Research Summary

Dr. Amar Nijagal is a pediatric surgeon who specializes in caring for children with disorders of the liver and bile ducts.

Nijagal runs a research lab that investigates how the immune system affects the development of fetal organs. His research focuses on liver and bile duct development and how changes in the process contribute to congenital diseases.

Nijagal completed his medical degree and a residency in general surgery at UCSF, where he served as chief resident. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a fellowship in general and thoracic pediatric surgery at Boston Children's Hospital.

Nijagal is a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Pediatric Surgical Association, UCSF Naffziger Surgical Society and Association for Academic Surgery.

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2023 - Defining the role of tumor associated myeloid cells in pediatric hepatoblastoma , PI . Sponsor: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Sponsor Award ID: N/A
  • July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021 - The cooperative relationship between neutrophils and monocytes during neonatal liver inflammation: insight into the pathogenesis of biliary atresia , PI . Sponsor: Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS Faculty Research Fellowship, American College of Surgeons, Sponsor Award ID: N/A
  • February 1, 2020 - January 31, 2021 - Single cell characterization and organoid development of pediatric choledochal cysts and hepatoblastoma to understand the link between liver development and hepatobiliary malignancy , PI . Sponsor: American Cancer Society, Sponsor Award ID: IRG-17-180-19
  • June 1, 2019 - May 31, 2020 - The Role of Monocytes During the Resolution of Perinatal Liver Inflammation , PI . Sponsor: UCSF Liver Center, Sponsor Award ID: NIH P30 DK026743


  • Duke University, B.A., 2000, Philosophy
  • University of California, San Francisco, M.D., 2006
  • University of California, Los Angeles, HHMI Medical Student Research Fellowship, 2004, Lymphocyte GPCR signaling
  • University of California, San Francisco, Internship, 2007, General Surgery
  • University of California, San Francisco, Residency, 2009, General Surgery
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2012, Maternal-Fetal Immunology
  • University of California, San Francisco, Residency, 2014, General Surgery
  • Boston Children's Hospital, Fellowship, 2016, Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgery

Honors & Awards

  • 2011
    Judah Folkman Memorial Award- Best Podium Presentation, American Pediatric Surgical Association
  • 2012
    Judah Folkman Memorial Award- Best Podium Presentation, American Pediatric Surgical Association
  • 2013
    Medical Student Teaching Award, University of CA, San Francisco, Department of Surgery
  • 2014
    Medical Student Teaching Award, University of CA, San Francisco, Department of Surgery
  • 2014
    Esther Nusz Achievement Award, University of CA, San Francisco, Department of Surgery
  • 2018
    APSA Foundation Jay Grosfeld, MD Scholar Research Award, American Pediatric Surgical Association
  • 2019
    Franklin H. Martin, MD, FACS Faculty Research Fellowship, American College of Surgeons
  • 2019
    2019 UCSF Liver Center Pilot Award Recipient, UCSF Liver Center
  • 2020
    American Cancer Society Individual Research Grant, American Cancer Society
  • 2020
    Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American College of Surgeons

Selected Publications

  1. Song H, Bucher S, Rosenberg K, Tsui M, Burhan D, Hoffman D, Cho SJ, Rangaswami A, Breese M, Leung S, Ventura MVP, Sweet-Cordero EA, Huang FW, Nijagal A, Wang B. Single-cell analysis of hepatoblastoma identifies tumor signatures that predict chemotherapy susceptibility using patient-specific tumor spheroids. Nat Commun. 2022 08 25; 13(1):4878.  View on PubMed
  2. Kelley-Quon LI, Shue E, Burke RV, Smith C, Kling K, Mahdi E, Ourshalimian S, Fenlon M, Dellinger M, Shew SB, Lee J, Padilla B, Inge T, Roach J, Marwan AI, Russell KW, Ignacio R, Fialkowski E, Nijagal A, Im C, Azarow KS, Ostlie DJ, Wang K. The need for early Kasai portoenterostomy: a Western Pediatric Surgery Research Consortium study. Pediatr Surg Int. 2022 Feb; 38(2):193-199.  View on PubMed
  3. Lopez-Ichikawa M, Vu NK, Nijagal A, Rubinsky B, Chang TT. Neutrophils are important for the development of pro-reparative macrophages after irreversible electroporation of the liver in mice. Sci Rep. 2021 07 22; 11(1):14986.  View on PubMed
  4. Schwab ME, Braun HJ, Feldstein VA, Nijagal A. The natural history of fetal gallstones: a case series and updated literature review. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2022 Dec; 35(24):4755-4762.  View on PubMed
  5. Alkhani A, Levy CS, Tsui M, Rosenberg KA, Polovina K, Mattis AN, Mack M, Van Dyken S, Wang BM, Maher JJ, Nijagal A. Ly6cLo non-classical monocytes promote resolution of rhesus rotavirus-mediated perinatal hepatic inflammation. Sci Rep. 2020 04 28; 10(1):7165.  View on PubMed
  6. Ramirez JL, Kuhrau CR, Wu B, Zarkowsky DS, Conte MS, Oskowitz AZ, Nijagal A, Vartanian SM. Natural history of acute pediatric iliofemoral artery thrombosis treated with anticoagulation. J Vasc Surg. 2020 12; 72(6):2027-2034.  View on PubMed
  7. Schwab ME, Song H, Mattis A, Phelps A, Vu LT, Huang FW, Nijagal A. De novo somatic mutations and KRAS amplification are associated with cholangiocarcinoma in a patient with a history of choledochal cyst. J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Dec; 55(12):2657-2661.  View on PubMed
  8. Subbaraj L, Beleniski F, Courtier J, Vartanian S, Nijagal A. Congenital superior mesenteric artery aneurysm in a 6-week-old infant presenting with upper gastrointestinal bleeding. J Vasc Surg. 2020 04; 71(4):1391-1394.  View on PubMed
  9. Nijagal A, Perito ER. Treating Biliary Atresia: The Challenge Continues. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 04; 68(4):464-465.  View on PubMed
  10. Nijagal A, Perito ER. Editorial: Treating Biliary Atresia: The Challenge Continues. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2019 Feb 05.  View on PubMed
  11. Wolf LL, Nijagal A, Flores A, Buchmiller TL. Late-onset hypertrophic pyloric stenosis with gastric outlet obstruction: case report and review of the literature. Pediatr Surg Int. 2016 Oct; 32(10):1013-6.  View on PubMed
  12. Wegorzewska M, Nijagal A, Wong CM, Le T, Lescano N, Tang Q, MacKenzie TC. Fetal intervention increases maternal T cell awareness of the foreign conceptus and can lead to immune-mediated fetal demise. J Immunol. 2014 Feb 15; 192(4):1938-45.  View on PubMed
  13. Nijagal A, Derderian C, Le T, Jarvis E, Nguyen L, Tang Q, Mackenzie TC. Direct and indirect antigen presentation lead to deletion of donor-specific T cells after in utero hematopoietic cell transplantation in mice. Blood. 2013 May 30; 121(22):4595-602.  View on PubMed
  14. Nijagal A, MacKenzie TC. Clinical implications of maternal-fetal cellular trafficking. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2013 Feb; 22(1):62-5.  View on PubMed
  15. Nijagal A, Jelin E, Feldstein VA, Courtier J, Urisman A, Jones KD, Lee H, Hirose S, MacKenzie TC. The diagnosis and management of intradiaphragmatic extralobar pulmonary sequestrations: a report of 4 cases. J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Aug; 47(8):1501-5.  View on PubMed
  16. Saadai P, Lee TH, Bautista G, Gonzales KD, Nijagal A, Busch MP, Kim CJ, Romero R, Lee H, Hirose S, Rand L, Miniati D, Farmer DL, MacKenzie TC. Alterations in maternal-fetal cellular trafficking after fetal surgery. J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jun; 47(6):1089-94.  View on PubMed
  17. Saadai P, Jelin EB, Nijagal A, Schecter SC, Hirose S, MacKenzie TC, Rand L, Goldstein R, Farrell J, Harrison M, Lee H. Long-term outcomes after fetal therapy for congenital high airway obstructive syndrome. J Pediatr Surg. 2012 Jun; 47(6):1095-100.  View on PubMed
  18. Nijagal A, Flake AW, MacKenzie TC. In utero hematopoietic cell transplantation for the treatment of congenital anomalies. Clin Perinatol. 2012 Jun; 39(2):301-10.  View on PubMed
  19. Nijagal A, Fleck S, MacKenzie TC. Maternal microchimerism in patients with biliary atresia: Implications for allograft tolerance. Chimerism. 2012 Apr-Jun; 3(2):37-9.  View on PubMed
  20. Nijagal A, Fleck S, Hills NK, Feng S, Tang Q, Kang SM, Rosenthal P, MacKenzie TC. Decreased risk of graft failure with maternal liver transplantation in patients with biliary atresia. Am J Transplant. 2012 Feb; 12(2):409-19.  View on PubMed

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