Excellence in Kidney Transplantation Award

Robert A. Montgomery, MD, DPhil, FACS

Chairman and Professor of Surgery at NYU Langone Health and the Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute

This award was established to recognize a scientist or clinician scientist whose exceptional research has contributed novel insights in or resulted in improved access to kidney transplantation. The award embodies the dedication of the National Kidney Foundation to help people navigate the challenges of kidney disease, organ donation and transplantation. 


Dr. Robert A. Montgomery is the Chairman and Professor of Surgery at NYU Langone Health and the Director of the NYU Langone Transplant Institute. He received his Doctor of Medicine with Honor from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Philosophy from Balliol College, The University of Oxford, England in Molecular Immunology. Montgomery completed his general surgical training, multi-organ transplantation fellowship, and postdoctoral fellowship in Human Molecular Genetics at Johns Hopkins. For over a decade he served as the Chief of Transplant Surgery and the Director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center at Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Montgomery was part of the team that developed the laparoscopic procedure for live kidney donation, a procedure that has become the standard throughout the world. He and the Hopkins team conceived the idea of the Domino Paired Donation (kidney swaps), the Hopkins protocol for desensitization of incompatible kidney transplant patients, and performed the first chain of transplants started by an altruistic donor. He led the team that performed the first 2-way domino paired donation, 3-way paired donation, 3-way domino paired donation, 8-way multi-institutional domino paired donation, and co-led the first 10-way open chain. He is credited in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records with the most kidney transplants performed in 1 day. He is considered a world expert on kidney transplantation for highly sensitized and ABO incompatible patients and is referred the most complex patients from around the globe.


Dr. Montgomery has had clinical and basic science research supported by the NIH throughout his career. He has authored over 300 peer reviewed articles, cited more than 33,000 times and has an h-index of 99. His academic interests include HLA sensitization, tolerance protocols including simultaneous solid organ and bone marrow transplantation, bioartificial organs and xenotransplantation. He has received important awards and distinctions including a Fulbright Scholarship and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship and memberships in the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha academic honor societies. He has been awarded multiple scholarships from The American College of Surgeons and The American Society of Transplant Surgeons. 


The National Kidney Foundation of Maryland has recognized his contributions to the field of transplantation with the Champion of Hope Award, the National Kidney Registry with the Terasaki Medical Innovation Award and The Greater New York Hospital Association with the Profile in Courage Award. Newsweek Magazine featured him as one of America’s Greatest Disruptors in December 2021. He received the Liberty Science Center’s 2022 Genius Award.  Modern Healthcare named him one of the Top 25 Innovators in Healthcare for 2022. Also in 2022, he was recognized by Crain’s New York Business as a Notable Health Care Leader. He received the 2022 American Association of Kidney Patients Medal of Excellence Award. The American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics named him the winner of the 2022 Paul I. Terasaki Clinical Science Award. Dr. Montgomery became the recipient of a heart transplant in 2018 and has become known for his advocacy for transplant patients. He is a Chevalier of the Order of Merit having received the Order of Merit (Ukraine) awarded by Volodymyr Zelenskyy on September 21, 2023 at the National Archives in Washington for his surgical care of Ukrainian patients during the war. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.


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Past Excellence in Transplantation Award Recipients:

  • 2023: Tanjala Purnell, PhD, MPH
  • 2022: Sumit Mohan, MD, MPH
  • 2021Krista Lentine, MD, PhD
  • 2020: Gabriel Danovitch, MD
  • 2019: Matthew Cooper, MD