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Research Q&A with Xiaobo Wang

Institution: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York
Project Title: Regulation and Role of TAZ in NASH-Associated Hepatocellular Carcinoma

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

I realized that the gene expression in cells can be proven by cautiously designed experiments and felt so excited after I performed an immunoblot when I was in college.

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

I read the email from American Liver Foundation and realized I had won The ALF Liver Scholar Award when I was routinely checking my emails in the morning.

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

I found that in liver cells, TAZ, a previously unknown factor in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), plays a critical role in initiating fibrosis and that fibrosis stops in mice with NASH when TAZ is inactivated in liver cells. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) also reduced when TAZ was turned off. With this award, my research will aim to understand the mechanism underlying HCC developed from NASH and use this knowledge to develop a mechanism-based strategy to treat chronic liver diseases.

4. What do you hope your research project will lead to:

a. In the short term?

The short-term purpose of my research is to understand the mechanism underlying liver cancer developed from nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

b. In its overall contribution to a specific area of liver research?

My research will provide a mechanism-based strategy to treat nonalcoholic steatohepatitis associated-hepatocellular carcinoma.

5. How did you first hear about the ALF Research Award Program

Google gave me the best answer-The ALF Research Award when I was looking for a grant opportunity to support my study.

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

Liver links all metabolic syndrome-related diseases together including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and even some cancers.


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