Department of Medicine
Professor and Chief, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition
Gastroenterology; Infectious Disease; Liver (Hepatology)
As chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (GI) in the Department of Medicine as well as in the Kaleida Health System, my charge is to develop and expand clinical, educational and research efforts related to liver disease. By supporting Erie County Medical Center’s liver clinic through UBMD, we have tripled the clinic’s capacity to treat patients with viral hepatitis and other forms of liver disease. We also have established comprehensive liver clinics at Buffalo General Medical Center to evaluate patients with liver disease referred from throughout Western New York. In addition, we provide clinical support to the Buffalo VA Medical Center in order to deliver uniformly excellent clinical care to patients with liver disease cared for at hospitals and clinics affiliated with UB’s medical school. We offer trial therapies to patients with viral hepatitis and other forms of liver disease if they meet the protocol criteria of our clinical trials. Our patient-care efforts include digital outreach: my faculty and I co-authored an article for the inaugural issue of the patient-oriented online magazine “HCV Next.”
My lab has received multi-year funding for its research programs in translational and clinical research. During the course of our translational research, members of my lab and I developed techniques for animal and human liver sampling that will enable sorting of liver cells in order to understand drug distribution in the liver during treatment and to develop ways to measure liver drug concentration. These translational research techniques will enable physicians to base drug dosing on the data gathered from the site of antiviral action in the liver instead of measuring the plasma concentration that is more reflective of systemic exposure. This may be an important breakthrough because of the fine line between drug efficacy and toxicity: the techniques will help physicians pinpoint the precise amount of drug needed for maximum benefit to the patient.
In the area of clinical research, we are studying care models for viral hepatitis. We are conducting a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation to assess telemedicine to treat hepatitis C (HCV) in patients who are in treatment for substance use. By creating processes that simplify testing and improve provider and patient awareness and by expanding recommendations for HCV screening, patients can receive more timely care and treatment.
I teach GI fellows, residents and students in outpatient and inpatient settings. I also teach first- and second-year medical students in small groups and research seminars with pharmacology graduate students. I am very interested in mentoring, and I supervise residents and fellows in clinical research as well as in my laboratory. The enriching experience my trainees receive affords them excellent placement opportunities once their training is complete. A number of my former trainees so valued their work with my division that they joined it as faculty members.