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31 JULY 2019

Omar Haque Awarded ALF Research Award for Important Work on Liver Graft Regeneration

Hans Popper Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Omar Haque, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

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

 


What is your first memory/experience of wanting to be involved in scientific research?

I remember first entering a lab in my junior year of high school, studying adult neurogenesis in lobster noses at Georgia State. I thought it was so interesting to be involved in work that wasn’t even written in the textbooks I was required to read. The idea of creating knowledge always appealed to me.


How did you learn that you had won an ALF Research Award?

I got an email from the chair of surgery at my institution saying congratulations!


Describe your Research Award Project in very simple (layman) language?

Livers have the miraculous ability to regenerate. Our lab aims to remove parts of a liver from donors, put these livers on a machine that allows them to regrow to transplantable size, and then put them back in patients. We are demonstrating this work in rats before trailing this research in humans.


What do you hope your research project will lead to?

  • In the short term?
    We hope to regenerate livers ex-vivo on a machine perfusion pump that an equivalent or faster rate than is possible in vivo following hepatectomy.
  • In its overall contribution to a specific area of liver research?
    We hope this research translates into one day being able to take small segments of donor livers, allow them to regrow ex-vivo, and then put them back in transplant recipients. The overarching goal is to reduce the massive liver organ shortage that currently exists.

How did you first hear about the ALF Research Award Program?

I heard about ALF through my PI as an institution that always strives to support young investigator research.


What is the one thing you would like readers to know about why liver research is so important?

The liver is an organ that is capable of regeneration, and unlocking the secrets to how this process works has tremendous applications to treat liver disease and decrease the liver organ shortage in the U.S.


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