Mayo Clinic transplant surgeon David Mulligan has been appointed director of the Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center, or YNHTC.

In his 15 years at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Mulligan helped grow the transplant service from 33 operations per year to more than 350 today. In 2006, Mulligan was recognized with the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award, given to one outstanding physician in the entire Mayo Clinic network each year. At Yale, Mulligan will also serve as chief of the hospital’s surgical transplantation and immunology section and professor of surgery at the Yale School of Medicine.

“Dr. Mulligan is an internationally respected and accomplished transplant surgeon who brings a wealth of expertise to Yale,” said Robert Udelsman, chair of the Department of Surgery.

Former Director of the YNHTC Sukru Emre praised Mulligan’s abilities as a surgeon and leader in a Wednesday email, adding that Mulligan will help raise the national and international status of the center. During his time at the Mayo Clinic, Mulligan and his team performed approximately 3,150 organ transplants. The YNHTC performs more kidney transplants annually than any other center in New England.

Mulligan was “instrumental” in developing high quality programs at his time at Mayo, said chair of operations for Mayo Clinic in Arizona Kevin Paige, who has worked with Mulligan for over a decade. Mulligan is “incredibly passionate” about his work, and sincerely cares about his patients, Paige said.

As the chair of the Liver and Transplant Committee for the United Network for Organ Sharing, Mulligan has influence on national organ allocation, Udelsman said, adding that Mulligan brings particular strengths in leadership skills for the transplantation center.

“He is a great surgeon and a great guy,” said David Douglas, the director of the transplant center at Mayo Clinic Arizona who has known Mulligan for more than 15 years. “Patients love him — he always puts the interest of the patient first. You guys are lucky to get him.”

Both Paige and Douglas saw Mulligan’s move to Yale as one motivated by the opportunity to continue serving as an active clinician and a national figure for organ transplantation.

Mulligan attended medical school at the University of Louisville and completed internships and residencies at the University of Louisville and Case Western Reserve.