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Hepatic stellate cell biology

Hepatic stellate cells are the primary cell type responsible for the production the fibrotic scar in chronic liver injury. Regardless of the underlying cause of chronic injury, it is the progressive expansion of fibrosis that leads to the symptoms of liver failure and is associated with the increased risk of liver cancer. A major focus of our research is to understand the pathways that promote the activation of hepatic stellate cells and the development and progression of fibrosis. Working with primary human hepatic stellate cells in culture, we have performed high throughput screens to identify genes and pathways that regulate fibrosis and can be targeted to inhibit disease progression.