About AST

Member Spotlight

Name: Paulo N. Martins MD, PhD, FAST, FACS
Speciality: Abdominal (liver, pancreas, kidneys) Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgery
Graduated from: University of Bahia, Brazil – Medical school and surgery residency, University of Berlin, Germany - PhD and transplant fellowship, BWH and MGH, Harvard University - transplant immunology postdoc, New York Medical College - transplant and hepatobiliary surgery fellowship transplant, Massachusetts General Hospital - transplant surgery fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital - instructor in surgery
Current Position: Assistant Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts
Current Projects: Basic science:  My focus has been on organ preservation/ischemia reperfusion injury/graft treatment since I started my PhD in transplant immunology 16 years ago.  I am also interested in the effect of aging on the graft immune response. Currently, my project in the lab is about “Liver Machine Perfusion Preservation.” We are trying to find innovative ways to mitigate liver damage by means of gene silencing with small interfering RNAs, research that allowed me to obtain the 2018 Rising Star Award of the International Liver Transplant Society (ILTS). Translational research:  Correlation of bile biomarkers with liver transplant outcomes. Clinical research:  Liver transplant outcome, transplantation of hepatitis C positive livers into hepatitis negative recipients. Hopefully, in the near future, we can start a clinical trial with liver machine perfusion preservation.
What made you decide to work in transplantation? I was still a medical student when I decided for transplantation. Several things influenced me: 1) The resilience of the patients, families, and the transplant team was inspirational. 2) The intelligence, talent, compassion, and hard work of my mentors.  3) Transplantation demands excellence and constant training and innovation. I was fascinated with the complexity of the care and technical challenges of the operations, and this motivated me to learn more and always try to be better. 4) Transplantation offers the opportunity to be tightly connected with basic and translational science. 5) Teamwork. 
What do you find to be the most valuable aspect of your work? To have the trust and great privilege to make a major positive impact in someone’s life.  
Fun Fact: I came to USA through an AST basic science research award to work with Stefan Tullius and Mo Sayegh at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2006. The initial plan was to stay only for one year. Now, 11 years have passed, and I became an American citizen. Other interesting fact, I was doing a liver transplant during my fellowship at MGH when my daughter was born 7 years ago. In my free time I enjoy being outdoors with my family.