Nancy Ascher, MD, PhD, former Chair of the University of California (UCSF) Department of Surgery, has devoted her career to organ transplants and transplant research. Dr. Ascher completed her undergraduate and medical education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She then went on to complete a general surgery residency and clinical transplantation fellowship at the University of Minnesota. She is board-certified by the American Board of Surgery.
Dr. Ascher joined the faculty of the Department of Surgery at the University of Minnesota in 1982, named Clinical Director of the Liver Transplant Program. She was recruited in 1988 to the UCSF Department of Surgery to build a liver transplantation program. In 1991, she was appointed Chief of Transplantation, an expanded role that included liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. In 1993, she was appointed Vice Chair of the UCSF Department of Surgery and in 1999 was appointed Department Chair where she served until 2016.
Dr. Ascher has had a distinguished career of public service that includes appointments to the Presidential Task Force on Organ Transplantation and the Surgeon General’s Task Force on Increasing Donor Organs. She served as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Organ Transplantation for the Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001-2005. During her tenure, the Committee developed safeguards for protecting the live donor.
Dr. Ascher has taken a leadership role in the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, serving as President in 2001 and active in evaluating training programs in transplantation. She has been active in The Transplant Society (TTS), having served as Councilor and as Chair of Women in Transplant where she established the “unsung hero” and “pioneer” awards. Dr. Ascher is currently President of TTS.