2021 Research and Career Development Award Recipients

AASLD Foundation’s Research & Career Development Awards are one to three-year awards that support innovative research in liver diseases, career development for early career investigators, and specialized training for front-line providers treating liver patients.

This year’s 26 award recipients — selected from a highly competitive applicant pool — demonstrate both exceptional aptitude and deep interest in liver disease research and treatment. The Foundation’s enduring financial investment in its awards program is reflective of its commitment to providing critical funding for liver research, securing education and training for those caring for people with liver disease, encouraging early investigators to the field, and increasing access to trained providers.

2021 Research Awards

Pinnacle Research Award in Liver Disease

Renee Cottle, PhDRenee Cottle, PhD
Clemson University
Project Title: Nonviral Delivery of Crispr-Cas9 into Hepatocytes for Liver Repopulation Using Acetaminophen Selection
Mentor: Markus Grompe, MD

 

Kuo Du, PhDKuo Du, PhD
Duke University
Project Title: Hippo-YAP Pathway, Ferroptosis of Hepatic Stellate Cells and Liver Fibrosis
Mentor: Anna Mae Diehl, MD, FAASLD

 

Jin Lee, PhDJin Lee, PhD
University of California San Diego
Project Title: Mechanistic analysis of Zfp791 functions in hepatocellular carcinoma
Mentor: Gen-Sheng Feng, PhD

 

Ji-Yeon Shin, PhDJi-Yeon Shin, PhD
Columbia University 
Project Title: LAP1-torsinA complex in NASH and HCC development
Mentor: Howard J. Worman, MD
 

 

The 2021 Pinnacle Research Awards in Liver Disease are made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 

Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Award in Liver Disease

Giuseppe Cullaro, MD, MASGiuseppe Cullaro, MD, MAS
University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Application of Novel Biomarkers of Chronic Kidney Disease to Stratify Risk for Type 1 Hepatorenal Syndrome    
Mentor: Jennifer Cindy Lai, MD, MBA

 

Amar Nijagal, MDAmar Nijagal, MD
University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Defining the role of tumor associated myeloid cells in pediatric hepatoblastoma    
Mentor: Jacquelyn J. Maher, MD

 

Nneka N. Ufere, MDNneka N. Ufere, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: LiverPal: A Randomized Study of Inpatient Palliative Care for Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease
Mentor: Raymond T. Chung, MD, FAASLD

 

Brian Wentworth, MD    Brian Wentworth, MD  
University of Virginia
Project Title: Defining the mechanisms behind and prognosis of adrenal insufficiency in cirrhosis    
Mentor: Zachary Henry, MD

 

Kali Zhou, MD, MAS    Kali Zhou, MD, MAS 
University of Southern California    
Project Title: Combating socioeconomic disparities in hepatocellular carcinoma through geographic late stage hotspots
Mentor: Norah Terrault, MD, MPH, FAASLD

 

The 2021 Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Awards in Liver Disease are made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Bridge Award

Xinshou Ouyang, PhDXinshou Ouyang, PhD
Yale University
Project Title: The hepatocyte metabolic programming in NASH

 

The 2021 Bridge Awards are made possible through unrestricted donations from AASLD and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Gupta Family Pilot Award in PSC Research 

Michael D. Thompson MD, PhDMichael D. Thompson MD, PhD
Washington University School of Medicine
Project Title: Role of Microbiome in Development of Offspring Cholestatic Liver Disease after Maternal Obesogenic Diet Exposure
Mentor: Nicholas O. Davidson, MD, DSc, FAASLD

 

The 2021 Gupta Family Pilot Research Award is made possible through the Gupta Family Research Fund and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 
 

Afdhal / McHutchison LIFER Award

Prashanth Thevkar, PhDPrashanth Thevkar, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center / Harvard Medical School
Project Title: Role of BTK signalosome in alcoholic liver disease
Mentor: Gyongyi Szabo, MD, PhD, FAASLD

 

The 2021 Afdhal / McHutchison LIFER Award is made possible through an independent grant from the Liver Institute and Foundation for Education and Research (LIFER) and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 
 

Autoimmune Liver Disease Pilot Research Award

Hui Wang, PhDHui Wang, PhD
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Project Title: Contribution of microbiome in environmental agent trichloroethylene-mediated autoimmune hepatitis
Mentor: M. Firoze Khan, PhD

 

The 2021 Autoimmune Liver Disease Pilot Research Award is made possible through a generous contribution given to establish this award and unrestricted donations from AASLD Foundation donors. 
 

Anna S. Lok Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Award

Jin Ge, MD, MBAJin Ge, MD, MBA
University of California, San Francisco
Mentor: Jennifer C. Lai, MD, MBA

 

The 2021 Anna S. Lok Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Fellowship Award is made possible through the Anna S. Lok Fund for Excellence in Research and Training and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 
 

Advanced / Transplant Hepatology Award

Katherine Cheng, MDKatherine Cheng, MD
University of California, San Francisco
Mentor: Emily J. Rothbaum Perito, MD

 

 

Jason L. Eccleston, MDJason L. Eccleston, MD
Mayo Clinic Rochester
Mentor: Gregory J. Gores, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Lauren D. Feld, MDLauren D. Feld, MD
University of Washington
Mentor: Renuka Bhattacharya, MD

 

 

Jeremy Louissaint, MDJeremy Louissaint, MD
Columbia University
Mentor: Elizabeth C. Verna, MD, MS

 

 

Julie Osborn, MDJulie Osborn, MD
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Mentor: James E. Heubi, MD

 

 

Hirsh D. Trivedi, MDHirsh D. Trivedi, MD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Mentor: Michelle Lai, MD, MPH

 

 

Kara Wegermann, MDKara Wegermann, MD
Duke University
Mentor: Anna Mae Diehl, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Kelley Weinfurtner, MDKelley Weinfurtner, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Mentor: David E. Kaplan, MD, MSc, FAASLD

 

 

Karn Wijarnpreecha, MD, MPHKarn Wijarnpreecha, MD, MPH
University of Michigan
Mentor: Anna S. Lok, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Carrie R. Wong, MDCarrie R. Wong, MD
University of California, Los Angeles
Mentor: Steven-Huy B. Han, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2021 Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Awards are made possible through unrestricted donations from AASLD and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 
 

NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowship

Tamara M. Major, MSPAS, PA-CTamara M. Major, MSPAS, PA-C
Ochsner Multi-Organ Transplant Institute
Mentor: George Therapondos, MBChB, MPH

 

 

Monica Muzzin, MMSc, PA-CMonica Muzzin, MMSc, PA-C
Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center
Mentor: Nizar Mukhtar, MD

 

The 2021 NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowships are made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, and donors to the AASLD Foundation. 
 

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