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Seminar Series: Guest Speakers | 2014-2015

September 10, 2014 | Parnassus Campus | Room S-214 | 9-10am

Steven Kliewer, PhD | University of Texas Southwestern

Professor of Molecular Biology & Pharmacology

Physiology and Pharmacology of the Metabolic Hormones FGF19 and FGF21

A focus of our laboratory is the endocrine fibroblast growth factors, FGF15/19 and FGF21.  We have shown that FGF15/19 regulates bile acid homeostasis and postprandial metabolism, and that FGF21 modulates the adaptive starvation response.  Recently, we demonstrated that FGF21 acts on the nervous system to regulate metabolism, physical activity and female reproduction.  In ongoing studies, we seek to determine the molecular pathways whereby FGF15/19 and FGF21 mediate their pleiotropic effects.


October 22, 2014 | Parnassus Campus | Room S-214 | 9-10am

Tom Rutkowski, PhD | University of Iowa

Associate Professor of Anatomy & Cell Biology

ER protein folding, redox, and lipid catabolism: Why they matter for fatty liver disease and liver cancer

Disruptions to homeostasis in the endoplasmic reticulum—so-called “ER stress”—lead to activation of an adaptive signaling cascade that culminates in transcriptional reprogramming. Classically, this response upregulates the expression of ER chaperones and other factors that improve ER protein folding. However, ER stress in the liver also alters the activity of lipid metabolic and inflammatory pathways. A dysregulated response to ER stress has been implicated in both fatty liver disease and liver cancer, but the mechanisms by which ER stress impinges upon metabolism and the consequences of these actions for ER homeostasis are poorly understood. In this talk I will highlight our recent work on the contribution of ER stress to hepatic steatosis and oncogenesis and the interactions between ER stress signaling, fatty acid oxidation, and the ER redox environment.


December 17, 2014 | Parnassus Campus | Room S-214 | 9-10am

Kinji Asahina, PhD | University of Southern California

Associate Professor of Pathology

Role of mesothelial cells in development, injury, and regeneration

The surface of the internal organs and body cavities is covered with a single layer of mesothelial cells. Although the major function of mesothelial cells is secretion of a lubricating fluid to facilitate movement of the internal organs, recent studies indicate that mesothelial cells act as mesenchymal progenitor cells in development, injury, and regeneration. I would like to talk about differentiation of mesothelial cells to different mesenchymal cell types in embryogenesis and organ fibrosis of the liver and body wall. 


January 21, 2015 | Parnassus Campus | Room S-214 | 9-10am

Scott Nyberg, MD, PhD | Mayo Clinic

Professor of Surgery

"Humanized" spheroid reservoir bioartificial liver

April 29, 2015 | Parnassus Campus | Room S-214 | 9-10am

T. Jake Liang, MD | National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Senior Investigator and Chief, Liver Diseases Branch

Mapping the Molecular Anatomy of HCV Infection by Functional Genomics and Chemical Biology

Dr. Liang's research focuses on the following 3 topics:

  • to understand the mechanisms of action of interferon, ribavirin, and the new class of direct-acting antivirals in HCV therapy, and to explore the biological basis of treatment non-response in order to improve current treatment regimen;
  • to apply molecular, biochemical, and functional genomic tools to identify and characterize structural and functional interactions between the virus, viral gene products, and the host; and
  • to generate novel reagents and tools for developing and evaluating vaccines and antivirals by building and improving on currently available model systems



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