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
Co-Director - Liver Cell Isolation, Analysis & Immunology 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
Director - Enrichment Program and Pilot-Feasibility Program

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.



Director - Patient-Facing Research Core
Jennifer Lai, MD 
Dr. Lai is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical Hepatology Research at UCSF Health. She has been a member of the Liver Center since 2012. Her primary research interest is in the assessment of frailty as a predictor of liver transplant outcome, and the reversal of frailty as a management strategy for patients with cirrhosis.


Co-Director - Liver Cell Isolation, Analysis & Immunology Core

Jody L. Baron, MD, PhD
Dr. Baron is a 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.  



Co-Director - Liver Tissue Analysis Core

James P. Grenert, MD, PhD
Dr. Grenert is a 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 been a Core Director since 2009.  


Co-Director - Liver Tissue Analysis Core

Aras Mattis, MD, PhD
Dr. Mattis is an Assistant Professor of Pathology who specializes in mouse and human liver pathology. He has been a member of the Liver Center since 2013. His personal research focuses on the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells for the study of human liver diseases. He is a valued consultant for histology interpretation and serves as the primary liaison for liver tissue procurement by the Liver Center.


Director - Liver Gene Analysis Core

Bruce Wang, MD
Dr. Wang is an Assistant Professor of Medicine with a strong background in single-cell transcriptomic analysis of liver cells. He has been a member of the Liver Center since 2015. His personal research interest is in heterogeneity of hepatocyte gene expression under several conditions such as spatial variation across the hepatic lobule, variation based on sex, and variation induced by acute and chronic disease states.    


Return to Top

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.   



Return to Top

Internal Executive Committee
Jacquelyn Maher - Program Director Aras Mattis - Core Director
Holger Willenbring - Associate Director Bruce Wang - Core Director
Jennifer Lai - Core Director Xin Chen - At large Member 
Jody Baron - Core Director Sandhya Adiyodi Veetil - Program Manager
James Grenert - Core Director  

Return to Top