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Faculty Profiles

Jennifer Lai, MD
MED-CAMPUS-GI
Assistant Professor

513 Parnassus Ave, Med Sci
San Francisco, CA 94143

Dr. Lai is a general and transplant hepatologist who specializes in caring for patients with chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune disorders, and cirrhosis, particularly those awaiting liver transplantation.


Her academic mission is to improve the lives of patients with end-stage liver disease through the application of core principles of geriatrics into the care of patients with cirrhosis. Examples of these principles include assessing and reversing physical frailty, reducing polypharmacy, and integrating palliative care into liver transplantation. She is principal investigator of the NIH-funded Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation (FrAILT) Study, which is actively enrolling patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation for assessments of physical frailty both before and after liver transplantation.


After earning her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and combined MD/MBA degrees from Tufts University, she completed residency at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and gastroenterology and advanced/transplant hepatology fellowships at UCSF. She is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Society of Transplantation, American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology, and International Liver Transplantation Society. She has been recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP). She serves as Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation, Transplantation,and is a member for the Editorial Board for Liver Transplantation.

Education and Training

Location Degree or Training Specialty Date
UCSF Fellowship in Advanced/Transplant Hepatology 2012
UCSF Fellowship in Gastroenterology 2011
UCSF Advanced Training in Clinical Research 2010
Columbia University Medical Center Internship/Residency Department of Medicine 2008
Tufts University School of Medicine M.D./M.B.A. School of Medicine 2005
Stanford University B.S. 2000

Awards and Honors

2016   Clinical Science Career Development Award, American Society of Transplantation, 2016
2016   AST/Novartis Faculty Development Award (grant), American Society of Transplantation, 2016-2017
2015   New Investigator Award, American Geriatrics Society, 2015
2015   Young Investigator Award, International Liver Transplantation Society, 2015
2014   Associate Scholar Genius Award (grant), UCSF Pepper Center, 2014-2015
2014   Paul B. Beeson Scholar in Aging Research (grant), American Federation for Aging Research, 2014-2019
2013   Pilot for Junior Investigator Award (grant), UCSF Resource Allocation Program, 2013-2014
2013   T. Franklin Williams Scholar (grant), Association of Specialty Professors, 2013-2015
2013   Pilot/Feasibility Award (grant), UCSF Liver Center, 2013-2014
2013   Pilot Award in Aging Research (grant), UCSF Pepper Center, 2013-2014
2012   Fellow, American College of Physicians, 2012-curr
2012   Junior Faculty Career Development Award (grant), American College of Gastroenterology, 2012-2015
2011   Vanguard Award, International Liver Transplantation Society, 2011
2011   Clinical Research Award (grant), American College of Gastrenterology, 2011-2012
2011   Transplant Hepatology Fellowship (grant), American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, 2011-2012
2009   Sylvia Allison Kaplan Clinical Research Award (grant), Northern California Kaiser Permanente, 2009-2010
2005   Alpha Omega Alpha, Tufts University School of Medicine, 2005

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In the News

Recent Articles (49)

Clinical Liver Disease. A framework to determine when liver transplantation is futile. 2016; 8:137-9.

Pavasini R, Guralnik J, Brown JC, di Bari M, Cesari M, Landi F, Vaes B, Legrand D, Verghese J, Wang C, Stenholm S, Ferrucci L, Lai JC, Bartes AA, Espaulella J, Ferrer M, Lim JY, Ensrud KE, Cawthon P, Turusheva A, Frolova E, Rolland Y, Lauwers V, Corsonello A, Kirk GD, Ferrari R, Volpato S, Campo G. Short Physical Performance Battery and all-cause mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2016 Dec 22; 14(1):215.

Kuo SZ, Haftek M, Lai JC. Factors Associated with Medication Non-adherence in Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2016 Dec 08.

Salazar J, Saxena V, Kahn JG, Roberts JP, Mehta N, Volk M, Lai JC. Cost-Effectiveness of Direct-Acting Anti-viral Treatment in Hepatitis C-infected Liver Transplant Candidates with Compensated Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Transplantation. 2016 Dec 06.

Lai JC. Editorial: Advancing Adoption of Frailty to Improve the Care of Patients with Cirrhosis: Time for a Consensus on a Frailty Index. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016 Dec; 111(12):1776-1777.

Samoylova ML, Covinsky KE, Haftek M, Kuo S, Roberts JP, Lai JC. Disability in Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease: Results from the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation (FrAILT) Study. Liver Transpl. 2016 Nov 24.

Giard JM, Decker KA, Lai JC, Gill RM, Logan AC, Fix OK. Acute Liver Failure Secondary to Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis during Pregnancy. ACG Case Rep J. 2016 Aug; 3(4):e162.

Bajaj JS, O'Leary JG, Tandon P, Wong F, Garcia-Tsao G, Kamath PS, Maliakkal B, Biggins SW, Thuluvath P, Fallon MB, Subramanian RM, Vargas HE, Lai J, Thacker LR, Reddy KR. Hepatic Encephalopathy Remains an Important Independent Determinant of Mortality in Cirrhosis: A Multi-Center NACSELD Experience. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Oct 5.

Kathpalia P, Smith A, Lai JC. Underutilization of palliative care services in the liver transplant population. World J Transplant. 2016 Sep 24; 6(3):594-8.

Lai JC, Volk ML, Strasburg D, Alexander N. Performance-based measures associate with frailty in patients with end-stage liver disease. Transplantation. 2016 Aug 5.

Wang CW, Feng S, Covinsky KE, Hayssen H, Zhou LQ, Yeh BM, Lai JC. A Comparison of Muscle Function, Mass, and Quality in Liver Transplant Candidates: Results From the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation Study. Transplantation. 2016 Jun 1.

Lai JC. Defining the threshold for too sick for transplant. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2016 Apr; 21(2):127-32.

Lai JC, Covinsky KE, Hayssen H, Lizaola B, Dodge J, Roberts JP, Terrault NA, Feng S. Response to clinical assessments of health status as a potential marker to identify patients who are too sick to undergo transplantation. Liver Int. 2016 Apr; 36(4):611.

Lai JC, Roberts JP. ABO-Nonidentical Liver Transplantation in the United States. Am J Transplant. 2016 Aug; 16(8):2430-6.

Lai JC, Dodge JL, Sen S, Covinsky K, Feng S. Functional decline in patients with cirrhosis awaiting liver transplantation: Results from the functional assessment in liver transplantation (FrAILT) study. Hepatology. 2016 Feb; 63(2):574-80.

Wang CW, Covinsky KE, Feng S, Hayssen H, Segev DL, Lai JC. Functional impairment in older liver transplantation candidates: From the functional assessment in liver transplantation study. Liver Transpl. 2015 Dec; 21(12):1465-70.

Kwong AJ, Lai JC, Dodge JL, Roberts JP. Outcomes for liver transplant candidates listed with low model for end-stage liver disease score. Liver Transpl. 2015 Nov; 21(11):1403-9.

Saxena V, Lai JC. Kidney Failure and Liver Allocation: Current Practices and Potential Improvements. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2015 Sep; 22(5):391-8.

Volk ML, Goodrich N, Lai JC, Sonnenday C, Shedden K. Decision support for organ offers in liver transplantation. Liver Transpl. 2015 Jun; 21(6):784-91.

Campos-Varela I, Lai JC, Verna EC, O'Leary JG, Todd Stravitz R, Forman LM, Trotter JF, Brown RS, Terrault NA. Hepatitis C genotype influences post-liver transplant outcomes. Transplantation. 2015 Apr; 99(4):835-40.

Lai JC, Bikle DD, Lizaola B, Hayssen H, Terrault NA, Schwartz JB. Total 25(OH) vitamin D, free 25(OH) vitamin D and markers of bone turnover in cirrhotics with and without synthetic dysfunction. Liver Int. 2015 Oct; 35(10):2294-300.

Lai JC, Covinsky KE, Hayssen H, Lizaola B, Dodge JL, Roberts JP, Terrault NA, Feng S. Clinician assessments of health status predict mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation. Liver Int. 2015 Sep; 35(9):2167-73.

Lai JC, Shoback DM, Zipperstein J, Lizaola B, Tseng S, Terrault NA. Bone Mineral Density, Bone Turnover, and Systemic Inflammation in Non-cirrhotics with Chronic Hepatitis C. Dig Dis Sci. 2015 Jun; 60(6):1813-9.

Bissell DM, Lai JC, Meister RK, Blanc PD. Role of delta-aminolevulinic acid in the symptoms of acute porphyria. Am J Med. 2015 Mar; 128(3):313-7.

Sharpton SR, Feng S, Hameed B, Yao F, Lai JC. Combined effects of recipient age and model for end-stage liver disease score on liver transplantation outcomes. Transplantation. 2014 Sep 15; 98(5):557-62.

Lai JC, Covinsky K, Feng S. The octogenarian donor: can the liver be "younger than stated age"? Am J Transplant. 2014 Sep; 14(9):1962-3.

Feng S, Lai JC. Expanded criteria donors. Clin Liver Dis. 2014 Aug; 18(3):633-49.

Lai JC, Feng S, Terrault NA, Lizaola B, Hayssen H, Covinsky K. Frailty predicts waitlist mortality in liver transplant candidates. Am J Transplant. 2014 Aug; 14(8):1870-9.

Schwartz JB, Lai J, Lizaola B, Kane L, Markova S, Weyland P, Terrault NA, Stotland N, Bikle D. A comparison of measured and calculated free 25(OH) vitamin D levels in clinical populations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 May; 99(5):1631-7.

Schwartz JB, Lai J, Lizaola B, Kane L, Weyland P, Terrault NA, Stotland N, Bikle D. Variability in free 25(OH) vitamin D levels in clinical populations. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Oct; 144 Pt A:156-8.

Lai JC, Kahn JG, Tavakol M, Peters MG, Roberts JP. Reducing infection transmission in solid organ transplantation through donor nucleic acid testing: a cost-effectiveness analysis. Am J Transplant. 2013 Oct; 13(10):2611-8.

Lai JC, Feng S, Vittinghoff E, Roberts JP. Offer patterns of nationally placed livers by donation service area. Liver Transpl. 2013 Apr; 19(4):404-10.

Halldorson JB, Paarsch HJ, Dodge JL, Segre AM, Lai J, Roberts JP. Center competition and outcomes following liver transplantation. Liver Transpl. 2013 Jan; 19(1):96-104.

Lai JC, Feng S, Roberts JP. An examination of liver offers to candidates on the liver transplant wait-list. Gastroenterology. 2012 Nov; 143(5):1261-5.

Lai JC, O'Leary JG, Trotter JF, Verna EC, Brown RS, Stravitz RT, Duman JD, Forman LM, Terrault NA. Risk of advanced fibrosis with grafts from hepatitis C antibody-positive donors: a multicenter cohort study. Liver Transpl. 2012 May; 18(5):532-8.

Saxena V, Lai JC, O'Leary JG, Verna EC, Brown RS, Stravitz RT, Trotter JF, Krishnan K, Terrault NA. Recipient-donor race mismatch for African American liver transplant patients with chronic hepatitis C. Liver Transpl. 2012 May; 18(5):524-31.

Verna EC, Valadao R, Farrand E, Pichardo EM, Lai JC, Terrault NA, Brown RS. Effects of ethnicity and socioeconomic status on survival and severity of fibrosis in liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C virus. Liver Transpl. 2012 Apr; 18(4):461-7.

Lai JC, Roberts JP, Vittinghoff E, Terrault NA, Feng S. Patient, center and geographic characteristics of nationally placed livers. Am J Transplant. 2012 Apr; 12(4):947-53.

Brandman D, Pingitore A, Lai JC, Roberts JP, Ferrell L, Bass NM, Terrault NA. Hepatic steatosis at 1 year is an additional predictor of subsequent fibrosis severity in liver transplant recipients with recurrent hepatitis C virus. Liver Transpl. 2011 Dec; 17(12):1380-6.

Lai JC, Verna EC, Brown RS, O'Leary JG, Trotter JF, Forman LM, Duman JD, Foster RG, Stravitz RT, Terrault NA. Hepatitis C virus-infected women have a higher risk of advanced fibrosis and graft loss after liver transplantation than men. Hepatology. 2011 Aug; 54(2):418-24.

Lai JC, Feng S, Roberts JP, Terrault NA. Gender differences in liver donor quality are predictive of graft loss. Am J Transplant. 2011 Feb; 11(2):296-302.

Lai JC, Terrault NA, Vittinghoff E, Biggins SW. Height contributes to the gender difference in wait-list mortality under the MELD-based liver allocation system. Am J Transplant. 2010 Dec; 10(12):2658-64.

Monto A, Schooley RT, Lai JC, Sulkowski MS, Chung RT, Pawlotsky JM, McHutchison JG, Jacobson IM. Lessons from HIV therapy applied to viral hepatitis therapy: summary of a workshop. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 May; 105(5):989-1004; quiz 988, 1005.

Lai JC, Montero A, Lebwohl B, Brown RS. A novel housestaff educational model for quaternary-care patients at an academic health center. Acad Med. 2009 Feb; 84(2):206-11.

Lai JC, Pichardo EM, Emond JC, Brown RS. Resource utilization of living donor versus deceased donor liver transplantation is similar at an experienced transplant center. Am J Transplant. 2009 Mar; 9(3):586-91.

Schmoldt A, Benthe HF, Haberland G. Digitoxin metabolism by rat liver microsomes. Biochem Pharmacol. 1975 Sep 1; 24(17):1639-41.

Holder AA, Wootton JC, Baron AJ, Chambers GK, Fincham JR. The amino acid sequence of Neurospora NADP-specific glutamate dehydrogenase. Peptic and chymotryptic peptides and the complete sequence. Biochem J. 1975 Sep; 149(3):757-73.

Pringle JR. Methods for avoiding proteolytic artefacts in studies of enzymes and other proteins from yeasts. Methods Cell Biol. 1975; 12:149-84.

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