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Research by Faculty


Parnassus/Mt Zion/Mission Bay

Jody Baron

Dr. Baron’s research focuses on the immune response to hepatitis B infection. She has successfully modeled the immune response that follows primary HBV infection using specialized transgenic mouse systems. She recently uncovered age-dependent differences in the immune response to hepatitis B that mimic differences seen in humans (young individuals tend to develop persistent infection, whereas adults tend to clear the virus). Her lab is working to identify factors that contribute to age-related differences in the immune response to HBV.

Kendall Beck

Dr. Beck's interests include general gastroenterology, as well as inflammatory conditions of the bowel with a focus on short bowel syndrome and intestinal rehabilitation.

D. Montgomery Bissell

Dr. Bissell is an expert in cell and extracellular matrix biology with a focus on the liver. He has made seminal contributions to hepatology research including the development of methods for primary hepatocyte culture and the identification of stellate cells as the principal collagen producers in the liver. He also studied the involvement of hepatic progenitor cells in the process of tissue replacement and remodeling, and identified an important role for the TNF-like cytokine TWEAK as a trophic factor for hepatic progenitor cells. Dr. Bissell also studies hepatic porphyrias, and is a member of a national Rare Disease Clinical Research Consortium for these diseases. The purpose of the network is to integrate translational studies of the porphyrias with clinical trials testing new therapeutics.

Danielle Brandman

Dr. Brandman engages in outcomes-based research involving nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). She is one of the investigators on the NIH-funded NASH clinical research network. She works on several clinical trials involving investigative medications to treat NAFLD and liver fibrosis. She has a special interest in NAFLD and liver transplantation: the post-transplant outcomes of patients with NAFLD, selection of patients with NAFLD for transplant, recurrence of NAFLD following transplant, new-onset NAFLD after liver transplantation for other causes of liver disease, and the closely related condition, post-transplant metabolic syndrome. She is also evaluating the impact of pre-transplant predictors of post-transplant kidney function as the site PI for the NIH-funded study, Models for Optimal Liver Transplant Outcomes (MOLTO).

Najwa El-Nachef

Dr. El-Nachef’s interests include Celiac Disease, Women’s Health, General Gastroenterology and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Bilal Hameed

Dr. Hameed investigates the epidemiology and management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and sleep apnea in fatty liver disease. He is also engaged in modeling outcomes in advanced liver disease and liver transplantation.

Priya Kathpalia

Dr. Kathpalia specializes in motility disorders of the GI tract in addition to general gastroenterology. Her interests include esophageal disorders, swallowing disorders including achalasia, eosinophilic esophagitis, and scleroderma.

Michael Kattah

As an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the Division of GI at UCSF, Dr.Kattah is interested in the molecular underpinnings of intestinal inflammation and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). His team employ various tools to study intracellular signaling proteins involved in cell death and inflammation. Currently, they are using chemical screening and proteomics to try and develop novel therapies for IBD and other autoimmune diseases. They are also performing translational studies on mucosal biopsies from IBD patients, including generating and testing intestinal organoids.

Jennifer Lai

Dr. Jennifer C. 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. She is also actively engaged in patient-oriented clinical research within three major areas: integrating core principles of geriatrics (e.g., frailty, disability, palliative care, multi-morbidity) to patients with cirrhosis, investigating disparities in organ allocation and distribution as well as assessing the impact of liver donor quality on outcomes. As the principal investigator for the NIH-funded Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation (FrAILT) study, Lai aims to apply measures of frailty and functional status to patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation. Her research lays the groundwork for therapeutic interventions aimed at "pre-habilitating" patients awaiting liver transplantation to improve their outcomes and quality of life.

Susan Lynch

Dr. Lynch’s human microbiome research program focuses on the gastrointestinal and airway microbiomes and their influence on the development and maintenance of chronic inflammatory disease. She studies the early-life origins of chronic inflammatory disease and has demonstrated a role for the neonatal gut microbiome and its metabolic products as a predictor of allergic asthma development in childhood. She is also interested in established inflammatory conditions and has shown that distinct microbiota exist in adults with IBD, chronic sinusitus or HIV-infection, which relate to immunologically and pathologically distinct disease endotypes. Her group has pioneered the application of newly developed statistical approaches to the multi-dimensional microbiome data sets developed by next generation sequencing approaches. They have developed and made publicly available custom scripts and novel tools to facilitate such analyses. In addition, they have developed novel ex vivo assays to assess the capacity of human microbiota, specific microbial species or their products to elicit host immune responses ex vivo, providing an objective assessment of their immunomodulatory capacity. Dr. Lynch founded and directed the Microbiome Research Core, and is the Associate Director of the Microbiome in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Program at UCSF. She has also co-founded and served as a board member of Siolta Therapeutics, a start-up company at QB3 that focuses on translating bench-based human microbiome findings into effective therapeutics for prevention or treatment of immune disorders.

Averil Ma

Dr. Averil Ma is Director of the UCSF IBD Center. He oversees translational and basic research in IBD and other inflammatory diseases.

Basic research in the laboratory studies molecular mechanisms that preserve tissue health and prevent inflammation. These include host-commensal interactions at mucosal interfaces as well as other potential triggers of cell stress. We have focused upon a subset of proteins that regulate ubiquitin dependent signaling pathways, as these proteins: (1) prevent inflammatory diseases and cancer in human patients; (2) prevent inflammation in experimental mice; (3) restrict NFkB signaling and immune cell activation; (4) prevent cell death; and (5) preserve tissue integrity. Two potent regulators of ubiquitination are A20 and its binding partner, ABIN-1 (A20 Binding Inhibitor of NFkB). Ongoing studies utilize genetic engineering, signaling, and mass spectrometry techniques to unravel the cellular and biochemical mechanisms by which A20, ABIN-1 and related proteins restrict ubiquitin dependent signals and intestinal immune homeostasis. They are capitalizing on these molecules to pursue novel approaches of preventing inflammatory diseases. Translational research in the laboratory seeks to convert insights from biochemical and mouse based biology toward the biology of human tissues. The lab is also studying human immune cells and intestinal epithelial cells in efforts to better characterize disease subtypes as well as to optimize treatments.

Uma Mahadevan

Dr. Mahadevan specializes in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which includes ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, pouchitis and microscopic colitis. She has a particular interest in pregnancy and fertility in IBD, as well as in clinical trials of experimental therapy for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Her current projects include the PIANO Registry - a national prospective registry of pregnancy outcomes and drug safety in 1000 women with IBD and the effects of IBD medications on newborns with IBD. She also studies the role of the environment, diet and microbiome in the development of IBD in people of South Asian descent. Finally, she conducts multiple trials of novel therapy for IBD as well optimizing the use of currently available therapy.

Neil Mehta

Dr. Mehta’s research focus is on outcomes for patients with HCC both in those awaiting liver transplant and also following liver transplant. He is also actively studying outcomes on the practice of “down-staging” HCC prior to liver transplantation. Dr. Mehta is also studying the risk of HCC recurrence post-transplant based on transplant waiting times, tumor markers, and explant pathology and has recently created and validated an HCC recurrence risk score termed RETREAT (Risk Estimation of Tumor Recurrence After Transplant) to enhance post-transplant surveillance strategies and determine who may benefit from neoadjuvant therapies.

James Ostroff

Coming soon

Marion Peters

Dr. Peters studies viral hepatitis in the context of HIV infection. She has led the Hepatitis Working Group within the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) since 2005. She recently completed a study evaluating two mathematical algorithms, the aminotransferase/platelet ratio index (APRI) and fibrosis-4 (FIB-4), as predictors of death in WIHS participants with HCV infection. She is also is examining the impact of gender and hormonal status on liver disease progression in HIV/HCV co-infection, as well as other co-factors that influence liver disease progression in co-infected patients such as alcohol and cannabis use. Through her work with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group, Dr. Peters develops protocols for treatment of hepatitis B and C in co-infected patient cohorts.

Jennifer Price

Jennifer Price Dr. Jennifer Cohen Price is a gastroenterologist and liver expert, or hepatologist, who specializes in treating patients who are awaiting liver transplants. In her research, she addresses liver disease in HIV infection, treatment of viral hepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Monika Sarkar

Dr. Monika Sarkar is a transplant hepatologist with a particular research interest in women's health, including the role of sex hormones in the progression of liver disease and liver disease in pregnancy. She earned her medical degree at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and completed internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania. She then completed fellowships in gastroenterology and transplant hepatology, as well as her Masters in Clinical Research at UCSF. Dr. Sarkar supervises the training of medicine residents and both gastroenterology and liver transplant fellows. She has funding from the NIH to study the role of sex hormones in women with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), including women with polycystic ovarian syndrome given their increased risk of NAFLD and early onset of liver scarring.

Aparajita Singh

Dr. Aparajita Singh is the Director of Quality Improvement for the Division of Gastroenterology and her research interests are improving quality and safety of patient care and implementing tools for measuring and improving quality indicators.

As Associate Director for the Gastrointestinal Clinic Cancer Prevention Clinic she is interested in managing patients with hereditary gastrointestinal cancers like Lynch Syndrome and Familial Adenomatous Polyposis. Her research interests includes improving quality of care for Lynch syndrome patients, understanding multi-gene panel testing for gastrointestinal cancer patients and use of web based tools to improve care of this patient population.

Norah Terrault

Dr. Terrault's research focuses on the epidemiology and natural history of hepatitis C and hepatitis B, particularly in special populations such as those undergoing liver transplantation. She monitors the impact of numerous variables on pre- and post-transplant outcomes, including race, gender and hepatic steatosis. With collaborators she is working to develop new models that predict fibrosis progression in HCV-infected populations. Dr. Terrault is UCSF site PI for the NASH CRN and Co-PI for the HBV CRN. She is Co-Investigator on the Solid Organ Transplantation in HIV study and the A2ALL Living Donor Liver Transplantation cohort. She is also contributing to the Bay Area Hepatitis C Cooperative Research Center by developing retrospective and prospective cohorts of patients with hepatitis C for immunological study.

Jonathan Terdiman

Dr. Terdiman's research interests are related to GI cancer prevention and inflammatory bowel disease. Ongoing research projects are investigating the optimal provision of genetic counseling and testing for hereditary cancer syndromes and cancer risk mitigation through chemoprevention and endoscopic surveillance. Dr Terdiman also is engaged in research examining new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease, including therapies to manipulate the microbiome such as fecal transplant.

Bruce Wang

Dr. Wang’s lab studies how the different cell types in the liver, in particular the hepatocyte, are generated during development, patterned and maintained during adulthood, and regenerate after injury. The long-term goals of the lab are to improve the understanding of liver disease pathophysiology and develop novel methods of treatment for liver diseases, including cell replacement therapy. Currently, the lab has two major research focuses: