Carnegie Mellon University

Revolutionizing Organ Donation and Matching

Transforming expensive private jets into affordable transportation to increase organ transplants requires smart operations management, optimization, analytics, and financial planning. Increasing organ donations to facilitate those matches requires an understanding of behavioral sciences.

Combining them showcases the Tepper School's interdisciplinary approach to solving business and societal problems and leads to a revolutionary way to save lives.

Will Increasing Access to Private Jets Help Save Lives?

Depending on which donor service area you live in, the chances of you getting a liver or kidney can be vastly different.

Sridhar Tayur explains his research on overcoming geographical disparities for access to donor kidneys.

View video transcript

Faculty Experts

sridar tayur

Sridhar Tayur, Ford Distinguished Research Chair and Professor of Operations Management


Research Interests

  • Facilitating organ transplants through affordable on-demand transportation. Increasing organ and tissue supply by increasing consent rates via nudge videos. Fair allocation of livers.
  • Opioid Use Disorder: Using wearables to reduce relapse rates through timely personalized interventions (joint with Alan Scheller-Wolf).
  • Personalized Cancer Therapy: Machine learning algorithms to predict Immuno-oncology drug response.
  • Overtesting: Disentangling the roles of physicians, reimbursement structure, insurance plans, legal risk, and patient utility.


  • 47-762 Health Care Operations
  • 45-965 Service Management: Go-to-Market Strategy and Operations

Industry Partners

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, UC San Francisco, BehAIvoir, Mitra Biotech
  • Organ Procurement Organizations: NJ Sharing Network, Nevada, Georgia, California

Alan Scheller-Wolf

Alan Scheller-Wolf, Richard M. Cyert Professor of Operations Management


Research Interests

  • Blood Platelet Inventory Management: How to manage ordering and distribution of products such as blood platelets in the face of their short shelf life and age-dependent demand.
  • Medical Surplus Redistribution: Determining how Global Links, a medical relief and development organization, can use their information to forecast supply and demand for donated surplus medical supplies.
  • Opioid Use Disorder: Using wearables to reduce relapse rates through timely personalized interventions (joint with Sridhar Tayur).
  • Consistent Staffing for Long-Term Care Through On-Call Pools: How different strategies, like an on-call pool, can potentially lower costs and improve consistency of care in nursing homes.
  • Fairness of multi-listing for organ transplants.

Collaboration and Partnerships

  • American Red Cross
  • Compassionate Care Hospice

Mustafa Akan

Mustafa Akan, Associate Professor of Operations Management


Research Interests

  • Equitable Distribution of Donor Livers Among Patients:
    • Creating a new open-source computer simulation model for the U.S. liver allocation system to evaluate alternative liver allocation policies.
    • Developing a better scoring system for listing primary liver cancer patients for liver transplantation.
    • Reducing gender and height disparity in access to liver transplants.
  • Medical Urgency-Efficiency Trade-Off in Liver Allocation System Design:
    • Proposing viable alternatives to the current allocation scheme with an eye on the trade-off between medical urgency and efficiency.
  • Personalized Medicine: Mitigating risks of anti-coagulation treatment using genetic information.
  • Overtesting: Economics of diagnostic test ordering and its unintended consequences.
  • Child Adoption: Improving the matching process and child welfare outcomes via market design.


  • 47-744 Analytical & Structural Marketing Models
  • 70-476 Service Operations Management

Industry Partners

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, University of California San Francisco, University of Wisconsin-Madison, The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange

Nudge Videos Are Instrumental in Increasing Organ and Tissue Supply

Sridhar Tayur led the development of video content to "nudge" families toward consenting for the donation of their loved ones' organs. According to the American Transplant Organization, almost 115,000 people in the United States are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant. On average, 20 people die every day from the lack of available organs for transplant. One donor can save up to eight lives through organ donation. Tayur estimates that more than a thousand new lives can be saved through changing people's minds with these videos.

Learn more about common organ donation facts and myths