Hepatology leaders emerge at AASLD

November 17, 2016  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Anna Lok, M.D.

UMHS’ Anna Lok, M.D., was recently confirmed as the 68th president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases during the annual Liver Meeting in Boston.

Her term begins January 2017 and is the latest achievement by the research pioneer who’s led some of the most important studies in clinical hepatology. She helped the World Health Organization and the AASLD create guidelines that shape the management of hepatitis B worldwide.

U-M faculty, fellows and residents earned recognition and awards at the international meeting, including presenting 13 posters and oral presentations. Professor Robert Fontana, M.D. gave insights on drug-induced liver injury during the Hy Zimmerman State-of-the-Art Lecture.

The closing lecture of the meeting, the Leon Schiff State-of-the-Art Lecture, was delivered by Lok, who gave her vision for eliminating hepatitis B.

Her inspiring message that eradication is possible one day relies on improved vaccinations, preventing mother-to-child transmissions and access to interferon-free antiviral agents.

Looking back on the meeting, “we demonstrated to hepatologists from around the world that Michigan is a dominant program with established as well as emerging leaders,” said Lok, who is the assistant dean for clinical research at the U-M Medical School.

Award highlights from Liver Meeting 2016:

  • In the Academic Debates, U-M beat Massachusetts General Hospital as transplant hepatology trainees Dekey Lhewa, M.D., a fourth year transplant hepatology fellow, and Mary Thomson, M.D., a first year gastroenterology fellow, argued against use of anticoagulation for chronic portal vein thrombosis. Fontana coached the team to win the Liver Cup.
  • An AASLD Foundation Pinnacle Research Award, a three-year basic science award, went to Nataliya Razumilava, M.D., for research on metaplastic transformation of the biliary tract.
  • An AASLD Foundation Clinical and Translational Research Award in Liver Diseases was given to Jessica Mellinger, M.D., a two-year award, for her work in improving outcomes for patients with alcoholic liver disease.
  • The AASLD Emerging Liver Scholar Awards were given to two internal medicine residents: Brian Nadeau, M.D., and Aashesh Verma, M.D.
  • Monica Konerman, M.D., clinical lecturer in internal medicine at UMHS, earned a young investigator travel award.