Josef Oberholzer headshot

Josef Oberholzer

Unit: School of Medicine
Department: Department of Surgery
Office location and address
Transplant Center
81 Hospital Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
University of Zurich, Switzerland , MD
Residency, Geneva University Hospital; Triemli Spital; Kantonsspital Uri
Fellowship, University of Alberta Hospital

José Oberholzer, MD, MHCM, FACS, is a researcher and surgeon and the director of the Charles O. Strickler Transplant Center. Dr. Oberholzer has performed over 1,000 transplant-related surgeries and is an expert in liver, kidney, pancreas and small bowel transplants, as well as organ transplants in patients with diabetes. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Oberholzer specializes in islet transplantation and parathyroid transplantation, as well as vascular access for hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis catheter placements. Additionally, he practices minimal invasive, robotic assisted surgery, including robotic kidney and pancreas transplantation, living donor nephrectomy, adrenalectomy, liver and pancreas surgery and hernia surgery. Dr. Oberholzer speaks four languages: English, Spanish, German and French.

A career innovator, Dr. Oberholzer pioneered the use of robotic-assisted surgery to provide overweight patients with safe access to kidney and pancreas transplants. He holds three patents, helped found two start-up companies, and is the founder and coordinator of the Chicago Diabetes Project, an international research collaboration for a functional cure for diabetes. His overall focus at UVA is to remove barriers to transplantation and improve access for those in need.

Dr. Oberholzer came to UVA from the University of Illinois, Chicago, where he was a transplant surgeon and professor of surgery and bioengineering from 2003-2017, and led the Division of Transplantation for almost a decade.

Raised in Switzerland, he earned his medical degree from the University of Zurich Medical School and completed his residency at the University of Geneva, where he later led the Human Islet Transplantation Program. He was a fellow in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery and transplantation at the University of Alberta, in Canada. He also earned a master’s degree in healthcare management from the Harvard School of Public Health.

He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Medical Association and the American Diabetes Association, and a founding member of the Clinical Robotic Surgery Association. He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences. An active runner, Dr. Oberholzer has completed over 25 marathons to raise money for diabetes research. He initiated the CellMatesOnTheRun Foundation that supports diabetes cure research through charity runners and other philanthropic activities.

Training Interdisciplinary Scientists for Functional Cure of Diabetes
Source: U.S. NIH Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidne
August 01, 2017 – July 31, 2022
Development of Microfluidic-Based Beta-Cell Functional Analysis Facility
Source: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Internatl.
October 27, 2017 – October 26, 2019
PATH 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
Dissertation research credit for students who have completed their advancement to candidacy.