Liver Diseases Branch

A group of basic and clinical researchers investigating natural history, pathogenesis, fundamental mechanisms and therapeutic innovation in liver diseases. 
About the Branch

Branch Sections & Chiefs

Clinical Hepatology Research Section

Marc Ghany, M.D., M.H.Sc., Section Chief

The Clinical Hepatology Research Section research interests include: (1) identifying host, viral and environmental factors that determine the natural history of chronic viral hepatitis, in particular hepatitis B and C infections; (2) developing novel treatment paradigms for chronic viral hepatitis and (3) elucidating mechanisms of action of therapy and predictors of treatment response for chronic viral hepatitis.

Clinical Research Section

T. Jake Liang, M.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator, Section Chief

The research interests and current focus of the Clinical Section include: (1) natural history, management, genetics and treatment of viral hepatitis; (2) natural history, management, genetics and treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; (3) evaluation of the biology of non-cirrhotic portal hypertension; (4) study of hepatic involvement in other diseases such as Chronic Granulomatous Disease and Sickle Cell Disease; and (5) evaluation, management and therapy of primary biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune hepatitis and metabolic/genetic liver disease.

Genetics and Metabolism Section

Caroline C. Philpott, M.D., Section Chief

The Genetics and Metabolism Section investigates the fate of iron in eukaryotic cells. Although iron is an essential nutrient and forms cofactors critical for hundreds of cellular proteins, our knowledge of the mechanisms controlling the uptake and utilization of this metal remain limited. Recent studies in our lab have focused on the role of chaperones in the intracellular distribution of iron cofactors.

Immunology Section

Barbara Rehermann, M.D., Section Chief

The Immunology Section’s research aims include: (1) innate and adaptive immune responses to viral infections of humans, in particular hepatitis B and C virus infections; (2) immunobiology of the liver and liver cancer; and (3) memory T and B cell responses to vaccination.

Liver Diseases Virology Section

T. Jake Liang, M.D., NIH Distinguished Investigator, Section Chief

The Liver Diseases Virology Section’s research interests include: (1) molecular pathogenesis of hepatitis B and C virus infection; (2) mechanisms of viral hepatocarcinogenesis; (3) viral and innate immunobiology of viral hepatitis; (4) molecular strategies for vaccine and antiviral development; and (5) animal models of liver diseases.

Liver and Energy Metabolism Section

Yaron Rotman, M.D., M.Sc., Section Chief

The Liver and Energy Metabolism Section studies the role of the liver in disorders associated with energy overload, with a specific emphasis on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) - a common liver disorder that is frequently seen together with obesity, diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. We aim to understand mechanisms of fat accumulation in the liver and resultant liver injury, the genetic components of NAFLD and mechanisms of treatment response, using clinical research and basic science tools.

Translational Hepatology Section

Theo Heller, M.D., Section Chief

The fundamental concept underlying the Translational Hepatology Section’s research is that human disease can serve as a window into broad biological processes, the understanding of which could, in turn, lead to treatments for these and other diseases.  The research aims of the group are to: (1) develop understanding of the clinical syndrome of non-cirrhotic portal hypertension, in particular Nodular Regenerative Hyperplasia and Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis; (2) study the biological processes underlying the development of hepatic regeneration leading to Nodular Regenerative Hyperplasia and by extension portal hypertension; and (3) study aspects of viral hepatitis that allow insight into disease mechanisms.

Last Reviewed October 2023