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Dr. James Kirklin

Dr. James Kirklin is Director, Kirklin Institute for Research in Surgical Outcomes (KIRSO), Professor of Surgery, former Director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and holds the John W. Kirklin Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He graduated from Ohio State University in 1969 and received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 1973 as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. After completing general and cardiothoracic surgery residencies at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1979, he pursued additional training at Boston Children’s Hospital and UAB.  In 2006, Dr. Kirklin was named Director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery and held that position for ten years. Dr. Kirklin’s current clinical interests focus on surgery for pediatric and adult congenital heart disease, heart transplantation, and mechanical circulatory support.

Prior to being named Divisional Director, Dr. Kirklin held the UAB Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Surgical Research. His many research interests involve cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and outcomes research in cardiac surgery.  Dr. Kirklin and his colleagues at UAB established the Cardiac Transplant Research Database in 1990, which generated the first multi-institutional collaborative research in heart transplantation, producing numerous seminal publications over a 20-year span.  In 1993, Kirklin and his UAB research group initiated the Pediatric Heart Transplant Study Group, which continues to lead the field in multi-institutional studies.  Currently Dr. Kirklin is Principal Investigator of the $15 million NIH-sponsored national Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS).

Dr. Kirklin is past President of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) and is a member of numerous academic societies.  He served as Editor of the Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation from 2000 – 2009, and he is Principal Editor of the ISHLT Monograph Series in which 9 books to date have been published.  He was first author on the premier textbook on Heart Transplantation and co-author of the 4th Edition of the Cardiac Surgery textbook. He has authored or co-authored over 500 scientific publications.  In 2014, he was the first recipient of the ISHLT Distinguished Educator Award.  UAB has honored him with the establishment of the James K. Kirklin Endowed Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the James Kirklin Visiting Professorship and the Bourge-Kirklin Professorship.