Assistant Professor in Surgery-Organ Transplantation, Feinberg School of Medicine
The major area of interest in the Wertheim laboratory is advancing the state of art in organ regeneration and tissue engineering to develop methods to grow livers, kidneys and hearts as a cutting-edge solution to the organ shortage dilemma. Nationally over 112,000 patients are waiting for solid organ transplantation, yet the number of transplants performed annually falls short of this need by 75%. In the absence of suitable donors for solid organ transplantation, organ failure leads to associated health problems, increased health care expenditures and death. Organ shortage is a national issue with local impact. In 2010 there were just over 1050 solitary kidney, liver, or heart transplants performed in Illinois yet 311 patients died in the state alone, and more than 6650 nation-wide, waiting for an organ.
Dr. Wertheim's research proposes a multidisciplinary solution to organ shortage by utilizing a tissue engineering approach to rehabilitate the extracellular matrix of organs that are not initially suitable for transplantation. Just-in-time organs, reconstituted with recipient derived progenitor cells, would abrogate the need for long waitlist times and associated waitlist mortality, reduce the reliance on organs from living donors, and obviate the need for immunosuppression. Conceptually, these organs would be prepared from a donor matrix using a recipients own cells at the first signs of organ dysfunction. The re-engineered organ would then be ready for implantation when progressive organ failure indicates the need for transplantation. Dr. Wertheim has partnered with the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern, the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh, and Cellular Dynamics International to facilitate this important research.
Dr. Jason Wertheim joined Northwestern's Department of Surgery from his abdominal organ transplantation fellowship at the University of California in Los Angeles. Prior to his fellowship, Dr. Wertheim received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his MD and PhD in Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. His General Surgery Residency was completed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Office: NMH/Arkes Family Pavilion Suite 1900
Email: jason [dot] wertheim [at] northwestern [dot] edu
Office: 676 North Saint Clair, Suite 1900
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Email: ali [dot] bowersock [at] nm [dot] org