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Liver Center

Waiting room in SLU hospital with a coloful mural

The Saint Louis University Liver Center was designated a center of excellence in December 2001, with institutional monies derived from the SLU2000 Center of Excellence Award. The Liver Center has earned worldwide recognition as a center of excellence for researching and treating liver diseases and liver cancer. The SLU Liver Center is committed to excellence in quality care, basic, and clinical research and medical and public education. Designation as a center of excellence brings together all the clinical and research resources of Saint Louis University and SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital to help diagnose, treat, cure and educate the public about liver diseases.

Providing national leadership in hepatology, the SLU Liver Center is staffed by outstanding doctors and research scientists. Many are named in the Best Doctors, Inc. database, an independent medical reference service. The liver specialists in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology see more than 1,200 patients per month with various liver diseases. These physicians have one of the world’s largest hepatitis C practices in the world, treating more than 2,000 patients annually.

Our Mission

The mission of the Saint Louis University Liver Center is to study liver disease and apply new technologies discovered by basic research to the medical care of patients with liver disease.

Through this mission the Saint Louis University Liver Center encourages and supports important biomedical research into liver disease; addressing major local, national and international needs, through a cohesive group of researchers from different disciplines involved in liver research.


  •  To apply new technologies discovered by basic research to the medical care of patients with liver disease.
  • To form a cohesive group of investigators from different disciplines involved in liver research.
  • To enhance national and international recognition of the Saint Louis University Liver Center faculty involved in the practice of hepatology and in both basic and clinical research in liver biology and pathology.
  • To enhance funding for liver research at Saint Louis University.


In 1994, internationally renowned hepatologist Bruce R. Bacon, M.D., joined Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, M.D., a prominent hepatologist from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Together, they envisioned a liver center at SLU committed to excellence in patient care, basic and clinical research, and medical and public education. In December 2001, Saint Louis University designated the SLU Liver Center as a Center of Excellence. That designation brought together investigators and clinicians from other University departments to create the synergy necessary to help improve the understanding and the treatment of liver disease. Approximately 39 specialists from 11 departments and divisions of the University work together to maintain the work and mission of the SLU Liver Center.

Liver Center Faculty
  • Eyad Alsabbagh, M.D.
  • Angel Baldan, Ph.D.
  • Kyle McCommis, Ph. D. 
  • Alex S. Befeler, M.D.
  • Jeffery J. Brown, M.D., FACR
  • Anping Chen, Ph.D.
  • Susan E. Crawford, D.O.
  • Maureen Donlin, Ph.D.
  • Hany Elbeshbeshy, M.D.
  • Robert E. Fleming, M.D.
  • Xiaofeng Fan, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Sarah L. George, M.D.
  • Danielle H. Carpenter, M.D.
  • Ajay Jain, M.D.
  • Nisha Mangalat, M.D.
  • Mustafa D. Nazzal, M.D.
  • Keith Pereria, M.D.
  • Kamran Qureshi, M.D.
  • Henry B. Randall, M.D., FACS
  • Nancy J. Phillips, M.D.
  • Nishant Poddard, M.D.
  • Ranjit Ray, Ph.D.
  • Ratna B Ray, Ph.D.
  • John M. Richart, M.D.
  • Mark A. Schnitzler, Ph.D.
  • Harvey Solomon, M.D.
  • John E. Tavis, Ph.D.
  • Jeffery Teckman, M.D.
  • Brent A. Tetri, M.D.
  • Barbara Ulmasov, Ph.D.
  • Kirubahara Vaheesan, M.D.
  • Chintalapati Rathna Varma, M.D.
  • Anutosh Chakraborty, Ph.D. 
  • Halim Bou Daher, M.D. 
  • David Ford, Ph. D., FAHA
  • David Griggs, Ph.D. 
  • Dawn Schwartz, Ph.D. 
  • Ameya Deshmukh, D.O. 
  • Dorota Skowyra, Ph.D. 
  • Jason Coombes, Ph.D. 
  • Jung Huang, Ph.D.
  • Kevin Bockerstett, Ph.D.
  • Maya Mahmoud, M.D.
  • Myron Minner, MBA, RHIA
  • Nermi Parrow, Ph.D.
  • Qilan Li, Ph.D.
  • Robert Steele, Ph.D.
  • Sarah George, MD
  • Uchenna Agbim, MD
  • Vidyaratna Fleetwood, MD
  • Vincenza Cifarelli, Ph.D.
  • Wing-Kin Syn, MD
  • Yie-Hwa Chang, Ph.D.
  • Yuki Haga, Ph.D. 
  • Spyridon Zouridis, MD
  • Adrian M. Di Bisceglie, M.D.  (Emeritus Member) 
Patient Services

We provide outpatient services on the third floor of the Center for Specialized Medicine at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital at 1225 S. Grand Blvd. The center’s strength lies in evaluating and managing patients with all types of liver disease, from simple to complex. Our physicians strive to provide the most accurate, timely and cost-effective evaluation of patients with liver-enzyme abnormalities and known liver disease, or those with complications of cirrhosis.

Patients seeking evaluation of many types of liver disease often require a percutaneous liver biopsy. Our extensive experience in outpatient liver biopsy allows for safe and cost-effective testing, and our close working relationships with expert hepatic pathologists ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Our expertise in diagnosing and treating liver disease ranges from evaluating trivial enzyme abnormalities due to fatty liver to managing severe, complicated, end-stage liver disease in patients awaiting liver transplantation. Ongoing clinical research activities allow patients to be included in protocols evaluating various new therapies for treatment of liver diseases.

Through SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, the SLU Liver Center’s transplantation service is approved by UNOS, certified by Medicare and designated a center of excellence by several major insurance providers. Recognizing that continuity of pre- and postoperative care is just as essential to successful outcomes as the actual surgery, a multidisciplinary team is dedicated to providing the full spectrum of care. Our hepatologists work closely with the liver transplant surgeons and the pre- and post-transplant coordinators to develop an individualized plan for each patient. The center aims to provide patients with efficient and cost-effective care from evaluation to post-transplant.

Liver Center Seed Grant Program

Members of the SLU Liver Center met on April 20, 2005, to discuss the use of funds raised by the Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center for research. It was decided to put a Liver Center Request for Application (RFA) process in place for research seed and bridge grants. These directed research grants were established to provide seed and bridge funding to SLU Liver Center investigators while they work toward developing their projects and gathering preliminary data, allowing them to submit NIH grant applications and publish their results. This group set certain priorities and goals:

  1. Research projects likely to lead to future NIH funding would be prioritized.
  2. Special consideration should be given to efforts that involve collaborative studies between different laboratories or different researchers.
  3. Projects that have the ultimate goal of submitting a program project grant or center grant.
  4. Research in certain diseases would be prioritized, including viral hepatitis, liver cancer, fatty liver disease, iron metabolism, and possibly liver transplantation.

Request for Applications: It was decided to solicit applications for research funds from members of the SLU Liver Center. No amount would be specified. The format for initial proposals would be no more than a single page, indicating the principal investigator, aims, hypotheses and planned research methods. In addition to this, a very brief and simple budget should be provided, indicating the total amount for personnel, supplies and equipment.

The group agreed on the following review committee members for the first round of applications: Drs. Sly, Di Bisceglie, Tavis, Bode and Brunt.

Since initiating the Liver Center RFA process, 42 grants have been awarded a total of $1,197,482. These seed/bridge funds have generated 32 NIH, VA and foundation awards totaling more than $20 million, representing a 16-fold return on investment. This is a testament to the Saint Louis University Liver Center's success since its establishment.

“The SLULC seed grant that I received in 2005 led to my NIH U01 for the Viral Hepatitis C project. This highlights the role that the Liver Center has played in my career. Without the Liver Center and Adrian Di Bisceglie’s clinical expertise, I would not have had a chance at either of these awards”. (John Tavis, Ph.D. – Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology)

Additionally, the center has purchased $140,506 in state-of-the-art equipment to support our investigators' clinical and basic science research efforts.


The SLU Liver Center has received funding for its research programs through seed funding by SLU, substantial external funding and The Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center, an independent 501C3 organization whose mission is to raise funds for liver research at SLU.

Since 2003, the Friends organization has presented the SLU Liver Center with more than $4.5 million in donated funds. All the money raised by the Friends organization stays in our region to support local, life-saving research and patient treatment at SLU Liver Center. To learn more about the Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center, please contact their office at 314-576-3078 or visit their website.