Research Summary

Dr. John Roberts is a surgeon with expertise that includes kidney, liver and pancreas transplants. He is also an expert in surgically managing liver diseases, such as portal hypertension (high blood pressure in the vein going from the digestive organs to the liver), as well as in liver surgery for cancer.

Roberts is one of the few surgeons in the U.S. who has extensive experience in performing the Rex shunt – a procedure that restores normal blood flow to the liver – in children and adults. He also has spearheaded an effort to expand the use of living donors for liver transplantation, one of his many projects to make more organs available.

Roberts earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego and completed a surgical residency at the University of Washington. He also served as a postdoctoral fellow in transplantation in the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Roberts joined UCSF Medical Center in 1988. In addition to his leadership of the transplant service, he teaches medical students and supervises the training of surgical residents.

Roberts has won numerous awards and has received grants from the National Institutes of Health for his research. He has produced nearly 170 papers on topics that include organ transplant rejection, immunogenicity (ability of a substance to provoke an immune response) and immunosuppression (intentionally subduing immune response to lower the chance of organ rejection).

Roberts speaks nationally on transplant issues. He is a fellow of the American Surgical Association and a member of many professional organizations.

Research Funding

  • January 1, 1993 - December 31, 1997 - TRANSPLANTATION AND HEPATOTOXINS FOR LIVER CANCER , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, Sponsor Award ID: R29CA058696


Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, BS, 1976, Biology
University of California, San Diego, CA, MD, 1980, Medicine
University of Washington, Seattle, Surgery Resident, 1980-83
Cornell University, New York, Research Fellow, 1983-85
University of Washington, Seattle, Surgery Resident, 1985-86
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Transplant Fellow, 1986-87

Honors & Awards

  • 1991
    Chief Resident Teaching Award, Department of Surgery, UCSF
  • 1992
    Chief Resident Teaching Award, Department of Surgery, UCSF

Selected Publications

  1. Edwards AL, Tavakol MM, Mello A, Kerney J, Roberts JP. Pre-transplantation COVID-19 vaccination requirements: a matched case-control study of factors associated with waitlist inactivation. Am J Transplant. 2023 Sep 23.  View on PubMed
  2. Meier RPH, Nunez M, Syed SM, Feng S, Tavakol M, Freise CE, Roberts JP, Ascher NL, Hirose R, Roll GR. DCD liver transplant in patients with a MELD over 35. Front Immunol. 2023; 14:1246867.  View on PubMed
  3. Dixon W, Sheetz K, Adelmann D, Bokoch M, Reddy M, Kothari R, Roberts JP, Syed S, Feng S, Roll G. Real-world implementation of normothermic machine perfusion: A detailed analysis of intraoperative and early postoperative impact. Clin Transplant. 2023 Jun 17; e15049.  View on PubMed
  4. Ascher NL, Roberts JP. Comments on Experience With Establishing a Robotic Donor Hepatectomy Program for Paediatric Liver Transplantation. Transplantation. 2023 Jun 09.  View on PubMed
  5. Nunez M, Praglin CR, Torres AM, Agudelo EZ, Braun HJ, Huang CY, Syed S, Roberts JP, Roll GR. Steroid Avoidance After Adult Living Donor Liver Transplant: A Cohort Analysis. Transplant Direct. 2023 Jun; 9(6):e1488.  View on PubMed
  6. Cheah YL, Heimbach J, Kwon CHD, Pomposelli J, Rudow DL, Broering D, Spiro M, Raptis DA, Roberts JP, Working Group. Influence of surgical technique in donor hepatectomy on immediate and short-term living donor outcomes - A systematic review of the literature, meta-analysis, and expert panel recommendations. Clin Transplant. 2022 Oct; 36(10):e14703.  View on PubMed
  7. Perito ER, Roberts JP. Editorial: Optimizing Outcomes for Children Requires Ensuring Access to Living: Donor and Split Liver Transplants. Transplantation. 2022 09 01; 106(9):1736-1737.  View on PubMed
  8. McCormick F, Held PJ, Chertow GM, Peters TG, Roberts JP. Projecting the Economic Impact of Compensating Living Kidney Donors in the United States: Cost-Benefit Analysis Demonstrates Substantial Patient and Societal Gains. Value Health. 2022 Dec; 25(12):2028-2033.  View on PubMed
  9. Chen AK, Lunow-Luke T, Yamaguchi S, Praglin C, Agudelo E, Mehta N, Dirks R, Braun HJ, Gardner JM, Roberts JP, Syed SM, Roll GR. Nodular Regenerative Hyperplasia After Liver Transplant; It's All in the Presentation. Front Surg. 2022; 9:876818.  View on PubMed
  10. Simões EAF, Center KJ, Tita ATN, Swanson KA, Radley D, Houghton J, McGrory SB, Gomme E, Anderson M, Roberts JP, Scott DA, Jansen KU, Gruber WC, Dormitzer PR, Gurtman AC. Prefusion F Protein-Based Respiratory Syncytial Virus Immunization in Pregnancy. N Engl J Med. 2022 04 28; 386(17):1615-1626.  View on PubMed
  11. Emamaullee J, Heimbach JK, Olthoff KM, Pomfret EA, Roberts JP, Selzner N, NALLDIG Consortium*. Assessment of long-term outcomes post living liver donation highlights the importance of scientific integrity when presenting transplant registry data. Am J Transplant. 2022 06; 22(6):1519-1522.  View on PubMed
  12. Kelly YM, Zarinsefat A, Tavakol M, Shui AM, Huang CY, Roberts JP. Consent to organ offers from public health service "Increased Risk" donors decreases time to transplant and waitlist mortality. BMC Med Ethics. 2022 03 05; 23(1):20.  View on PubMed
  13. Cheng XS, Han J, Braggs-Gresham JL, Held PJ, Busque S, Roberts JP, Tan JC, Scandling JD, Chertow GM, Dor A. Trends in Cost Attributable to Kidney Transplantation Evaluation and Waiting List Management in the United States, 2012-2017. JAMA Netw Open. 2022 03 01; 5(3):e221847.  View on PubMed
  14. Fox AN, Liapakis A, Batra R, Bittermann T, Emamaullee J, Emre S, Genyk Y, Han H, Jackson W, Pomfret E, Raza M, Rodriguez-Davalos M, Rubman Gold S, Samstein B, Shenoy A, Taner T, Roberts JP, North American Living Liver Donor Innovations Group (NALLDIG). The use of nondirected donor organs in living donor liver transplantation: Perspectives and guidance. Hepatology. 2022 06; 75(6):1579-1589.  View on PubMed
  15. Meier RPH, Kelly Y, Yamaguchi S, Braun HJ, Lunow-Luke T, Adelmann D, Niemann C, Maluf DG, Dietch ZC, Stock PG, Kang SM, Feng S, Posselt AM, Gardner JM, Syed SM, Hirose R, Freise CE, Ascher NL, Roberts JP, Roll GR. Advantages and Limitations of Clinical Scores for Donation After Circulatory Death Liver Transplantation. Front Surg. 2021; 8:808733.  View on PubMed
  16. Held PJ, Bragg-Gresham JL, Peters TG, McCormick F, Chertow G, Vaughan WP, Roberts JP. Cost Structures of US Organ Procurement Organizations. Transplantation. 2021 12 01; 105(12):2612-2619.  View on PubMed
  17. Cheng K, Rosenthal P, Roberts JP, Perito ER. Liver transplant in children and adults with cystic fibrosis: Impact of growth failure and nutritional status. Am J Transplant. 2022 01; 22(1):177-186.  View on PubMed
  18. Roll GR, Roberts JP. With the Proven Tenacity of Waitlist Mortality, Shouldn't We Resist the Urge to Make Mountains Out of Survival Statistic Molehills? Liver Transpl. 2021 07; 27(7):955-956.  View on PubMed
  19. Braun HJ, Grab JD, Dodge JL, Syed SM, Roll GR, Schwab MP, Liu IH, Glencer AC, Freise CE, Roberts JP, Ascher NL. Retransplantation After Living Donor Liver Transplantation: Data from the Adult to Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Study. Transplantation. 2021 06 01; 105(6):1297-1302.  View on PubMed
  20. Peters TG, Bragg-Gresham JL, Klopstock AC, Roberts JP, Chertow G, McCormick F, Held PJ. Estimated impact of novel coronavirus-19 and transplant center inactivity on end-stage renal disease-related patient mortality in the United States. Clin Transplant. 2021 08; 35(8):e14292.  View on PubMed

Go to UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI