Today, the American Liver Foundation (ALF) announced ten new liver research awards that will fund early career scientists working in basic and translational liver disease research. Three researchers will receive a Liver Scholar Award, and seven will receive a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award to help advance research in liver biology and disease.
“Funding research today helps fuel tomorrow’s cures,” said Lorraine Stiehl, Chief Executive Officer, American Liver Foundation. “After a necessary pause in funding for our research program during COVID, we were thrilled to relaunch our research program earlier this summer and are very proud to announce the winners of our 2023 research awards.”
Led by ALF’s National Director of Research Program Management, Helene Jordan, PhD, a Grants Review Committee comprised of three co-chairs and 36 other medical professionals and research scientists, along with a Liver Patients Group reviewed a record number of grant applications. To ensure fairness, the reviewers followed a rigorous process that took place over several months and was modeled after best practices established by the National Institute of Health. The 2023 research awards, totaling $850,000 over a three-year period, include research topics such as lipid metabolism, biomarkers, genetics, microbiome immune response,and liver environment, and address important questions in the pathophysiology of fatty liver disease (now called steatotic liver disease), pediatric liver disease, rare liver disease, liver cancer, fibrosis/cirrhosis, and alcohol-associated liver disease.
Receiving the 2023 Liver Scholar Awards, which includes $225,000 in funding over three years are:
• Maria E. Moreno-Fernandez (n.e Fields), PhD, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Regulatory CD4+ T (Treg) cells in the pathogenesis of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD)
• Sujith Rajan, PhD, NYU Grossman Long Island School of Medicine, Role of adipose MTP in the regulation of plasma lipids and hepatic steatosis
• Beng San Yeoh, PhD, The University of Toledo Health Science Campus, Interplay between Diet and Gut Microbiota in Portosystemic shunt-associated MASH-HCC
Receiving the 2023 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Awards, which includes $25,000 in funding for one year are:
• Jieun Kim, PhD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Regulation and Role of CXCL12/CXCR4 Axis on Metastatic Microenvironmental Remodeling in Fatty Liver
• David Li, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, The effects of lipid composition on hepatocyte lipid droplet crystal formation, mechanics, and fibrogenicity
• Vineeth Daniel Poovannalil, PhD, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Lipotoxic ER stress upregulates S100A11 in an epigenetic manner contributing to liver inflammation in MASH
• John Sincavage, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Fetal Research, In Utero Epigenetic Editing in a Humanized Mouse Model of Hereditary Tyrosinemia Type 1: Building a Therapeutic Paradigm for Congenital Metabolic Liver Disease
• Atsushi Sugimoto, PhD, Columbia University, Role of hepatic stellate cells in liver homeostasis, injury and regeneration
• Themis Thoudam, PhD, Indiana University, Mechanism of PDK4 in mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial function in alcohol-associated liver disease
• Changyu Zhu, PhD, Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, The crosstalk between fatty liver disease and liver metastasis
“On behalf of the American Liver Foundation, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the Grants Review Committee and Liver Patients Group which so meticulously reviewed a very robust and competitive group of submissions,” said Emmanuel Thomas, MD, PhD, FAASLD, Board Chair of ALF. “These grants will go a long way to help provide insight to some of the most critical issues in liver disease today and we congratulate all of the winners.”
Since 1979, ALF’s research awards program has provided nearly $28 million in research funding. More than 870 qualified scientists and physicians have pursued research careers in liver biology, disease and treatment because they received these grants early in their careers. In addition to the Liver Scholar and Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Awards, ALF also offers the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, a prestigious honor acknowledging 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. Read more about the 2023 DSAA award winner.
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The American Liver Foundation is the nation’s largest non-profit organization focused solely on promoting liver health and disease prevention. The American Liver Foundation achieves its mission in the fight against liver disease by funding scientific research, education for medical professionals, advocacy, information and support programs for patients and their families as well as public awareness campaigns about liver wellness and disease prevention. The mission of the American Liver Foundation is to promote education, advocacy, support services and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. For more information visit liverfoundation.org or call:1 800 GO LIVER (800-465-4837).