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ALF Research Awards Program

Research is integral to the work of the American Liver Foundation (ALF) and is essential to improving treating and finding a cure for liver disease.

Since 1979, the Research Awards Program has provided more than $26 million in research funding. Over 850 qualified scientists and physicians have pursued careers in liver disease research and treatment as a result of receiving these grants early in their careers.

The American Liver Foundation is proud to support these research efforts and is hopeful that they will bring us closer to finding a cure for liver disease.

Contact us here for any questions about these research awards.

2017 ALF Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award Recipient

Dr. Arun Sanyal
Dr. Arun Sanyal is a Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Molecular Pathology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia. He has been a physician-scientist for 25 years and his research has spanned the spectrum of translational science from basic discovery to first in humans and advanced phase clinical trials and regulatory aspects of drug development. He has extensive experience and expertise in team science, and has recently further applied these to alcoholic liver disease and is leading several specific efforts in the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) funded TREAT consortium. He recently established the Liver Forum which provides a neutral platform for FDA, EMA and other stakeholders in fatty liver disorders to work collaboratively on the regulatory science required to accelerate drug development in liver disease. This further requires substantial consensus building and team science.

Naim Alkhouri, MD
Director of the Texas Metabolic Center
Texas Liver Institute
607 Camdem Street
San Antonio, TX 78215

Areas of expertise
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, hepatitis C infection, liver transplantation, pediatric liver disease

Jasmohan S. Bajaj, MD, MS, FACG, AGAF (co-chair)
Associate Professor
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Virginia Commonwealth University and McGuire VA Medical Center
1201 Broad Rock Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23221

Areas of expertise
Cirrhosis and complications

David N. Frick, PhD
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee
3210 N. Cramer Street
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Areas of expertise
Viral Hepatitis (Virology in General), Enzymology, Molecular Genetics, Structural Biology, and Genomics

Richard M. Green, MD
Professor of Medicine
Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
303 E. Chicago Ave.
Tarry 15-719
Chicago, IL 60611

Areas of expertise
cholestatic and fatty liver disease-clinical, cholestatic and fatty liver disease-basic science

Admin: Ralph Federspiel,

Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc (co-chair)
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine,
Associate Director of Clinical Research, Division of Gastroenterology and
Associate Adjunct Professor, Division of Epidemiology
9500 Gilman Drive
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0063

Areas of expertise
nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, advanced imaging, steatosis and its effect of progression of liver disease

Admin: Andrea Jefferson,

Pramod Mistry, MD, BS, FRCP, PhD
Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Cellular & Molecular Physiology
Director, Metabolic Liver and Lysosomal Disease Program
Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine (Digestive Diseases)
Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine
333 Cedar Street/LMP 1080
PO Box 208019
New Haven, CT 06520-8019

Areas of expertise
Metabolic liver disease (inherited and NAFLD); Liver transplantation; Pediatric liver diseases

Admin: Christine Abu-Hanna,

Michael Porayko, MD, FAASLD
Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University Medical Center Clinical
Chief of Hepatology, Department of Medicine Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
1660 The Vanderbilt Clinic
Nashville, TN 37232-5280

Areas of expertise
cholestatic liver disease, viral hepatitis B and C, autoimmune hepatitis, acute liver failure, nutritional abnormalities of chronic liver disease and multiple complications of chronic liver failure including hepatorenal syndrome as well as liver transplantation related topics (e.g immunosuppression, complications, recurrent disease, allograft rejection)

Nikolaos T. Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF
Associate Professor
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Medical Director Liver Transplantation
Rutgers – New Jersey Medical School
University Hospital
185 S. Orange Avenue
MSB H Rm – 536
Newark, NJ 07101-1709

Areas of expertise
Liver transplantation, viral hepatitis, liver cancer, porta hypertensino, dili

Tram Thuy Tran, MD
Medical Director, Liver Transplantation
Cedars Sinai Medical Center
8900 Beverly Blvd., Suite 250
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Area of expertise
Hepatology , transplant hepatology viral hepatitis

Admin: Christina Elmen,

Puneet Puri, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
PO Box 980341
Medical College of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center
Richmond, VA 23298

Areas of expertise
NAFLD, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis and its complications, nutrition in liver disease, lipidomics, metabolomics and microbiome related

Frank A. Anania, MD, FACP, AGAF
R. Bruce Logue Chair in Digestive Diseases
Professor of Medicine
Director, Division of Digestive Diseases
Department of Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine
615 Michael Street, Suite 201
Atlanta, GA 30322

Areas of expertise
fibrosis, stellate cell, FAK, adipocytokine, NASH, innate immunity, fatty acid, metabolic syndrome, gut peptides

Admin: Joan Adamson;

Jayanta Roy-Chowdhury, MBBS, MRCP
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Ullmann Building, Room 523
Bronx, NY 10461

Areas of expertise
Inherited disorders of the liver, stem cell differentiation, hepatocyte transplantation, liver-directed gene therapy

Li Wang, PhD
University of Connecticut
Physiology and Neurobiology – TLS
118 75 North Eagleville Road, Unit 3156
Storrs, CT 06269-3156
(860) 486-0857

Areas of expertise
broad expertise in various liver diseases, including fatty liver (non-alchol and alcohol), NASH, lipid metabolism, cholestasis, bile acid, liver fibrosis, liver cancer, non-conding RNA (microRNA and lncRNA) etc.

Admin: Linda Armstrong;

David Q.H. Wang, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Scientific Director of Molecular Biology and Next Generation Technology Core
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases
Marion Bessin Liver Research Center
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, New York 10461
(718) 430-8865

Areas of expertise
Gallstones, Alcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cholestasis; hepatic bile acid and cholesterol metabolism, intestinal absorption of cholesterol and fatty acids.

Phillip Hylemon, PhD
Professor Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Medical College of Virginia
Virginia Commonwealth University
P.O. Box 980678
1217 E. Marshall Street,
523 Medical Sciences Building
Richmond, VA 23298-0678
St. Louis, MO 63104
804-828-2331, x2332

Areas of expertise
Bile acid signaling in the liver and regulation of nutrient metabolism; human gut microbiome and GI/Liver diseases, cholangiocytes and cholangiocarcinoma

Admin: Emily Gurley, 804-828-2332,

David E. Cohen, MD, PhD
Chief, Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Vincent Astor Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Joan & Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College
1305 York Avenue, 4th Floor, Box 134
New York, NY 10021

Areas of expertise
Lipids, Lipoproteins, Bile Acids, Fatty Liver and Obesity

Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology
Mailing Address: 8700 Beverly Blvd., DAVIS, Suite 2099 Los Angeles, CA 90048

Areas of expertise
Toll-like receptor and cytokine signaling, Liver fibrosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and alcoholic liver disease

Admin: Margarita Castillon,

Bernd Schnabl, MD
Associate Professor
University of California San Diego
Department of Medicine
Division of Gastroenterology
Biomedical Research Facility 2 (BRF2), Room 4A22
9500 Gilman Drive, MC0063
La Jolla, CA 92093

Areas of expertise
basic hepatology research including liver fibrosis, NAFLD/NASH, ALD and microbiome

Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS
Division Chief
Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition,
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Southern California
4650 Sunset Blvd. MS #78
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Areas of expertise
pediatric hepatology, NASH, transplant hepatology

Admin: Claudia Tejeda,

Yaron Rotman, MD, MSc
Clinical Investigator
Liver Diseases Branch
10 Center Drive, Bldg. 10, Rm 9C434, MSC 1800
Bethesda, MD, 20892-1800

Areas of expertise
non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (clinical and basic), genetics, hepatitis C, interferon signaling

Theo Heller, MD
Chief, Translational Hepatology Unit
Liver Diseases Branch, NIDDK
Building 10, room 9B16
10 Center Drive MSC 1800
Bethesda, MD 20814-1800

Areas of expertise
Liver disease, especially non cirrhotic portal hypertension, portal hypertension, viral hepatitis, ciliopathies, and translational aspects of all of these as well as an increasing interest in the microbiome and how it relates to liver disease

Admins: Tanya Brown, or Shalli Keller,

Kari N. Nejak-Bowen, MBA, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pathology
Department of Pathology
University of Pittsburgh
200 Lothrop St, Room S-433
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Areas of expertise
experimental cholestasis, liver regeneration (initiation, proliferation, termination), and the beta-catenin signaling pathway in liver physiology and pathobiology

Nancy S. Reau, MD
Associate Director of Solid Organ Transplantation
Section Chief, Hepatology
Rush University Medical Center
Rush University
1725 West Harrison Street
Professional Building|Suite 319
Chicago, IL 60612

Areas of expertise
Liver Diseases (Hepatology) Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, Liver transplantation, Hepatitis B virus, Hepatitis C virus, Primary liver cancer

Harmeet Malhi, MBBS
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physiology
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Mayo Clinic
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905

Areas of expertise
Liver injury (esp NASH), Macrophage mediated liver injury, Liver inflammation (NASH), Endoplasmic reticulum stress, Apoptosis, Extracellular vesicles

Admin: Courtney Hoover,
She manages calendar and shares phone and fax with Dr. Malhi.

Natalie J. Torok, MD, MSc, AGAF
Professor of Medicine
University of California, Davis
4150 V Street #3500
Sacramento, CA 95817

Areas of expertise
liver fibrosis, NASH, oxidative stress, fibrosis treatment (trials), apoptosis, alcoholic liver disease

Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD
Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0063
La Jolla, CA 92093-0063

Areas of expertise
NAFLD/NASH, Obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, microbiome, microRNAs, bile acid signaling (FXR/TGR5), circadian rhythms, metabolism

Huiping Zhou, PhD
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
1217 East Marshall Street
KMSB 5th Floor, Room 533
Richmond, VA 23298

Areas of expertise
bile acids and hepatic lipid metabolism, Sphingosine-1 phosphate and GPCR signaling, NAFLD/NASH, Cholestasis, Cholangiocarcinoma, ER stress, alcohol and drug-induced liver injury, Inflammation, bile acid metabolism and microbiome, alternative and complementary medicine

Admin: Emily C. Gurley,, 804-828-2332

Wajahat Mehal, MD, DPhil
Associate Professor
Section of Digestive Diseases
Director Yale Metabolic Health and Weight Loss Program
Director Yale Tissue Regeneration and Fibrosis Program
Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
Section of Digestive Diseases
333 Cedar Street/1080 LMP
P.O. Box 208019
New Haven, CT 06520-8019
Office Location & Courier Address:
One Gilbert Street
TAC Bldg, Room #S241
New Haven, CT 06519

Areas of expertise
Immunology, inflammation, NASH, fibrosis

Admin: Gina Clark,; 203-737-6063

Ariel Feldstein, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology,
Hepatology, and Nutrition
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. # 0715
La Jolla, CA 92093-0715

Areas of expertise
NASH; liver fibrosis; basic mechanism of liver inflammation and injury; HCC

Admin: Debra McIntosh;; 858-966-8908

Don C. Rockey, MD
Chairman, Department of Internal Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
96 Jonathan Lucas Street, Suite 803
Charleston, SC 29425

Areas of expertise
Basic, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, Portal Hypertension, Vascular Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Clinical, Cirrhosis, Drug induced liver injury, outcomes

Admin: Megan Gibson

Vipin Kumar, MS, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Laboratory of Immune Regulation
University of California San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail code: 0637
Medical Teaching Facility Bldg., Rm # 414
La Jolla, CA 92093-0637

Areas of expertise
CD8+ Treg/CD8+ suppressor cells, LPC-reactive type II NKT cells, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, anti-tumor immunity, ALD, NASH, type I and type II NKT cells

Are there any funding opportunities for pre-doctoral students at the American Liver Foundation?

Currently there are no funding opportunities for pre-doctoral students.


Must my project focus on basic science? Can I submit a project focused on clinical studies?

Either basic science or clinical studies are eligible for funding.


My fellowship program is 3 year program but my second and third years are dedicated to research training. I am currently in my 3rd year of the program. Does this make me ineligible for the Postdoctoral Award?

The amount of years of actual research training is counted, so you are still eligible.


One of our transplant doctors is interested in submitting for a Liver Scholar Award however his salary is already covered so he would like to hire a tech and purchase supplies instead of using the award solely for his salary support. Would that be acceptable?

No, the Liver Scholar Award must be used for salary support only.


Can I apply for both a Liver Scholar Award and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award?

No, you must apply for one or the other.


I am a faculty member but my job title is Postdoctoral Associate. Prior to this appointment, I was a post-doctoral fellow for 2 years. Am I still eligible for a Liver Scholar Award?

If you are a faculty member then you can apply. Clearly state in your commitment letter from your department chair that you have a faculty appointment.

Scott L. Friedman, MD

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Anna Suk-Fong Lok, MD

University of Michigan Health System

Raymond Schinazi, PhD, DSc

Emory University, Center for AIDS Research

Charles M. Rice, PhD

The Rockefeller University

Allan W. Wolkoff, MD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Robert H. Purcell, MD

National Institutes of Health

George K. Michalopoulos, MD, PhD

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Snorri S. Thorgeisson, MD, PhD

National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

Neil Kaplowitz, MD

University of Southern California School of Medicine

Roberto J. Groszmann, MD

West Haven VA Medical Center, West Haven, CT

Nelson Fausto, MD

University of Washington School of Medicine

Harvey J. Alter, MD

National Institutes of Health

Nancy L. Bucher, MD

Boston University School of Medicine

David A. Shafritz, MD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

James L. Boyer, MD

Yale University, New Haven, CT

Irwin M. Arias, MD

Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA

Francis V. Chisari, MD

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

American Liver Foundation Liver Scholar Award
$75,000 annually/3 years; $225,000 total

Graham Brady, MD, PhD
University of Michigan

Role of the nuclear lamina in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Mentor: M. Bishr Omary, MD, PhD

Charles Trey, MD Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Yongfeng Song, MD, PhD
University of Connecticut

ZEB1/EpCAM Axis in LncRNA H19-Mediated Cholestasis
Mentor: Li Wang, PhD

NASH Fatty Liver Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Mariana L. Acuña, PhD
Cornell University

ACOT12-Mediated Acetyl-CoA Degradation in the Pathogenesis of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Mentor: David E. Cohen, MD, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award
$12,500/1 year

Enis Kostallari, PhD
Mayo Clinic

PDGFR-alpha trafficking through hepatic stellate cell-derived extracellular vesicles
Mentor: Vijay H. Shah, MD

Irwin M. Arias, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Paul J. Wrighton, PhD
Brigham and Women’s Hospital / Harvard Medical School

How Liver Stiffness Promotes Liver Cancer
Mentor: Wolfram Goessling, MD, PhD

Alexander M. White, III Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Kazuki Takeshi, MD, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

Mass Production of iPS-derived Hepatocytes to engineer Autologous Liver Graft
Mentor: Alejandro Soto-Gutierrez, MD, PhD

Hans Popper Memorial Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Ruisi (Rose) Wang, PhD
The Rockefeller University

Novel stem cell approaches to explore hepatic stellate cell biology
Mentor: Charles M. Rice, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award
$12,500/1 year

Liuyi Hao, PhD
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The role of ATF4 in alcoholic hepatitis
Mentor: Zhanxiang Zhou, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award
$12,500/1 year

Barent N. DuBois, PhD
Chapman University School of Pharmacy

Effect of acute-on-chronic liver failure on drug metabolism in the brain.
Mentor: Reza Mehvar, PharmD, PhD

Herman Lopata Memorial Hepatitis Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
$12,500/1 year

Chun-Hao Huang, PhD
The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley

Understanding cellular immune response to viral translation during liver damage
Mentor: Jennifer A. Doudna, PhD

American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Award
$12,500/1 year

Wei Wang, MD
New York University School of Medicine

Role of gamma delta-T cells in the pathogenesis of NASH
Mentor: George Miller, MD

Hepatitis Fund for the Cure Liver Scholar Award

Holly Ramage, PhD
University of Pennsylvania

Characterizing the Role of Host Cell Ubiquitylation Machinery in HCV Infection
Mentor: Sara R. Cherry, PhD

NASH Fatty Liver Disease Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Michele Alves-Bezerra, PhD
Weill Cornell Medicine

Phospholipid-mediated control of hepatic insulin signaling
Mentor: David E. Cohen, MD, PhD

Herman Lopata Memorial Hepatitis Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Joshua A. Jackman, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine

Engineering Platform for Deciphering Inositol-Binding Domains in Hepatitis C Virus
Mentor: Jeffrey S. Glenn, MD, PhD

Thomas E. Starzl, MD Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Negin Karimian, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital / Harvard Medical School

A Novel Approach to Improve Organ Viability and Availability before Orthotopic Liver Transplantation
Mentor: Korkut Uygun, PhD

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