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Ongoing Studies

In our laboratory, we study the role of innate immunity and immune cell activation in liver diseases and in the gut-liver-brain axis. We are studying various murine liver injury models of alcoholic hepatitis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and their relevance to human patient samples and disease. Our recent focus is on the role of microRNAs and extracellular vesicles in immunoregulation in the pathogenesis of liver diseases. Check out the project overviews below or click on the project link at left for a more detailed description!

  • Alcohol and Monocyte Signaling –The overall goal of this research is to define molecular mechanisms that regulate the switch from the acute, anti-inflammatory to the chronic, pro-inflammatory effects of alcohol.
  • Innate Immune Signaling –This application further investigates if the absence of TLR4, but not of the MyD88 adaptor, protects mice from alcoholic liver disease.
  • Role of miR-155 –Micro RNA’s in Alcoholic Liver Disease Investigates the role of miR-155 in development of inflammation in alcoholic liver disease in mice.
  • Biomarker Discovery –Novel Therapies in Alcoholic Hepatitis-: The goal of this component is to test novel therapeutic approaches and reveal new biomarkers in alcoholic hepatitis.
  • Extracellular Vesicles – Bio distribution and function of alcohol-induced exRNA : Extracellular RNAs provide unique ways of communications between cells and organs in health and disease. In this study, we will test the effects of acute alcohol binge drinking and chronic alcohol use on the effects of extracellular leave of micro-RNA-155, a major regulator of inflammation.
  • Clinical Alcoholic Hepatitis – The major goals are to: 1) develop innovative non-invasive biomarkers based on exhaled breath gas analysis and urinary analysis; 2) develop genetic signatures that predict sensitivity of patients to individual and/or combined therapies; 3) develop two lead therapeutics for treating patients with AH in a pre-clinical mouse model.