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Research Awards Program

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Research is essential to ALF in improving, treating and finding a cure for liver disease

Since 1979, the Research Awards Program has provided more than $26 million in research funding. Over 850 qualified scientists and physicians have pursued careers in liver disease research and treatment as a result of receiving these grants early in their careers.

The American Liver Foundation is proud to support these research efforts and is hopeful that they will bring us closer to finding a cure for liver disease.

Contact us here for any questions about these research awards.

View 2019 Award Recipients Here

The 2020 ALF Research Awards Program


Unfortunately, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ALF will not be awarding research funding in 2020.  We remain optimistic that we will weather the crisis during these unprecedented circumstances, and hope to restart the program again in the near future.

The 2020 Research Award Program application window has closed.

The 2020 Research Award Program application window has closed.

Applications are reviewed by leaders in the field of hepatology. Scores are based on the scientific merit of the research proposal and commitment to a career in hepatology. The number of awards and fellowships granted is contingent on the number of qualified applicants and available funding.

The American Liver Foundation provides equal opportunity for all research and fellowship award applicants without regard to race, color, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, military or veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by state or federal law.

Download the 2020 Request for Proposals

Naim Alkhouri, MD
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C infection, liver transplantation, pediatric liver disease

Jasmohan S. Bajaj, MD, MS, FACG, AGAF (co-chair)
Cirrhosis and complications

David E. Cohen, MD, PhD
Lipids, Lipoproteins, Bile Acids, Fatty Liver and Obesity

Ariel Feldstein, MD
NASH; liver fibrosis; basic mechanism of liver inflammation and injury; HCC

David N. Frick, PhD
Viral Hepatitis (Virology in General), Enzymology, Molecular Genetics, Structural Biology, and Genomics

Chandrashekhar Gandhi, PhD, FAASLD
Liver fibrosis, Acute liver injury, Alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatic stellate cells.

Richard M. Green, MD
Cholestatic and fatty liver disease-clinical, cholestatic and fatty liver disease-basic science

Theo Heller, MD
Liver disease, especially non cirrhotic portal hypertension, portal hypertension, viral hepatitis, ciliopathies, and translational aspects of all of these as well as an increasing interest in the microbiome and how it relates to liver disease

Phillip Hylemon, PhD
Bile acid signaling in the liver and regulation of nutrient metabolism; human gut microbiome and GI/Liver diseases, cholangiocytes and cholangiocarcinoma

Kusum Kharbanda, Ph.D
Alcoholic Liver Disease

Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS
Pediatric hepatology, NASH, transplant hepatology

Vipin Kumar, MS, PhD
CD8+ Treg/CD8+ suppressor cells, LPC-reactive type II NKT cells, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, anti-tumor immunity, ALD, NASH, type I and type II NKT cells

Keith D. Lindor, MD
Cholestatic liver diseases, particularly primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc (co-chair)
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, advanced imaging, steatosis and its effect of progression of liver disease

Harmeet Malhi, MBBS
Liver injury (esp NASH), Macrophage mediated liver injury, Liver inflammation (NASH), Endoplasmic reticulum stress, Apoptosis, Extracellular vesicles

Wajahat Mehal, MD, DPhil
Immunology, inflammation, NASH, fibrosis

Pramod Mistry, MD, BS, FRCP, PhD
Metabolic liver disease (inherited and NAFLD); Liver transplantation; Pediatric liver diseases

Alan Mullen, MD, PhD
Liver fibrosis, chronic liver disease; viral hepatitis; abnormal liver function tests, NAFLD; noncoding RNA regulation of hepatic stellate cells

Laura E. Nagy, PhD
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease, innate immunity  and cell death

Kari N. Nejak-Bowen, MBA, PhD
Experimental cholestasis, liver regeneration (initiation, proliferation, termination), and the beta-catenin signaling pathway in liver physiology and pathobiology

Yury Popov, MD, PhD
Liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, fibrosis reversal, antifibrotic therapies, animal models, integrins, hepatic stellate cells, hepatic progenitor cells, cholangiocytes, collagens, cross-linking, extracellular matrix.

Michael Porayko, MD, FAASLD
Cholestatic liver disease, viral hepatitis B and C, autoimmune hepatitis, acute liver failure, nutritional abnormalities of chronic liver disease and multiple complications of chronic liver failure including hepatorenal syndrome as well as liver transplantation related topics (e.g immunosuppression, complications, recurrent disease, allograft rejection)

Puneet Puri, MD
NAFLD, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis and its complications, nutrition in liver disease, lipidomics, metabolomics and microbiome related

Nancy S. Reau, MD
Liver Diseases (Hepatology) Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, Liver transplantation, Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, Primary liver cancer

Don C. Rockey, MD
Basic, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, Portal Hypertension, Vascular Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Clinical, Cirrhosis, Drug induced liver injury, outcomes

Yaron Rotman, MD, MSc
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (clinical and basic), genetics, hepatitis C, interferon signaling

Jayanta Roy-Chowdhury, MBBS, MRCP
Inherited disorders of the liver, stem cell differentiation, hepatocyte transplantation, liver-directed gene therapy

Bernd Schnabl, MD
Basic hepatology research including liver fibrosis, NAFLD/NASH, ALD and microbiome

Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD
Toll-like receptor and cytokine signaling, Liver fibrosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease

Shikha Sundaram, MD, MSCI
Pediatric liver disease, pediatric liver transplant and pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Natalie J. Torok, MD, MSc, AGAF
Liver fibrosis, NASH, oxidative stress, fibrosis treatment (trials), apoptosis, alcoholic liver disease

Hugo E. Vargas, MD
Management of HCV and HBV in Transplantation; Portal Hypertension Management; Alcoholic Liver Disease

David Q.H. Wang, MD, PhD
Gallstones, Alcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cholestasis; hepatic bile acid and cholesterol metabolism, intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fatty acids.

Li Wang, PhD
Broad expertise in various liver diseases, including fatty liver (non-alchol and alcohol), NASH, lipid metabolism, cholestasis, bile acid, liver fibrosis, liver cancer, non-coding RNA (microRNA and lncRNA) etc.

Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD
NAFLD/NASH, Obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, microbiome, microRNAs, bile acid signaling (FXR/TGR5), circadian rhythms, metabolism

Huiping Zhou, PhD
Bile acids and hepatic lipid metabolism, Sphingosine-1 phosphate and GPCR signaling, NAFLD/NASH, Cholestasis, Cholangiocarcinoma, ER stress, alcohol and drug-induced liver injury, Inflammation, bile acid metabolism and microbiome, alternative and complementary medicine

Are there any funding opportunities for pre-doctoral students at the American Liver Foundation?

Currently there are no funding opportunities for pre-doctoral students.


Must my project focus on basic science? Can I submit a project focused on clinical studies?

Either basic science or clinical studies are eligible for funding.


My fellowship program is 3 year program but my second and third years are dedicated to research training. I am currently in my 3rd year of the program. Does this make me ineligible for the Postdoctoral Award?

The amount of years of actual research training is counted, so you are still eligible.


One of our transplant doctors is interested in submitting for a Liver Scholar Award however his salary is already covered so he would like to hire a tech and purchase supplies instead of using the award solely for his salary support. Would that be acceptable?

No, the Liver Scholar Award must be used for salary support only.


Can I apply for both a Liver Scholar Award and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award?

No, you must apply for one or the other.


I am a faculty member but my job title is Postdoctoral Associate. Prior to this appointment, I was a post-doctoral fellow for 2 years. Am I still eligible for a Liver Scholar Award?

If you are a faculty member then you can apply. Clearly state in your commitment letter from your department chair that you have a faculty appointment.

Past ALF Award Program Recipients

Charles Trey, MD Memorial Liver Scholar Award

$75,000 annually/3 years; $225,000 total

Hien Dang

Hien Dang, PhD
Thomas Jefferson University

Project: Genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screening for synthetic lethal targets in NELFE/MYC HCC
Mentor:  Jonathan Brody, PhD

Learn more about Dr. Dang and her research project…

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Awards

$12,500 over 1 year

Jessica Llewellyn

Biliary Atresia Fund for the Cure Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award

Jessica Llewellyn, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Project: Identification and characterization of fibrogenic cell of the extrahepatic bile duct
Mentor:  Rebecca G. Wells, MD

Learn more about Jessica and her research…

Omar Haque

Hans Popper Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Omar Haque, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Project: Ex-Vivo Liver Graft Regeneration via Normothermic Machine Perfusion in a Two-Thirds Partial Hepatectomy Model
Mentors: Korkut Uygun, PhD & James F. Markmann, MD, PhD

Learn more about Dr. Omar Haque and his research…

Debanjali Dasgupta

Alexander M. White, III Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award

Debanjali Dasgupta, PhD
Mayo Clinic, Rochester

Project: Hepatic IRE1alpha activation induces EV release, leading to hepatic injury
Mentor:  Harmeet Malhi, MBBS

Learn more about Debanjali and her research…

Taylor Coe

Irwin M. Arias, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Taylor M. Coe, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital

Project: Role of IdeS in Depletion of IgG to Reduce Antibody Mediated Graft Damage in Non-Human Primate Liver Xenotransplantation
Mentor:  James F. Markmann, MD, PhD

Learn more about Dr. Coe and her research…

Research Award Recipients

American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Award
$75,000 annually/3 years; $225,000 total

Xiaobo Wang, PhD
Columbia University
Project: “Regulation and Role of TAZ in NASH-Associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma”
Mentor: Ira A. Tabas, MD, PhD
Click more to learn more about Dr. Wang and his research project

American Liver Foundation PBC Fund for the Cure Award
100,000 over 1 year

Marina Silveira, MD
Yale University
Project: “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Treatment of Fatigue in Patients with PBC”
Click Here to learn more about Dr. Silveira and her research project

Weici Zhang, PhD
University of California, Davis
Project: “IGFBP4 Expression Licenses Macrophage Immune-Mediated Biliary Destruction in PBC”
Click here to learn more about Dr. Weici Zhang and her research project

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Awards
12,500 over 1 year

Irwin M. Arias, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Norihiro Imai, MD, PhD
Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Project: “Muscle-Specific Metabolic Regulation by Thioesterase Superfamily Member 2 (Them2) in the Pathogenesis of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”
Mentor:  David E. Cohen, MD, PhD
Click here to learn more about Imai and his research

Hans Popper Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Aveline Filliol, PhD
The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Project: “Role of HSC and ECM in the Development of Hepatocellular Carcinoma”
Mentor: Robert F. Schwabe, MD
Click here to learn more about Dr. Aveline Filliol and her research

Sandra Steensels, PhD
Joan & Sanford I. Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Project: “Thioesterase-mediated Control of Hepatic Lipid and Glucose Homeostasis”
Mentor: Baran A. Ersoy, PhD
Click here to learn more about Dr. Steensels and her research

James Heslop, PhD
Medical University of South Carolina
Project: “The Role of GATA6 in Endoderm Formation and Hepatic Specification”
Mentor: Stephen A. Duncan
Click here to learn more about Dr. Heslop and his research

American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Award
$75,000 annually/3 years; $225,000 total

Graham Brady, MD, PhD
University of Michigan
Role of the nuclear lamina in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Mentor: M. Bishr Omary, MD, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Award Winners
$12,500 over 1 year

Yongfeng Song, MD, PhD
University of Connecticut
ZEB1/EpCAM Axis in LncRNA H19-Mediated Cholestasis
Mentor: Li Wang, PhD

Mariana L. Acuña, PhD
Cornell University
ACOT12-Mediated Acetyl-CoA Degradation in the Pathogenesis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Mentor: David E. Cohen, MD, PhD

Enis Kostallari, PhD
Mayo Clinic
PDGFR-alpha trafficking through hepatic stellate cell-derived extracellular vesicles
Mentor: Vijay H. Shah, MD

Paul J. Wrighton, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School
How Liver Stiffness Promotes Liver Cancer
Mentor: Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD

Kazuki Takeshi, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Mass Production of iPS-derived Hepatocytes to engineer Autologous Liver Graft
Mentor: Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, MD, PhD

Ruisi (Rose) Wang, PhD
The Rockefeller University
Novel stem cell approaches to explore hepatic stellate cell biology
Mentor: Charles M. Rice, PhD

Liuyi Hao, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The role of ATF4 in alcoholic hepatitis
Mentor: Zhanxiang Zhou, PhD

Barent N. DuBois, PhD
Chapman University School of Pharmacy
Effect of acute-on-chronic liver failure on drug metabolism in the brain.
Mentor: Reza Mehvar, PharmD, PhD

Chun-Hao Huang, PhD
The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley
Understanding cellular immune response to viral translation during liver damage
Mentor: Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD

Wei Wang, MD
New York University School of Medicine
Role of gamma delta-T cells in the pathogenesis of NASH
Mentor: George Miller, MD

American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Award
$75,000 annually/3 years; $225,000 total

Hepatitis Fund for the Cure Liver Scholar Award

Holly Ramage, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Characterizing the Role of Host Cell Ubiquitylation Machinery in HCV Infection
Mentor: Sara R. Cherry, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards
$12,000 over 1 year

NASH Fatty Liver Disease Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Michele Alves-Bezerra, PhD
Weill Cornell Medicine
Phospholipid-mediated control of hepatic insulin signaling
Mentor: David E. Cohen, MD, PhD

Herman Lopata Memorial Hepatitis Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Joshua A. Jackman, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Engineering Platform for Deciphering Inositol-Binding Domains in Hepatitis C Virus
Mentor: Jeffrey S. Glenn, MD, PhD

Thomas E. Starzl, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Negin Karimian, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School
A Novel Approach to Improve Organ Viability and Availability before Orthotopic Liver Transplantation
Mentor: Korkut Uygun, PhD

Charles Trey, MD Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Chad M. Walesky, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School
A Balancing Act: Role of HNF4α/β-catenin in Hepatobiliary Development and Cholangiocarcinoma Formation
Mentor:  Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD

Hans Popper Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Ju Dong Yang, MD
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Detection of Actionable or Predictive Tumor DNA Mutations in Peripheral Blood (Liquid Biopsy) from Patients with Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA)
Mentor:  Lewis R. Roberts, PhD

Irwin M. Arias, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Janice E. Yang, PhD
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
The role of hyaluronan synthase-2 in the pathogenesis of Liver Fibrosis
Mentor:  Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD

Thomas F. Nealon, III Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Honoring Zachary Rue

Anna L. Peters, MD, PhD
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Control of cholangiocyte proliferation by innate lymphoid cells
Mentor:  Jorge A. Bezerra, MD

Congressman John Joseph Moakley Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Regina Español-Suñer, PhD
University of California, San Francisco
In vivo reprogramming of scar tissue into hepatocytes as a therapy for liver fibrosis
Mentor:  Holger Willenbring, MD, PhD

PSC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Ana Catalina Arce-Clachar, MD
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
The role of TGR5 signaling in the pathogenesis of murine fibrosing cholangitis and its response to pharmacological inhibition of intestinal bile acid reuptake
Mentor:  Alexander Miethke, MD

Roger L. Jenkins, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Stephanie A. Kingman, MD
The Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles
Gene Therapy-Corrected Autologous Hepatocyte-Like Cells from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells For the Treatment of Pediatric Single Enzyme Disorders
Mentor:  Gerald S. Lipshutz, MD

Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award

The Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award is prestigious award honoring a scientist who has made a major contribution to liver disease research in basic science or in its application towards the prevention, treatment or cure of liver disease.

Download the 2020 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award Nomination Form. 
Nominations are due by August 28th.

David Brenner, MD
Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego

Michael Houghton, PhD
Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute, University of Alberta

Arun Sanyal, MD
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

Scott L. Friedman, MD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Anna Suk-Fong Lok, MD

University of Michigan Health System

Raymond Schinazi, PhD, DSc

Emory University, Center for AIDS Research

Charles M. Rice, PhD

The Rockefeller University

Allan W. Wolkoff, MD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Robert H. Purcell, MD

National Institutes of Health

George K. Michalopoulos, MD, PhD

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Snorri S. Thorgeisson, MD, PhD

National Cancer Institute

Neil Kaplowitz, MD

University of Southern California School of Medicine

Roberto J. Groszmann, MD

West Haven VA Medical Center

Nelson Fausto, MD

University of Washington School of Medicine

Harvey J. Alter, MD

National Institutes of Health

Nancy L. Bucher, MD

Boston University School of Medicine

David A. Shafritz, MD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

James L. Boyer, MD

Yale University

Irwin M. Arias, MD

Tufts University School of Medicine

Francis V. Chisari, MD

The Scripps Research Institute

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