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Faculty Profile

Tom Pearson, MD, DPhil

Thomas C. Pearson, MD, DPhil

– Livingston Professor of Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
– Executive Director, Emory Transplant Center
– Director, Kidney Transplant Program, Emory University
– Co-Director, Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program, Emory University
– Affiliate Scientist, Yerkes Primate Research Center





American Board of Surgery

Year Joined Emory as a Faculty Member



With his long-time collaborator and current Emory School of Medicine Dean Dr. Chris Larsen, Dr. Pearson initiated the Emory Transplantation Immunology Lab, which has played a pivotal role in developing the class of immunosuppressive drugs known as costimulation blockers. In 1996, Dr. Larsen, Dr. Pearson, and others published an article in Nature that provided unequivocal evidence that blocking one of the immune signals required for organ rejection (costimulatory blockage) at the time of transplantation promoted long-term survival of organ allografts in rodents. This finding was rapidly translated by the Immunology Lab to primates at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center and later to humans.

In March 2010, Dr. Pearson, Dr. Larsen, and their colleagues published the data from two international phase III clinical trials of belatacept in the American Journal of Transplantation, concluding that the experimental drug can prevent graft rejection in kidney transplant recipients while better preserving kidney function and maintaining lower blood pressure and cholesterol when compared to standard immunosuppressive medications. In June 2011, the FDA approved belatacept in the form of the drug Nulojix for the prevention of graft rejection after kidney transplants. The drug is now being tested in experimental clinical trials for kidney transplant, liver transplant, and pancreatic islet transplant.

In addition to being an eminent scientist, Dr. Pearson is also a highly accomplished transplant surgeon and has been involved in such milestones as the performance of Georgia's first islet transplant. In July 2014, he began serving a two-year term as associate councillor of Region 3 of the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network and United Network for Organ Sharing (OPTN/UNOS). He was elected by transplant and organ donation professionals at Region 3 transplant organizations within Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas as well as Puerto Rico.

Dr. Pearson's publications in Dr. Pearson's publications in PubMed


Medical School

Postgraduate Training

Honors and Awards

Editorships and Editorial Boards

Current Organizational Memberships

Clinical Specialties

Research Interests

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