Kimpton Alma San Diego
San Diego, California
February 23–24, 2023
Veeral Ajmera, MD
Dr. Veeral Ajmera is Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Ajmera completed his Internal Medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University and Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology fellowships at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). At UCSF, he also completed his Master’s in Clinical Research. Dr. Ajmera is a current member of the UCSD NAFLD Research Center, where he collaborates with a multidisciplinary team of experts on research in noninvasive biomarkers, genetics, and patient factors associated with chronic liver disease severity and prognosis. He is a recipient of an American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Clinical and Translational Research Award and an NIDDK K23 Career Development Award for his work on the noninvasive assessment of patients with NAFLD. He is a coinvestigator for adult hepatology for the NIDDK-sponsored NASH Clinical Research Network and Liver Cirrhosis Network.
Mark Brantly, MD
Dr. Brantly is the Alpha 1 Foundation Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics, and Microbiology in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine and Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida. Professor Brantly did his undergraduate degree at Florida State University and received his MD degree from the University of Florida. His Pulmonary and Research training was at the NHLBI Pulmonary Branch of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He later joined the NICHD Genetics Branch as a section head and concluded his stay at the NIH back in the Pulmonary Division before joining the University of Florida Department of Medicine. Dr. Brantly is the former Scientific Director of the Alpha 1 Foundation, and he is currently a member of the Alpha 1 Foundation Board of Directors. Brantly has co/authored more than 180 publications, and many these publications are on the molecular basis of alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. Much of his recent research has focused on the gain of toxicity associated with the misfolding of Z alpha-1-antitrypsin in the liver and macrophages.
Ginger Clark, MD, MS
Michael Fried, MD
Aleksander Krag, MD
Aleksander Krag, MD, PhD, MBA is Professor and Department Chair, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology Odense University Hospital, Director of Centre for Liver Research (FLASH) Odense University Hospital, and DIAS Chair of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark. He also serves as the Vice Secretary General, European Association for the Study of Liver (EASL) and is the incoming Secretary General 2023–2025.
Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc
Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc is an expert in the clinical management of chronic liver diseases and holds a joint appointment in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Department of Medicine and Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego School of Medicine.
His research focuses on all aspects of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, including aging, epidemiology, genetic and environmental predisposition, natural history, and the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Dr. Loomba is the Principal Investigator for the adult hepatology for the NIDDK-sponsored NASH-CRN (2009–14) and serves on its steering committee. This work is performed in close collaboration with investigators in the Department of Pediatrics and Radiology at UCSD.
Dr. Loomba is the recipient of the American Gastroenterological Association Foundation-Sucampo-ASP Designated Research Award in Geriatric Gastroenterology and the T. Franklin Williams Scholarship Award for 2009–12. The research from this award in liver and aging epidemiology is conducted with strong support from his mentors Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor and Dr. David Brenner. He also participates in teaching in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology T32 training program that is run by Dr. Michael Criqui and Dr. Mathew Allison. Dr. Loomba’s vision is to establish a comprehensive center of excellence in clinical research and epidemiology of liver disease at UCSD.
He utilizes diverse epidemiologic and outcome-focused research methodologies to answer clinically relevant questions. The types of research conducted includes patient-oriented clinical research based on patients seen in the liver clinic, clinical trials, population-based cohort studies, twin studies with Dr. Daniel O’Connor, and clinical decision making by utilizing meta-analytic approaches. He continues to work in close collaboration with his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, where he received his clinical and research training in advanced hepatology.
Dr. Loomba believes in providing compassionate and state-of-the-art care to patients throughout the entire spectrum of liver diseases. Having a strong physician–patient relationship goes a long way in improving medical decision making and facilitates the delivery of high quality, evidence-based medical care in a friendly environment. His keen interest in finding newer and better treatments for patients suffering from liver ailments gives his patients an opportunity to take part in clinical research protocols. Dr. Loomba’s philosophy is that improved outcomes depend on new research and the effective delivery of latest research in clinical practice is a function of a strong physician–patient relationship.
Don Rockey, MD
Dr. Don C. Rockey received his MD from the Medical College of Virginia and completed his internship, residency, chief residency, and fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Rockey then joined the faculty at Duke University Medical Center as Chief of Hepatology and Director of the DUMC Liver Center in North Carolina. He moved to Texas to head the Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases at the University of Texas Southwestern; subsequently, Dr. Rockey joined the Medical University of South Carolina as Chairman of the Department of Medicine. He is currently Director of the MUSC Digestive Disease Research Center and has active research portfolios in basic and clinical science. The general focus of his basic science research has been the study of wound healing, here using the liver as a model system. His laboratory is currently focused on several aspects of the cell and molecular biology of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension. In fact, his laboratory has established key aspects of the cell and molecular basis for portal hypertension. Dr. Rockey has also been actively involved in clinical research focused on liver fibrosis and complications of cirrhosis; the overall direction of these studies has been to help establish management strategies for patients with chronic liver disease. Dr. Rockey has authored and coauthored over 400 scientific manuscripts dealing with GI and liver-related topics, including a number of seminal basic science and clinical studies. He has presented numerous invited lectures at gastroenterology and hepatology symposia around the United States and throughout the world. He is a committed educator and is a particularly dedicated mentor, having mentored nearly 150 different trainees, ranging from undergraduate students to junior faculty members.
Pavel Strnad, MD
Pavel Strnad is a full professor and leading physician at the University Hospital Aachen, Germany. Since 2008, he has headed his own research lab that focuses on translational gastroenterology. In 2016, he was named one of the Rising Stars of United European Gastroenterology. He is heading the European initiative for the study of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency-associated liver disease. His interests include (but are not limited to) metabolic liver disease, liver cirrhosis and complications, keratins, and iron metabolism. His clinical focus is on novel clinical trials, end-stage liver disease, and liver transplantation
Monica Tincopa, MD, MS
Raj Vuppalanchi, MD
Dr. Raj Vuppalanchi is a Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine. He joined the division in 2007 after completing dual fellowships in Clinical Pharmacology and Gastroenterology Hepatology from Indiana University School of Medicine. His clinical and research interests are in the areas of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cholestatic, and autoimmune liver disease (PSC, PBC, and AIH), biomarkers of fibrosis (transient elastography), and novel therapeutics for various liver disorders. He has expertise in the hepatic safety of drugs and herbal and dietary supplements. He serves as a clinical investigator for industry- and NIH-sponsored (NASH-CRN and DILIN) multicenter clinical trials. He also serves as the primary investigator for the Indiana CTSI phase I clinical trials in the hepatic-impaired patient population.
Cynthia Behling, MD
David Brenner, MD
Dr. David Brenner is the CEO of Sanford Burnham Prebys, following more than 15 years as vice chancellor for Health Sciences at UC San Diego.
At UC San Diego, Brenner guided the nearly $2 billion expansion of health sciences, which included the opening of the Jacobs Medical Center and Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute, where scientists try to fast track research discoveries into new drugs and therapies. He also led the development of the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, which is centered on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in its approach to public health research, education, and service.
Brenner is a leader in the field of liver research and is widely respected for his work in advancing laboratory discoveries to the clinical setting. At Sanford Burnham Prebys, he will continue his research on fibrotic liver disease and liver cancer, using this as the foundation for preventing and treating liver disease. Brenner is a former editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology, the premier journal in the field.
Brenner has been instrumental in starting several multidisciplinary efforts in San Diego, including the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the Institute for Genomic Medicine, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the UC San Diego Sanford Clinical Stem Cell Program, and the C3 Cancer Center Consortium (comprising UC San Diego, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and Sanford Burnham Prebys).
Brenner earned his MD from Yale University’s School of Medicine. He was Chief of Gastroenterology at the University of North Carolina and Chair of Medicine at Columbia University before joining UC San Diego in 2007. His professional memberships include the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians (of which he is a past president), and the NIH National Council. At UC San Diego, he led the unprecedented expansion of the medical school. He has also served as a Pew Scholar and a clinical investigator in the Veteran Affairs system.
Jeanine D'Armiento, MD
Dr. Jeanine D’Armiento, MD, PhD is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Anesthesiology and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics. Dr. D’Armiento is a pulmonologist trained in molecular biology with expertise in animal modeling. Her major research focus has been in understanding the role of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in normal physiology and in human disease, here with an emphasis on the processes leading to tissue destruction in the lung and vasculature. Her studies have shown that Alpha-1Antitrypsin protects the lung from damage because of MMPs that are produced during viral injury. Her current work in this area examines a series of therapeutic approaches blocking induction and expression of these proteases in COPD. Additional studies from her laboratory are focused on the development of functional lung imaging methods for potential diagnostic use in lung disease. Clinically, Dr. D’Armiento runs the Center for Lymphangiomyomatosis (LAM) and Rare Lung Disease at Columbia University, which serves one of the largest populations of women with LAM, in addition to patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. She presently serves on the Executive Board of the Alpha-1 Foundation and as a Consultant to the Director of the Office of Rare Disease, NCATs. In addition, Dr. D’Armiento is the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Columbia University Senate.
Janani Iyer, MD
Janani Iyer is a Senior Product Manager at PathAI, where she oversees digital pathology algorithm development and translational science for PathAI’s liver portfolio. She joined PathAI after completing a PhD in biomedical optics at Harvard University.
Mattias Mandorfer, MD
Ruby Mehta, MD
Ruby Mehta, MD
Doctor Mehta is a pediatric gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the FDA. She is team leader in the Division of Hepatology and Nutrition, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. She joined the FDA in January 2014. She completed her pediatric residency from the Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, New York. She further completed her fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology hepatology and nutrition at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, Detroit. She did an additional fellowship in pediatric transplant hepatology at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Emory University. She was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Gastroenterology at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, University of Tennessee, Memphis.
Scott is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Alpha-1 Foundation (A1F) the world’s leading nonprofit organization for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. As CEO, he leads the organization in developing strategies for advancing detection and discovery through clinical and translational research initiatives and investment to achieve their mission. This position followed five years as CEO at the Global Lyme Alliance, where he led the board from a merged entity of two all-volunteer local charities to a fully operational, professionally staffed, global nonprofit dedicated for Lyme disease and tick-borne research and education. Scott directed business strategy, operations, and revenue, generating efforts along with managing a 30-member Board of Directors. In addition, he was responsible for directing a staff of 11 to implement disease-based educational programs and services to increase awareness and hasten advances in diagnostics and treatments, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for patients suffering from tick-borne illnesses. Scott has 30 years of experience as a senior executive with a proven track record in strategic planning, creative messaging and marketing, industry partnership development, clinical research innovation, and raising public awareness for neglected, underfunded, and often stigmatized diseases. Prior to joining GLA, Scott was President and CEO of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) in San Francisco (NKA GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer), where he successfully grew the organization from a regional lung cancer research and patient services organization to a globally recognized leader in the lung cancer community and in the broader oncology research and patient-survivor marketplace. Prior to ALCF, he was President and CEO of the American Lung Association of New York (ALANY) and spent 10 years as the Executive Director and then Chief Operating Officer of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). He received an Executive Leadership Certification from Harvard Business School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Jeffrey Teckman, MD
Dr. Jeff Teckman is the Patricia and James Monteleone Endowed Chair and Director of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He has studied the basic science of liver injury, focusing on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, for 30 years; he has also participated in a variety of clinical trials in metabolic liver disease, viral hepatitis, and cystic fibrosis. He has been active in the alpha-1 patient community and has consulted with many industry partners to develop treatments for liver disease.
Alice Turner, MBChB (Hons), MRCP,
PGCE (MedEd), PhD
Dr. Alice Turner graduated from the University of Leicester and has carried out postgraduate training via the Universities of Dundee and Birmingham and Ashridge-Hult Business School, completing a PhD focused on COPD and alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD), along with postgraduate qualifications in medical education, leadership, and quality improvement (QI). She is now a Professor in Respiratory Medicine at the University of Birmingham and works as a consultant in respiratory medicine at Heartlands and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, where she is the lead for the COPD and AATD services, respectively. In addition, she is a member of the NIHR research prioritization committee and has past experience on a NICE health technology appraisal committee. She has published widely on the topics of COPD and AATD and has ongoing research projects, mainly clinical trials and observational clinical studies, in AATD and COPD funded by the NIHR and others.
Zobair Younossi, MD, MPH
Zobair M Younossi is the President of Inova Medicine and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, Falls Church, Virginia. Dr. Younossi earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (Alpha Omega Alpha 1989) in Rochester, New York. He then completed his residency in Internal Medicine with a fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California, while earning his Master of Public Health with multiple honors from San Diego State University School of Public Health, San Diego, California. He served as Staff Hepatologist and Senior Researcher at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, before establishing the Canter for Liver Diseases at Inova Fairfax Hospital, which is now renowned for research related to outcomes in liver disease and clinical, health services, and translational research in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). He has served as Vice President and Chairman of Research for Inova Health System (2010–2022). He also serves as the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation (2018–Present) and the Board of Inova Health System Foundation (2011–Present). He was appointed by Governors T Kaine and B McDonnell of Virginia to the Board of Directors of Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority (2008–2014). He also served the Virginia Tobacco & Health Research Repository (VTHRR), Board of Directors, America Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate (2010–2012), and Board of the American College of Gastroenterology Institute for Clinical Research & Education (2013–2019). Finally, he has served on multiple committees for AASLD, American College of Gastroenterology, American Gastrointestinal Association, and George Mason University, as well as numerous committees at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus and Inova Health System.
Over the past three decades, Dr. Younossi has pioneered research in NAFLD and has been a leader in the field of patient-reported outcomes (PROs), economic assessment, and outcomes research in liver disease. He leads several international efforts related to NAFLD and PROs in liver disease though global collaborations, including the Chair of the Global NASH Council and Global Liver and NASH Registries, as well as serving as the President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Chronic Liver Foundation. Dr. Younossi specializes in Hepatology and Gastroenterology, has authored over 725 articles, three books, six journal supplements, over 25 book chapters, and over 1000 abstracts presented at international scientific meetings; he has an H-index of 105. He is a highly sought-after speaker and has provided over 480 faculty lectures in national and international meetings. Dr. Younossi has also served as the coeditor of Liver International, Associate Editor of the Journal of Hepatology, and on the editorial board of a number of important medical journals. He has represented the American Association of Liver Disease and American Gastroenterological Association at different congressional meetings.