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Innovative Surgeon-Scientist to Head Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery at Lurie Children’s

September 18, 2020

Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, will return to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago on November 2, 2020, as the Division Head of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery, after spending the past nine years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition to his clinical expertise and serving in leadership roles, Dr. Kaushal is actively involved in research, including tissue-engineering cardiovascular structures and launching clinical trials using cardiac stem cells.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Dr. Kaushal to Lurie Children’s,” says Marleta Reynolds, MD, Surgeon-in Chief at Lurie Children’s and Professor of Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “He is a superb surgeon and an exciting researcher whose leadership will further drive excellence and innovation at our Heart Center.”

Dr. Kaushal succeeds Joseph M. Forbess, MD, MBA, who recently tendered his resignation to pursue other opportunities. During his three years of service to Lurie Children's, Dr. Forbess participated in rapid advancements in care and significant growth of the Lurie Children's Heart Center.

After Dr. Kaushal began his career at Lurie Children’s (then called Children's Memorial Hospital) in 2007, he moved to University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2011. While at Children's Memorial, he served as the Director of Cardiac Research and Director of the Cardiac Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (Cardiac ECMO) Program from 2010 through 2011.

At University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Kaushal has held a number of leadership positions, including Director of the Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Program, Head of Pediatric Heart Transplantation, Co-Director of the Children's Heart Program, Director of Pediatric Cardiac ECMO, Director of the Pediatric Cardiothoracic Program and the Surgical Director of the ECMO Program.

Dr. Kaushal’s research includes prevention of reperfusion injury after heart-bypass, characterization of skeletal and heart muscle gene regulation, and clinical trials with cardiac stem cells in congenital heart disease surgery patients. He is attributed with two inventions: tissue-engineering vascular structures using endothelial cell progenitors and paraxylene films and their therapeutic uses. Dr. Kaushal has seven active National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and two pending NIH grants.

Dr. Kaushal obtained his PhD in medical sciences from Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and his MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1997. He completed a residency in general surgery in 2004 and a residency in cardiothoracic surgery in 2006, both at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Concurrent with the latter residency, he completed a fellowship in pediatric cardiac surgery at Great Ormand Street Hospital in London, England in 2005. In 2007, he completed an additional fellowship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery at University of Michigan – Mott Children's Hospital. Dr. Kaushal is board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery in congenital cardiac surgery as well as thoracic and cardiac surgery.

Dr. Kaushal is an expert in complex neonatal cardiac surgery, particularly the Norwood Operation. At the University of Maryland School of Medicine, he grew the clinical program by 5-fold establishing excellent outcomes with complex congenital heart surgeries, including complex neonatal surgeries, adult congenital surgeries, and heart transplantation, by maintaining mortality rates and length of stay lower than the national average.

"We are particularly excited to partner with him in his ground-breaking work on hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) stem cell trials. He is the national principle investigator for a Phase II clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Health to determine the efficacy of using stem cells in these complex congenital heart disease patients involving HLHS," says Stuart Berger, MD, Division Head of Cardiology. "This area of research is something we have hoped to bring to Lurie Children’s to further set us apart as a premier national heart center that not only provides excellent care for children with complex heart disease, but leads the field with regards to scientific innovation and cutting-edge therapies."

Dr. Kaushal joins alongside Lurie Children's current talented team of Cardiovascular-Thoracic surgeons which includes Drs. Michael Monge and Osama Eltayeb.

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 220,000 children from 48 states and 49 countries.