AASLD: American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases
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Your Gift At Work 

How Does AASLD Spend My Donation?

Donations to The AASLD Liver Research Fund directly support liver research and advanced hepatology training.

What Does My Donation Support?

The AASLD Liver Research Fund supports three types of Awards:

  • Multi-Year Research Awards in Basic, Clinical, and Translational Research
  • One-Year Career Development Awards to encourage front-line providers to pursue specialized training in hepatology
  • Abstract Awards which allow young investigators the opportunity to present their outstanding research to an international audience at The Liver Meeting®

Since 2009, AASLD has provided over $11 Million to advance liver research. This represents the largest single commitment of funding in support of liver research and advanced hepatology training by any professional organization.


 Funded Research Highlight

AASLD/Alpha-1 Foundation Liver Scholar Award

The AASLD/Alpha-1 Foundation Liver Scholar Award was established this year in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency.

Dr. Andrew Chu of the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC was selected to receive the 2013 AASLD/Alpha-1 Foundation Liver Scholar Award for his research Mechanisms of action for autophagy enhancer drugs on alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency-associated liver disease.

Dr. Chu states, "In this grant, I will follow up on recent studies from my mentor's lab that identified a drug, carbamazepine (CBZ), which stimulates liver cells to destroy the mutant protein and reverse liver scarring in a mouse model of the disease. I will use what is known about the chemistry and action of CBZ to discover additional candidate drugs for treatment of this disease."

Further, Dr. Chu plans to, "… make cell lines from patients with (Alpha-1) to test the effect of CBZ and other drugs in a way that is personalized for each patient."

What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?*
Alpha-1 occurs when there is a lack of a protein in the blood called alpha-1 antitrypsin, or AAT. AAT is mainly produced by the liver. The main function of AAT is to protect the lungs from inflammation caused by infection and inhaled irritants such as tobacco smoke.

The low level of AAT in the blood occurs because the AAT is abnormal and cannot be released from the liver at the normal rate. This leads to a build-up of abnormal AAT in the liver that can cause liver disease and a decrease of AAT in the blood that can lead to lung disease.

  • It is estimated that about 1 in every 2,500 Americans have Alpha-1.
  • An estimated 19 million people in the United States are carriers of Alpha-1 (they have one normal and one defective alpha-1 gene).
  • Alpha-1 is the most common genetic cause of liver disease in children.

*What is Alpha-1?. (n.d.). Alpha1 Foundation. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from http://alpha-1foundation.org/what-is-alpha-1/

Award 2012 Total Awards Award Amount Total Funding
AASLD/ALF Liver Scholar 4 $225,000 $900,000
AASLD Advanced/Transplant Hepatology Fellowship 6 $64,000 $384,000
AASLD Career Development Award 1 $90,000 $90,000
AASLD Sheila Sherlock Award 1 $150,000 $150,000
AASLD Clinical & Translation Research Award 1 $150,000  $150,000 
AASLD NP-PA Fellowship 6 $79,000  $79,000 


 Support Liver Research

Liver diseases do not make the headlines, but they afflict an estimated 30 million Americans with a disproportionate impact among men and women in their prime of life. The AASLD Liver Research Fund supports the research & career development awards program which was established to fund new and innovative liver research; increase access for a growing number of liver disease patients to adequately trained hepatology providers, and encourage young investigators to pursue careers in liver research.

Your donation to The AASLD Liver Research Fund will support liver research and advanced hepatology training for front-line providers.

Support Liver Research

 Contact Information

To learn more about how you can support liver disease research, contact our Development Office at 703-299-9766, or email hbruce@aasld.org.