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22 AUGUST 2017

Focus on Research: 2017 Research Awards Program Recipients

Since the American Liver Foundation Research Awards Program began in 1979, we have provided more than $26 million in research funding. It is over 38 years later and we now have hundreds of qualified scientists and physicians who have pursued careers in liver disease research and treatment as a result of receiving these grants.

We are pleased to announce the 2017 research award recipients who come from 11  different institutions around the country with topics ranging from Fatty Liver  Disease, Transplantation, Alcohol-Related Hepatitis, and Liver Failure.

Meet this year’s winners here.

ALF’s 2016 Research Award Receipients had this to say about their Awards…

In 2016, The American Liver Foundation was able to provide research funding to  11 early career scientists and physicians.

When Dr. Ana Catalina Arce-Clachar won an ALF Early Career Research Award, she  was so shocked she almost didn’t believe it. This, despite ALF’s Medical Advisory  Committee deeming her primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) proposal a shoo-in.  Still, “I know how hard these are to get,” she insists. “I guess I never thought I’d  win.”

Looking back, it seems like destiny.  She was the kid in her hometown in Costa Rica collecting bottles for her mini-medical practice. She was the teenage volunteer at the children’s hospital impressed by little kids and their families (“the real heroes”).

The memory of being in medical school when she first saw a child lose his battle with biliary atresia – a disease in infants that often requires a liver transplant by adulthood – haunts her still: “If only we could have brought what’s in this country to my country—what a difference we could have made,” she reflects.

She’s making that difference now, alongside colleagues striving to understand mechanisms behind PSC. They think what they’ll learn could improve treatments and make liver transplants obsolete some day. “Research evolves so quickly. We younger researchers are pretty hungry. We’re energized.”

Why hepatology? This doctor’s answer is almost giddy: “The liver is the coolest organ!

What other researchers have said about receiving the award…

“The 2016 American Liver Foundation Research Scholar Award has provided me with the critical funding required to undertake studies of HCV-related liver disease that will serve as the foundation for future grant applications.”

                                                                     -Holly Ramage, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

“Receiving the Charles Trey, MD Memorial Research Fellowship from the American Liver Foundation is such a great honor. An award like this is validation that others see the benefits that our work can bring to this field.”

                                                                   -Chad M. Walesky, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School


“Having been awarded with the ALF research fellowship reinforces my personal motivation to keep developing innovative and meaningful therapeutic options for patients suffering from liver disease.”

 -Regina Español-Suñer, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

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