J. Richard Thistlethwaite, MD, PhD

Professor of Surgery

President, Medical Staff

J. Richard Thistlethwaite, MD, the senior member of the University of Chicago Transplant Surgery faculty, has been performing transplants for more than 20 years. In that time, he has performed more than a thousand kidney transplants, 300 liver transplants, and approximately 180 pancreas transplants.

Dr. Thistlethwaite performed Illinois' first pancreas transplant and was also a member of the team that performed the first liver transplant in Illinois. One of his patients is the longest surviving recipient of a living-donor liver transplant. The University of Chicago Transplant Surgery section developed this operation. Some of Dr. Thistlethwaite's other patients include the youngest recipient of a deceased donor liver transplant, and the second youngest recipient of a deceased donor kidney transplant worldwide.

Dr. Thistlethwaite is a past president of the International Pediatric Transplant Association, the Illinois Transplant Society, and the Medical Staff at the University of Chicago. He has also served as board chairman for the Regional Organ Bank of Illinois, a governor of the American College of Surgeons, and a councilor of both the American Society of Transplant Surgeons and the United Network of Organ Sharing.

Dr. Thistlethwaite's PhD is in immunology, and he has more than 200 published research papers on transplantation, immunology, and anti-rejection medications.

Practice Location

Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine
5758 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

Year Started Practice


Board Certification

General Surgery

Medical School

Duke University School of Medicine


Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston


National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston


American College of Surgeons
American Society of Transplantation
American Society of Transplant Surgeons
Illinois Transplant Society
The Transplantation Society

Language Spoken




Office Phone

(773) 702-6104

Office Fax

(773) 702-2126

Office Postal Address

J. Richard Thistlethwaite, MD, PhD
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5026
Chicago, IL 60637

Physician Photo

Clinical Interests

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Read More About Dr. Thistlethwaite

In May 2003, University of Chicago physicians performed the fourth heart/liver/kidney transplant in the United States. Dr. Thistlethwaite performed the kidney portion of the surgery. Years later, Michael Gaynor feels energetic and is helping others cope with life before and after transplant.

In 1989, Dr. Thistlethwaite was part of a team that performed the first successful living-donor liver transplant in the world. Catch up with liver recipient Alyssa Smith, her mother and donor, Teri, and members of the transplant team that performed this groundbreaking procedure.

Dr. Thistlethwaite performed the first liver and pancreatic islet cell transplant in the Midwest on Patsy Esposito. Only two other medical centers in the U.S. have performed this rare combined cell transplant. Read Esposito's story.

Selected Publications

View a partial list of Dr. Thistlethwaite's publications through the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database.