Keynote Speakers

Access the Virtual Session and Exhibit Hall | Program

International Lecture 

"Organ Transplantation, is it the Same Everywhere?"

Gustavo Varela-FascinettoGustavo Varela-Fascinetto, MD
Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Transplantation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City
Chief, Transplantation Department and Director, Liver Transplant Program, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez, Mexico City
Dr. Gustavo Varela-Fascinetto received his MD degree from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in Mexico City, summa cum laude, and first in his class. He trained in pediatric surgery at Instituto Nacional de Pediatría in Mexico City and in transplantation at Children´s Hospital, Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School; University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE; and Kyoto University Hospital, Japan. Upon his return to Mexico, he developed the busiest pediatric transplant program in the country, where almost 1,000 solid organ transplants in children have been performed and is now one of the few transplant training centers in Mexico. He performed the first successful living donor liver transplant in Mexico and the first combined liver-kidney transplant in a child. He is also a recognized hepato-pancreato-biliary pediatric surgeon, with special interests in biliary atresia, portal hypertension, complex hepatic resections and kidney transplantation in infants and toddlers. Dr. Varela-Fascinetto has held multiple roles in the Mexican Transplantation Society, Mexican Society of Pediatric Surgery and Mexican Board of Pediatric Surgery. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Pediatrics and a Level C National Researcher of the Mexican National Institutes of Health, with 53 peer reviewed publications, 19 book chapters, one book published and more than 200 abstracts presented. Awards received include Gabino Barreda Medal, the highest recognition awarded by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México to its top graduates, the Ixtlilton Medal awarded by Hospital Infantil de México, and the National Merit Award in Pediatrics, for his contributions to the development of pediatric transplantation in México.


TEC Talks - Sponsored by The Journal Of Pediatric Surgery


Robert E. Gross Lecture 

Thursday May 14
"The Moral Compass"

Dr. Mary BrandtMary L. Brandt, MD
Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Medical Ethics, Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX 

Dr. Mary Brandt is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Ethics at Baylor College of Medicine and an MDiv candidate at Iliff School of Theology. She is a recognized educator and has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards. She has held multiple leadership roles as a clinician and educator, including program director of general surgery, vice chair of education, and senior associate dean of student affairs at Baylor College of Medicine. She is recognized for her clinical expertise and academic contributions caring for children with biliary atresia, achalasia, anorectal malformations and morbid obesity. She has served in a number of national leadership positions in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Surgical Association, the American Board of Surgery (Pediatric Surgery Board) and the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Brandt is an established and successful clinical researcher with more than 220 peer reviewed publications, 26 chapters and two books published to date. As a mentor to students, residents and faculty, she has developed a strong interest in physician wellness and speaks regularly on physician distress, work-life balance and the art of medicine.

Jay Grosfeld Social Injustice Symposium: Disparities in Access to Care

Presented by the Global Pediatric Surgery and Health Policy and Advocacy Committees

Presidential Address

"Our Better Angels and the Invention of Hope"

Joseph P. VacantiJoseph P. Vacanti, MD
John Homans Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Emeritus
Surgeon-in-Chief, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Emeritus
Director, Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication, MGH
Boston, MA

Dr. Joseph Vacanti received his Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, from Creighton University in 1970 and graduated first in his class. He received his MD, with high distinction, from University of Nebraska College of Medicine, and an MS from Harvard Medical School. He trained in general surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, in pediatric surgery at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh. As an academic surgeon, Vacanti has been active in clinical innovation as well as basic research. He instituted New England’s first successful pediatric ECMO program in 1984 while at Children’s Hospital Boston. As well, he began the nation’s first liver transplantation program specifically for the pediatric population. Vacanti has been working in the field of tissue engineering since its beginning in the early 1980s – a mission that stems from his long-held interest in solving the problem of organ shortages. His approach to developing tissue involves a scaffold made of a biodegradable polymer, seeding it with living cells, and bathing it in growth factors. The cells can come from living tissue or stem cells. The cells multiply, filling the scaffold, and growing into a three-dimensional tissue. Once implanted in the body, the cells recreate their proper tissue function, blood vessels grow into the new tissue, the scaffold degrades, and lab-grown tissue becomes indistinguishable from its surroundings. Over the last 15 years, Vacanti has studied creating complete vascular networks as part of implantable tissue engineered devices which then allows the fabrication of large, complex living structures such as vital organs, extremities or craniofacial reconstruction. To further the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, Vacanti was a founding co-president of the Tissue Engineering Society, now named the Tissue Engineering Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS). It currently has 4,100 active members from 80 countries worldwide. He also was founding senior editor of the journal Tissue Engineering. It currently serves all of the members of TERMIS, 1,700 libraries in 20 countries, and is provided free online to 106 developing nations. It has over 250,000 full text downloads and 500,000 abstract downloads per year with an impact factor of approximately 4.5. Vacanti has held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School since 1974. He has authored over 332 original reports, 70 book chapters, 57 reviews and over 475 abstracts. He has 83 patents or patents pending in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan. Awards include the Thomas G. Sheen Award presented by New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, recognition from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine for contributions in the area of tissue replacement, the James Bartlett Brown Award from the Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the Clemson Award from the Society for Biomaterials. In addition, he was elected in 2001 to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2007, the Board of Directors of City Trusts acting for the City of Philadelphia awarded Vacanti the John Scott Medal, which is given to “the most deserving” men and women whose inventions have contributed in some outstanding way to the “comfort, welfare and happiness” of mankind and has been awarded in memory of Benjamin Franklin since 1822. Previous recipients include Marie Curie, the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison and Jonas Salk. In 2009, Vacanti’s innovation was included in the book, 1001 Inventions That Changed The World, by Jack Challoner. Vacanti is 2009 recipient of the American Surgical Association’s prestigious Flance-Karl Award.  Each year since 1996, the association has presented the prize to a surgeon who has made a seminal contribution in basic laboratory research that has application to clinical surgery. Vacanti became a 2011 Thomson Reuters Citation Laureate in the field of physiology or medicine. Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates are an elite group of highly citied, high impact researchers, who are likely contenders for other awards in the future including The Nobel Prize. In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Surgery named Vacanti the recipient of the William E. Ladd Medal. The Ladd Medal is the highest honor awarded by the Surgical Section of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is considered by many to be the most prestigious award in the field of pediatric surgery.  In June of 2015, Vacanti received The Jacobson Innovation Award from the American College of Surgeons, their most prestigious recognition for surgical innovation. In 2017, Vacanti received the Lifetime Achievement Award from TERMIS – Americas Chapter.  In 2018, he was elected to become President of the American Pediatric Surgical Association.