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Division of Transplant Surgery

The University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Division of Transplant Surgery are proud to provide a two-year Transplant Fellowship Program accredited by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). Our program is currently set up to train one fellow for two years.

The purpose of the fellowship is to expose and educate a qualified surgeon to the surgical techniques of solid-organ transplantation encompassing procurement and pre/post transplants.

Our program involves a multidisciplinary team approach dedicated to high-quality, patient-focused transplantation. Members of our team include transplant surgeons, hepatologists, nephrologists, anesthesiologists, pathologists, transplant nurses and coordinators, financial coordinators, transplant administrators, social workers, and other professionals who specialize in transplantation. This integrated approach ensures the highest level of care and has given us a competitive advantage improving our clinical outcomes.

Additionally, the Division of Transplant Surgery supports an academic research component. We continue our ongoing development and assessment in techniques with live-donor liver transplant. Since 1994, this program has successfully calibrated many surgeons in completing the two-year fellowship program.

Application process

To qualify, all potential applicants must do the following:

  1. First, submit your curriculum vitae, a personal statement, and three references to the Transplant Program Coordinator, Bretlyn Davis (, by March 31, 2014.
  2. Next, you will need to become a "candidate member" of the ASTS by completing the online application through the ASTS website. A link to the application can be found on the Information for Fellows in Training page. The ASTS uses the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) to conduct matches each year by mid-June.
  3. Finally, once the candidate has been selected for an interview, the Transplant Program Coordinator will communicate by email to arrange a one-on-one interview with the Division of Transplant Surgery.

If you have additional questions regarding the application process, then please email or call 720-848-0833.


Additional helpful links:

Thomas Chirichella, MD

Thomas Chirichella, MD

Medical School: Ross University School of Medicine
Internship and Residency: St. Elizabeth Health Center

Dr. Chirichella completed his undergraduate studies at SUNY Albany, where he played football, then later coached at the collegiate level, winning two championships. He majored in Human Biology, graduating in 2004. Upon graduating, he enrolled at Ross University where he graduated in 2008 with High Honors. He then went on to complete his General Surgery Residency at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, OH, where in his last year he served as Chief Resident (2013).

During his residency he managed to publish five peer-reviewed manuscripts presented at two national conferences. In addition, he was the pediatric surgery and trauma/critical care resident of the year, and he earned the resident research award along with resident teacher of the year award two years in row.

Dr. Chirichella has an ongoing international wound care study with Cook Biotech. His primary interests are in liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation along with hepatobiliary surgery. His current research interests center on donation after cardiac death liver transplantation. He is happily married with two children and enjoys being actively involved in their extracurricular activities.

Esam Aboutaleb, MD

Esam Aboutaleb, MD

Esam grew up in Egypt. He received his MBChB from Tanta School of Medicine. He then finished his surgical residency in Egypt and moved to the UK for further training at Imperial College Healthcare Trust. Esam joined the Transplant Surgery team at the University of Colorado Hospital on July 1, 2012, and is currently completing his second-year fellowship.

In chronological order...

  • Tom Bak, MD (1998-2000)
  • Kellee Slater, MD (2002-2004)
  • Richard Hendrickson, MD (2003-2004)
  • William Bennet, MD (2005-2007)
  • Paul Jeffery Campsen, MD (2008-2010)
  • Trevor Nydam, MD (2010-2012)
  • Jonathan Roach, MD (2011-2013)
  • Esam Aboutaleb, MD (2012-2014)*
  • Thomas Chirichella, MD (2013-2015)*

* current Fellow

Dr. Michael Wachs is the head of the clinical rotation (SURG 8030) in Transplant Surgery where he teaches a 2-4 week course of multidisciplinary exposure to all aspects of transplant surgery and medicine. We welcome both medical students from the University of Colorado and all external medical students who have the desire to learn the dynamics of transplant surgery.

How to apply for the Visiting Student Application Service (VSAS) application:
  • Student Users: Your medical school must issue you authorizations before you may log in to VSAS. You will be notified of these authorizations by email. If you have not received this email, please contact your medical school with this authorization request.
  • Institution Users: Your institution must create a user account for you before you can log in to VSAS. If you have not received an email with login instructions, please contact your institution's primary contact with your request.

To log in with an access code, go to and apply.

For additional application requirements, please visit the VSAS website.


Contact Sean Spellman:
Office Phone: 303-724-6406
Fax: 303-724-6409