Justin H. Nguyen, M.D., conducts bench research with a goal to improve the clinical outcomes for liver transplant recipients. Dr. Nguyen has been active in research pursuits, along with his active clinical practice, since joining Mayo Clinic's liver transplant program in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1998.
To improve the donor livers for optimal usage for transplantation. The goal of this research is to rejuvenate livers from aged donors, making them as functionally proliferative as livers from young donors. Dr. Nguyen has established experimental models of liver regeneration and has established in vitro models of hepatocellular regeneration with human cell line HepaRG.
He aims to understand cellular reprogramming and resetting to restore innate hepatocellular ability to regenerate. Dr. Nguyen seeks to understand the epigenetic and molecular landscape of hepatocellular rejuvenation and to identify key epigenetic and molecular regulators that govern the restoration process.
To advance understanding of blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction and to develop therapeutics restoring BBB function. BBB tightly regulates the delicate and precise exchanges of essential molecules between the peripheral systemic circulation and the brain. A BBB dysfunction can manifest in various brain disorders including a dramatic brain swelling in acute liver failure (ALF), trauma and stroke, and insidious progressive alterations in neurodegenerative diseases. Mechanisms responsible for BBB dysfunction are poorly understood.
Specifically in ALF, BBB dysfunction is enigmatic and lethal; it allows leakage of water and neurotoxic molecules into the brain causing the brain to swell and, if uncontrolled, the brain herniates, leading to death. Dr. Nguyen has shown a role of vasogenic mechanism for BBB dysfunction in ALF and has established in vitro and in vivo models of BBB dysfunction. He now seeks to understand the comprehensive multidimensional regulation of BBB and to develop targeted therapeutics to restore BBB function.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Nguyen's research contributes to the development of novel approaches for transplantation in order to increase the quality of donor livers and improve survival for transplant recipients.