Interim Chief, Division of Pediatric Surgery
Associate Director, Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program
Scientist, The Saban Research Institute
Attending Physician
Associate Professor of Surgery (Clinical Scholar), Keck School of Medicine of USC
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Kasper Wang, MD, is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed eight years of general surgery training at Stanford University Hospital and subsequently two years of fellowship training in pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Wang balances a busy clinical practice with both clinical and basic research endeavors. He is a principal investigator for the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReN), funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Wang has been elected to the Pediatric Surgery Board of the American Board of Surgery (PSB-ABS). He will serve as a representative of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Surgery. His six year term will begin July 1, 2018.

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Clinical Interests

Minimally invasive surgery of the chest and abdomen, hepatobiliary diseases of infants and children, solid tumors, esophageal disorders, biliary atresia, correction of pectus excavatum and pectus carinatum chest wall deformities.

Education

Medical School: 

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Internship: 

Stanford University Hospital: General Surgery

Residency: 

Stanford University Hospital: Resident and Administrative Chief Resident in General Surgery

Fellowship: 

Children's Hospital Los Angeles: Pediatric Surgery

Accomplishments

Certification: 

Surgery and Pediatric Surgery: American Board of Surgery

Professional Memberships: 

American Medical Student Association
Association for Academic Surgery
Los Angeles Surgical Society
American Pediatric Surgical Association
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
Pacific Association of Pediatric Surgery
Society of University Surgeons
Society of Asian American Surgeons
Fellow of the American College of Surgeons
Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Committee on Fetus and Newborn Liaison, Section on Surgery Representative
Association for Academic Surgery
ChiLDREN Consortium: Steering Committee Member, Surgery Committee Chairman, START protocol Working Group Co-chairman, Pilot Projects Review Committee Member
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases: Clinical Liver Transplantation and Liver Surgery: Living Donor & Split Liver Transplantation
Hepatobiliary Surgery Review Committee Member
Surgical Biology Club II
American Surgical Association

Publications: 

Berg T, Rountree CB, Lee L, Estrada J, Sala FG, Choe A, Veltmaat JM, De Langhe S, Lee R, Tsukamoto H, Crooks GM, Bellusci S, Wang KS. Fibroblast growth factor 10 is critical for liver growth during embryogenesis and controls hepatoblast survival via beta-catenin activation. Hepatology. 2007 Oct;46(4):1187-97. PubMed PMID: 17668871; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3494299.

Bezerra JA, Spino C, Magee JC, Shneider BL, Rosenthal P, Wang KS, Erlichman J, Haber B, Hertel PM, Karpen SJ, Kerkar N, Loomes KM, Molleston JP, Murray KF, Romero R, Schwarz KB, Shepherd R, Suchy FJ, Turmelle YP, Whitington PF, Moore J, Sherker AH, Robuck PR, Sokol RJ; Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN). Use of Corticosteroids After Hepatoportoenterostomy for Bile Drainage in Infants With Biliary Atresia: The START Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2014 May 7; 311 (17): 1750-9. PMID: 24794368, PubMed Central PMCID PMC4303045.

Mavila N, James D, Shivakumar P, Utley S, Mak K, Wu A, Nguyen M, Vendryes C, Groff M, Wang KS. Expansion of PROMININ-1-expressing cells in association with fibrosis of biliary atresia. Hepatology. 2014 September; 60(3): 941-953. PubMed PMID: 24798639. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4146699. NIHMS ID: NIHMS593797.

Wang KS; AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS; SECTION ON SURGERY; COMMITTEE ON FETUS AND NEWBORN; CHILDHOOD LIVER DISEASE RESEARCH NETWORK. Newborn Screening for Biliary Atresia. Pediatrics. 2015 Nov 30. pii: peds.2015-3570. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26620065.

Zhang D, Gates KP, Barske L, Wang G, Lancman JJ, Zeng XI, Groff M, Wang KS, Parsons MJ, Crump JG, Dong. Endoderm Jagged induces liver and pancreas duct lineage in zebrafish. Nature Communications. 2017 Oct 3;8(1):769. PubMed PMID: 28974684; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5626745.

Research Interests: 

Biliary atresia is a disease of infants where the bile ducts are damaged due to unclear causes such that bile is unable to flow from the liver and progressive liver damage occurs. Even surgical drainage, which is effective only approximately 60% of the time, does not necessarily prevent progression towards liver failure. As such, biliary atresia is the most common indication for pediatric liver transplantation, which is both costly and associated with significant changes in life style. Efforts to understand the underlying causes of biliary atresia and the progression towards cirrhosis are critical to impacting the outcome of infants and children with this disease.

Visit the Wang Laboratory.

Bilary Atresia Research

Dr. Wang is the Principal Investigator for an NIH-funded grant at Children's Hospital Los Angeles focusing on biliary atresia and other liver diseases of infants and children within the Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN), which is a consortium of 15 of the top children's hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, joined to study rare, but lethal pediatric liver diseases. To date, nearly 1,500 patients with biliary atresia have been enrolled in a number of studies and clinical trials through ChiLDREN.

Enrollment for one therapeutic trial studying the efficacy of postoperative corticosteroids on survival for biliary atresia is complete and we are awaiting two year follow up to unblind the data. We are about to embark on a phase I clinical trial, as part of the consortium, studying the utility of intravenous gammaglobulin on survival after surgery for biliary atresia.

Additionally, Dr. Wang heads a basic research program focusing on the molecular events involved in biliary atresia at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. His research lab focuses on the signaling pathways regulating liver stem/progenitor cells during liver organogenesis and a variety of liver damage such as that incurred by biliary atresia. The hope is that insight into how liver stem/progenitor cells are regulated normal and how they respond to a variety of injuries in addition to biliary atresia will allow greater understanding of how they contribute to the damage or to the repair processes that occurs in biliary atresia. Notably, the fact that despite successful surgical drainage of bile most children with biliary atresia still experience progression towards liver cirrhosis indicates that events related to fibrosis of the liver are either irreversible or unrelated to bile drainage. The key to improving outcomes of patients with biliary atresia is in understanding why this occurs.

Understanding how liver, stem and progenitor cells are regulated could also accelerate development of a more effective bio-artifical liver, which could be utilized in general in the setting of liver failure both in adults and children. Our lab is also currently undergoing efforts to engineer liver as well as bile ducts.

Current Research Studies

Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN)

Current Funding

Continuation of the Children's Hospital LA ChiLDReN Liver Research Center, 2U01 DK084538-06, National Institute of Digestive Disease and Kidney
National Institutes of Health, 2014-2019

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