2020 Research and Career Development Award Recipients

AASLD Foundation is pleased to announce our investment in hepatology’s future continues to grow. This year, we have committed over $2.2 million in funding towards our Research and Career Development Awards. These awards:

  • Secure education training for those caring for patients with liver disease
  • Provide critical funding for new and innovative liver research
  • Encourage young investigators new to the field
  • Increase access to trained hepatology providers for patients with liver disease

This year’s 24 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 young investigators to the field, and increasing access to trained providers.

2020 Research Awards

Pinnacle Research Award in Liver Disease

Petra Hirsova, PharmD, PhDPetra Hirsova, PharmD, PhD
Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Project Title: New Insights into Intercellular Communication in NASH
Mentor: Gregory J. Gores, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Cholsoon Jang, PhDCholsoon Jang, PhD
University of California, Irvine
Project Title: The protective role of small intestinal fructose metabolism in hepatic steatosis
Mentor: Timothy R. Morgan, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Pinnacle Research Awards in Liver Diseases are made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, NovoNordisk and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Award in Liver Transplantation

In memory of the University of Michigan Transplant Team

Juliet Emamaullee, MD, PhDJuliet Emamaullee, MD, PhD
University of Southern California
Project Title: Multiplexed Immune Profiling of Rejection in Pediatric Liver Transplantation
Mentor: Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Award in Liver Transplantation is made possible through an independent grant from NovoNordisk and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Award in Liver Disease

Vincent Chen, MDVincent Chen, MD
University of Michigan
Project Title: Integrating genetic and environmental factors to predict risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Mentor: Elizabeth K. Speliotes, MD, PhD, MPH

 

 

Allison J. Kwong, MDAllison J. Kwong, MD
Stanford University
Project Title: Defining phenotypes of alcohol-related liver disease
Mentor: W. Ray Kim, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Clinical, Translational, and Outcomes Research Award in Liver Diseases is made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, Pfizer, and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Bridge Award

Samar IbrahimSamar Ibrahim
Mayo Clinic, Rochester
Project Title: Lipotoxicity and Liver Inflammation

 

 

The 2020 Bridge Award is made possible through unrestricted donations from AASLD and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Gupta Family Pilot Research Award in PSC

Weici Zhang, PhDWeici Zhang, PhD
University of California, Davis
Project Title: DUtilizing Glycans Biology as a Unique Biomarker in PSC
Mentor: M. Eric Gershwin, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Gupta Family Pilot Research Award is made possible through the Gupta Family Research Fund and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Pilot Research Award

Brian DeBosch, MD, PhDBrian DeBosch, MD, PhD
Washington University
Project Title: Hepatic Arginase 2 as a novel fasting-induced factor to treat NAFLD and NASH
Mentor: Nicholas O. Davidson, MD, DSc, FAASLD

 

 

Jun Wu, PhDJun Wu, PhD
University of Michigan
Project Title: A novel cholinergic circuitry in hepatic regulation
Mentor: Liangyou Rui, PhD

 

 

The 2020 Pilot Research Awards are made possible through unrestricted donations from AASLD and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

AASLD Foundation / PSC Partners Seeking a Cure Pilot Award

Yu Du, PhDYu Du, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Studying Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis by Bioengineered in vitro Vascular Biliary Model
Mentor: Rebecca G. Wells, MD

 

 

The 2020 AASLD Foundation / PSC Partners Seeking a Cure Pilot Award is made possible through an independent grant from PSC Partners Seeking a Cure.

Afdhal / McHutchison LIFER Award

Eleonora Scorletti, MD, PhDEleonora Scorletti, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Perilipin 2 Polymorphisms in Hepatic Lipid Regulation
Mentor: Rotonya M. Carr, MD

 

 

The 2020 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.

Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship in Liver Disease

Sonja Lang, MDSonja Lang, MD
University of California, San Diego
Project Title: Intestinal virome and mycobiome in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
Mentor: Bernd Schnabl, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Clinical and Translational Research Fellowship in Liver Disease is made possible by donors to the AASLD Foundation.

Autoimmune Hepatitis Pilot Research Award

Therese Bittermann, MDTherese Bittermann, MD
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Exploring the epidemiology and management of autoimmune hepatitis in the U.S. – a novel population-based study
Mentor: Cynthia Levy, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Marc ShermanMarc Sherman, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: : Improving Diagnosis and Classification of Autoimmune Hepatitis with Single-Cell Expression Profiling and Tissue Banking
Mentor: Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Autoimmune Hepatitis Pilot Research Awards are made possible through the AASLD Foundation Autoimmune Hepatitis Research Fund established by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

Autoimmune Liver Diseases Pilot Research Award

Lindsey Kennedy, PhDLindsey Kennedy, PhD
Indiana University
Project Title: Sex-Dependent Estrogen Signaling Promotes Mast Cell Activation and Histamine Signaling in Primary Biliary Cholangitis
Mentor: Heather L. Francis, PhD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 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

Jessica Rubin, MD, MPHJessica Rubin, MD, MPH
University of California, San Francisco
Project Title: Risks of opioid and non-opioid analgesics in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis
Mentor: Jennifer C. Lai, MD, MBA

 

 

The 2020 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

Julia Boster, MDJulia Boster, MD
University of Colorado
Project Title: Radiologic and Mechanistic Assessment of Sarcopenia in Children with Chronic Liver Disease
Mentor: Shikha S. Sundaram, MD, MSCI, FAASLD

 

 

Lauren Grinspan, MD, PhDLauren Grinspan, MD, PhD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Project Title: Harnessing the Microbiome to Optimize Treatment of Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Mentor: Augusto Villanueva, MD, PhD

 

 

Andrew Moon, MD, MPHAndrew Moon, MD, MPH
University of North Carolina
Project Title: Improving the care of patients receiving locoregional therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma by monitoring symptoms via patient reported outcomes
Mentor: Michael W. Fried, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Yedidya Saiman, MD, PhDYedidya Saiman, MD, PhD
University of Pennsylvania
Project Title: Development of an Imaging Based Point of Care Algorithm to Predict Development of Clinically Significant Sarcopenia in Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease
Mentor: David E. Kaplan, MD, MSc, FAASLD

 

 

Nneka Ufere, MDNneka Ufere, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital
Project Title: Advance Care Planning Video Decision Support Tool for Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease
Mentor: Raymond T. Chung, MD, FAASLD

 

 

The 2020 Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Awards are made possible through unrestricted donations from AASLD, Mallinckrodt and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowship

Alyson L. Harty, BSNAlyson L. Harty, BSN
The Mount Sinai Hospital
Mentor: Douglas T. Dieterich, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Sarah Johnson, BSN, MSSarah Johnson, BSN, MS
The Ohio State University
Mentor: Adam J. Hanje, MD, FAASLD

 

 

Devon Kiker, FNP-CDevon Kiker, FNP-C
University of California, San Francisco
Mentor: Marina M. Roytman, MD

 

 

The 2020 NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowships are made possible through independent grants and unrestricted donations from AASLD, Gilead Sciences, Merck, Mallinckrodt and donors to the AASLD Foundation.

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