New Solid Organ Transplant Chief Joins UR Medicine’s Department of Surgery

Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro is a pioneer of innovative ALPPS procedure

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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The University of Rochester Medical Center has appointed Roberto Hernandez-Alejandro as chief of UR Medicine’s Division of Solid Organ Transplantation in the Department of Surgery.

Hernandez-Alejandro is an expert in transplantation, with a special interest in caring for patients who have been diagnosed with advanced liver cancer. He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on an innovative procedure called ALPPS, a two-step surgical technique that separates cancerous liver tissue from healthy tissue and promotes the rapid growth of the latter. The surgery is extending lives and improving quality of life, expanding the number of patients undergoing major liver resections that were not previously considered because of risk. He was the first in North America to perform the procedure and is still one of only a handful of surgeons in the world who possesses the expertise.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Dr. Hernandez-Alejandro and his family to our community,” said Department of Surgery Chair David C. Linehan, M.D., the Seymour I. Schwartz Professor in Surgeryat the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “His unique expertise in transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery will bring added value to an already strong program. He is a gifted and innovative surgeon known nationally and internationally for his excellent results, his academic productivity and his leadership skills.”

Most recently an associate professor at Western University in Ontario, Canada, outside of Toronto, Hernandez-Alejandro served as director of Liver Transplantation and Hepatobiliary Surgery at London Health Sciences Centre – University Hospital.

Hernandez-Alejandro grew up in Mexico City, in a family he says stressed hard work and dedication and supported his interest in medicine at a young age. He was self-driven to understand the human body and, ultimately, to work as a surgeon to help patients survive injury and disease, first in general surgery and then following a strong calling as a transplant surgeon.

Hernandez-Alejandro graduated with honors from Universidad La Salle in Mexico City, followed by general surgery training at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Centro Medico Siglo XXI. He completed a fellowship in transplantation for kidney and pancreas at the University of Calgary, with a second fellowship in liver transplantation and hepato-pancreato-biliary (HPB) surgery at Western University in London, Ontario. He received further training in living-donor liver transplantation and HPB at the University of Toronto and Kyoto University in Japan.

“I was drawn to URMC and UR Medicine because of the culture and passion for excellent patient care, research and education,” Hernandez-Alejandro said. “I am excited to build upon such a well-known, nationally respected transplant program, to further strengthen what transplant leadership before me has worked so hard to create – a comprehensive team that is laser-focused on providing the best medical opportunities for patients from throughout Upstate New York.”

Hernandez-Alejandro’s clinical interests include liver regeneration, colorectal liver metastases, donation after cardiac death and living-donor liver transplantation. His research endeavors are primarily focused on liver regeneration and ischemia reperfusion injury.

In the last five years he has published more than 30 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the International Journal of Surgery, Annals of Surgery, Surgery, and World Journal of Surgery, as well as book chapters on the subjects of liver transplant techniques and liver resections. Hernandez-Alejandro has served over the past five years as an associate and section editor for TransplantNow, the Canadian Society of Transplantation’s online journal, and has been a journal reviewer for the Annals of Surgery, Surgery, British Journal of Surgery,and HPB, the journal of the International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.

He has been honored with numerous research and teaching awards, including twice receiving the Rising Star Award from the International Liver Transplantation Society, and was named a Researcher of the Month by Canadians for Health Research.

Hernandez-Alejandro succeeds transplant surgeon Mark S. Orloff, M.D., who was appointed as vice chair for Clinical Operations and Regional Development, a position that will focus on UR Medicine’s Western New York partners and their surgical programs. Orloff continues as a member of the Solid Organ Transplant surgical team.

Hernandez-Alejandro resides in Pittsford with his wife and three children.

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