Includes 1 oral history interview with Dr. Allan D. Kirk conducted on June 12, 2019 by Dr. Justin Barr as part of the Dr. David Sabiston Oral History Project.In the June 12, 2019 interview, Kirk discusses his early life; education; background in music; how he came to be a transplant surgeon; memories of Dr. David Sabiston from his time as a student and resident; becoming a surgeon; his interest in immunology as it related to the field of transplantation; Dr. Robert Anderson taking over as Chair of the Department of Surgery; Kirk's and Sabiston's shared military experience; Kirk's relationship with Sabiston after leaving Duke; and how Sabiston helped shape Kirk's time as Chair of the Department of Surgery at Duke, as well as their different styles of leadership.
Dr. Allan Douglas Kirk, MD, PhD received his BS from Old Dominion University (1983), his MD from Duke University School of Medicine (DUSOM) (1987) and his PhD in immunology from Duke University (1992). He was an Intern and Junior Resident (1987-1989), Research Fellow (1989-1992), Senior Resident (1992-1994), and Chief Resident (1994-1995) in Surgery at Duke. Afterwards, he completed an organ transplant fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1995-1997).From 1983 to 2001, Kirk served in the United States Navy, where he reached the rank of commander and principal investigator at the Naval Medical Research Center. He was Senior investigator and Chief of the Transplantation Branch for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) from 2001 to 2007. During that time, he also served as an attending transplant surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. In 2007, Kirk joined Emory University as Professor and Vice Chair for Surgical Research. In 2014, Kirk joined Duke, where he is Chair of the Department of Surgery in the Duke University School of Medicine and Surgeon-in-Chief for Duke University Health System. He is also the David C. Sabiston Jr. Professor of Surgery and a professor of immunology and pediatrics.Kirk is a transplant surgeon and physician, specializing in kidney and pancreas transplantation. He is internationally recognized for work in transplant immunology, serving as the inaugural Chief of the Transplantation Branch of the NIDDK and principal investigator for multiple clinical trials including the first-in-man experience with novel immunosuppressive agents. Kirk pioneered the use of costimulation pathway blockade to prevent organ rejection in transplant patients. He has made significant contributions to transplantation over his career, specifically in the areas of novel immune management and characterization of organ transplant recipients. These contributions have primarily been in the development and use of novel immunosuppressive agents and regimens, and in novel approaches toward immune monitoring in transplant recipients.Kirk directs the Laboratory of Immune Management in the Department of Surgery at DUSOM. His research focuses on the following three interrelated areas: the use of costimulation blockade therapy to prevent organ rejection in transplant recipients, antibody depletion therapies to condition patient immune systems for transplant, and understanding how immunosuppressive agents can affect the immune system based on immune exhaustion, memory, and senescence.Kirk has received many awards and honors including Elected Member of the National Academy of Medicine; Elected Member of the Association of American Physicians; Elected Member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation; Elected Member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons; Elected Member of the American Society of Transplantation; Fellow of the American College of Surgeons; David C. Sabiston Jr. Distinguished Professor, Duke University; Distinguished Alumnus Award, Duke Medical Alumni Association; NIH 2016 Distinguished Clinical Research Scholar and Educator in Residence; NIH Clinical Center Bench to Bedside Award; and Consumers Research Council of America "America's Top Surgeons".