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Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, caused by liver damage, is the tenth leading cause of death for US males. Liver failure is most commonly caused by viruses, parasites, poisons (e.g. alcohol and certain drugs), or obesity. The liver is essential for metabolism, including blood glucose control, immunity, and hemostasis of the entire organism. Interestingly, it is also the only internal organ that can completely regenerate, so long as its cell clusters are not damaged. We believe this phenomenon can be leveraged to create more effective therapies for treating liver disease.
Members of the Institute of Metabolic Physiology investigate the molecular mechanisms enabling the liver to fully regenerate. In addition, the molecular crosstalk between the heart and the liver is analyzed.