Dr. Angie Katherine Puerto Nino


Affiliations: Assistant Research at the Institute for Global Health Equity and Innovation at the University of Toronto

Physician and surgeon, Physician and surgeon

Research Interests:

Public health and urology.

Brief Bio:

I am a 25-year-old physician and surgeon from Colombia. I earned my degree from Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogota on January 28th, 2016. Over the past four years, driven by a strong passion for numbers, and research in general, I have had the joy to participate in multiple projects concerning complex urological and genetics questions. I have participated in different positions within the field of research. My conviction for the power of research to improve human health motivated me to join the Urology and Genetics Students’ Research Group at Xavierian University as coordinator. After, this conviction was reinforced during my social service year, working in the Humans Genetics Institute at my alma mater during the Zika emergency faced by Colombia. Then, I witnessed, first hand, the power of translational research to enable government and healthcare service agencies to handle uncertainty around major public health crisis, while enabling medical and health science workers to protect lives. This transformative experience fueled by translational research in the public health arena motivated me to join “The Health of Humanity Project” as a research assistant at the Institute for Global Health Equity and Innovation at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Capstone Project:

Organ transplantation is a life-saving practice that requires extensive coordination and communication for timely and safe care during a pandemic. The rise of viral diseases, such as “HIV in the late 1980s/early 1990s, SARS-CoV, West Nile Virus, pandemic influenza A/H1N1, Zika, Ebola, and now pandemic COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2”, have demonstrated that during a pandemic, as resources are redirected, transplantation activities are reduced.1 Transplant teams have historically been creative in developing ways to optimize the volume of organ transplants conducted during such times, but the COVID-19 pandemic presented new and unprecedented challenges.1 The SARS-CoV-2 virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic is highly contagious and difficult to control and individuals infected by the virus may be asymptomatic.2 COVID-19 has both posed unique challenges to the safety and management of organ transplantation. The Toronto General Hospital (TGH) has been a world leader in providing recommendations for healthcare systems across different levels on how to best optimize procedures during this pandemic.1 Despite TGH’s prioritization of essential surgeries during the pandemic, a considerable number of patients on the organ waiting list continue to have their transplants delayed, with some even dying during this time.3 Our team is interested in addressing these challenges by considering the response at TGH’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program (MOTP) during the COVID-19 pandemic by exploring the perspectives of donor and recipient patients, healthcare professionals, administrative staff, organ procurement institutions, and government representatives involved in transplant activities conducted during pandemics.


1. Kumar D, Manuel O, Natori Y, et al. COVID-19: A global transplant perspective on successfully navigating a pandemic. Am J Transplant. 2020;20(7):1773-1779. doi:10.1111/ajt.15876
2. World Health Organization. Coronavirus. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1. Published 2020. Accessed July 26, 2020.
3. Canadian Blood Services. National COVID-19 Impact Data. https://professionaleducation.blood.ca/en/organs-and-tissues/covid-19-update/national-covid-19-impact-data. Published 2020. Accessed July 24, 2020.

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