Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, Awarded 2024 ASA Flance-Karl Award

The Duke Department of Surgery is excited to announce that Allan D. Kirk, MD, PhD, FACS, David C. Sabiston, Jr. Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Duke Department of Surgery, and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Duke University Health System, has been awarded the 2024 Flance-Karl Award by the American Surgical Association (ASA).

The Flance-Karl Award was established in 1996 by then-ASA president Samuel A. Wells, Jr., MD, to recognize a surgeon in the U.S. who has made a seminal contribution in basic laboratory research which has application to clinical surgery.

Dr. Kirk was presented the award at the American Surgical Association’s 144th Annual Meeting on April 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. He was unanimously selected as this year’s recipient for his contributions to science and clinical application in the fields of clinical transplantation and immunology.

A native of Richmond, VA, Dr. Kirk completed medical school at Duke University in 1987, and subsequently completed his surgical residency, research fellowship, and PhD in microbiology and immunology at Duke. He then completed a transplant fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, and received a Health Professions Scholarship from the U.S. Navy. Following 18 years in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps and seven years as Professor of Surgery at Emory University, Dr. Kirk returned to Duke in 2014.

This year, he celebrates his ten-year anniversary as Chair of the Duke Department of Surgery.

Dr. Kirk is an accomplished transplant surgeon­–scientist and widely-published author, with over 250 manuscripts, an H-index of 68, and over 14,000 citations. He previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Transplantation, and is a member of numerous prestigious medical and surgical societies. In 2019, he received the Senior Achievement Award from the American Society of Transplantation given to individuals, “whose careers have shaped the course of transplantation of solid organs.”

Dr. Kirk at ASA
Dr. Allan D. Kirk presenting at the American Surgical Association Annual Meeting.

Dr. Kirk’s major contributions to science include the following:

  • He was among the first to demonstrate that T cell co-stimulation blockade could prevent rejection.
  • He has used depletional antibody therapies to condition patients for transplant, performing trails with alemtuzumab and rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin as stand-alone agents in humans.
  • He has introduced approaches specifically targeting cells of various lineages, showing that memory T cells have specific resistance to many immunosuppressive agents and has shown how these can be overcome in transplantation.
  • He has been a leader in the clinical translation of islet cell xenotransplantation.
  • He described treatment of hepatic failure in humans using ex vivo porcine liver perfusion as a bridge to successful hepatic transplantation.

“To be recognized by one’s peers is an incredible compliment,” says Dr. Kirk. “Past recipients of this prestigious award are among the best in their fields, and to be included alongside them is a great honor, one for which I am exceedingly grateful to the award committee."

About the American Surgical Association

The American Surgical Association was founded in 1880 and is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious surgical organization. Its members include the nation’s most prominent surgeons from the country’s leading academic medical institutions, many of whom are Chairs of the Departments of Surgery at these institutions. Membership also includes leading surgeons from around the world, making it much more than an American association.