities he served. On behalf of the School of Medicine, we would like to extend our condolences to his family, friends, and close colleagues.