NAFLD is a highly complex disorder with extremely complex pathogenesis that can include metabolic, genetic, and inflammatory contributors. This pathology can progress into non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), an aggressive form of fatty liver disease marked by liver inflammation and, in later stages, advanced cirrhosis and liver failure. Despite an estimated NAFLD prevalence of 25% worldwide, there are no available pharmacotherapeutics for NAFLD and the attempts at drug development have been marked by challenges. Therefore, it is necessary to better understand the pathology’s molecular mechanisms to develop new and effective therapies.
We are excited to disclose that the winner of the Biognosys Grant Program 2021 is
Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH, from Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Our warmest congratulations! Her proposal was selected because of its excellent scientific value and its future impact on patients. In addition, we were impressed by the inspiring passion that she brings into research and her remarkable contributions to the field over the years. We are very excited to be able to work with Dr. Wattacheril and her team at Columbia University Irving Medical Center to push the frontiers of liver research together.
Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH, comments:
“One of the passions in my career has been meaningfully integrating technologic advances into patient care. Some of those advances occur in the lab, others in the clinic, but all have to translate to an improved well-being in the patients in our care. The integration of next-generation sequencing strategies and proteomics in the context of a disease as complex as NAFLD and in a population as unique as ours is challenging; however, opportunities to address these challenges are exciting and lead us towards a novel understanding of the proteome and its role in the disease.”
Julia Wattacheril, MD, MPH, is the Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Program director at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Her clinical interests span general and transplant hepatology, with emphasis on metabolic liver disease and obesity. In addition, her research interests focus on hepatic steatosis/steatohepatitis and insulin resistance. Dr. Wattacheril graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Then, she obtained her MD with high honors from Baylor College of Medicine and did her internal medicine training at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Wattacheril pursued her fellowship in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition as well as her Masters in Public Health at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. During this time, she created a biorepository and co-led translational proteomics and lipidomics projects using mass spectrometry to investigate protein and lipid relationships in human liver funded by T32 and Digestive Diseases Research Center grants. She then moved to New York City to complete her transplant hepatology fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she then stayed on as faculty, expanding her translational work using omics approaches in NAFLD applying and implementing precision medicine in a very diverse population.
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