Organization & Leadership

Organization and Leadership
Rudi Schmid, Founder of the UCSF Liver Center


Center Leadership | External Advisory Board

Internal Executive Committee | Liver Center Organizational Chart

Center Leadership
Program Director
Director - Cell Biology Core

Jacquelyn J. Maher, MD
Dr. Maher is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Chief of the GI Division at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She has been a member of the Liver Center since 1988.  Her research focuses on fatty liver disease and mechanisms of liver cell toxicity.  She has been Director of the UCSF Liver Center since 2007.


Associate Director
Enrichment Program Director and Pilot-Feasibility Program Director

Holger F. Willenbring, MD, PhD
Dr. Willenbring is a Professor of Surgery and a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research. He has been a member of the Liver Center since 2005. His research interests include liver regeneration and liver cell transplantation, mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis, and approaches to the treatment and reversal of liver fibrosis.


Assistant Director
Director -- Clinical & Translational Core

Sandy Feng, MD, PhD
​Dr. Feng is a Professor of Surgery and Director of the Abdominal Transplant Fellowship Program at UCSF. She has been a member of the Liver Center since 2008. Dr. Feng's research focuses on transplant immunology, with a particular interest on determinants of organ tolerance. She has led the Clinical & Translational Core since its development in 2012.


Director Emeritus
D. Montgomery Bissell, MD
Dr. Bissell is an internationally recognized expert in liver cell biology and liver fibrosis. He has been affiliated with the Liver Center since its inception and was the Program Director from 1998-2007. Dr. Bissell is a past President of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and past Editor-in-Chief of the journal HEPATOLOGY.


Director — Immunology Core

Jody L. Baron, MD, PhD
Dr. Baron is an Associate Professor of Medicine and a member of the UCSF Molecular Medicine Program. She has been a member of the Liver Center since 1999. Dr. Baron is expert in flow cytometry and molecular analysis; her research program focuses on immune responses to hepatitis virus infection.  She has been a Core Director since 2008 and has been instrumental in developing methods for isolation and analysis of cell populations from human liver biopsies. 



Director — Pathology & Imaging Core

James P. Grenert, MD, PhD
Dr. Grenert is an Associate Professor of Pathology at UCSF and Director of the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. He is skilled in the development and validation of histologic techniques to detect chromosomal abnormalities in solid tumors. Dr. Grenert's research interest is in the development of histologic methods to improve diagnostic and prognostic accuracy for hepatic malignancies. He has led the Pathology & Imaging Core since 2009. 


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External Advisory Board

Nicholas O. Davidson, MD, DSc
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

Dr. Davidson is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology at the Washington University School of Medicine.  His major research interests are in the molecular genetics of lipid transport and in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression, particularly RNA editing and mRNA stability.  Dr. Davidson has held many leadership and editorial positions in the field of gastroenterology.  He is currently Program Director of the DDRCC at Washington University.


Stephen A. Duncan, D Phil
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

Dr. Duncan is Professor and Chair of the Department of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at MUSC. Research in his laboratory focuses on liver development and disease using mice and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as model systems.  Dr. Duncan was one of the first scientists to establish a protocol for differentiation of iPSCs to hepatocytes; he is now leading department-wide efforts to expand iPSCs for transplant therapy and disease modeling, and to employ bioengineering and tissue engineering approaches to generate replacement tissues and organs. 


Scott L. Friedman, MD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Dr. Friedman is the Dean for Therapeutic Discovery and Chief of the Division of Liver Diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  His research focuses on the pathogenesis and treatment of liver fibrosis.  Dr. Friedman began his research career at UCSF, where he identified hepatic stellate cells as the principal effectors of liver fibrosis.  In his current role at Mount Sinai, he seeks to accelerate discovery and translate scientific advances into new treatments for human disease.  Dr. Friedman has participated in center programs at NIDDK and NIAAA and currently leads a program on liver cancer funded by NCI.


Saul J. Karpen, MD, PhD
Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Karpen is a Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the Emory University School Medicine. His research spans bench to bedside, with a focus on cholesatic and other metabolic diseases affecting children.  Dr. Karpen is actively involved with NIDDK through participation in study sections and contributions to the ChiLDReN and NASH Clinical Research Networks.  He has played a central role in DDRCC programs at Yale and Baylor Universities.   


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Internal Executive Committee
Jacquelyn Maher - Program Director Xin Chen - At large Member (2013-2018)
Holger Willenbring - Associate Director Melanie Ott - At large Member (2013-2018)
Sandy Feng - Assistant Director Norah Terrault - At large Member (2013-2018)
D. Montgomery Bissell - Director Emeritus Sandhya Adiyodi Veetil - Program Manager
Jody Baron - Core Director  
James Grenert - Core Director  

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