The research interests of Petra Hirsova, Pharm.D., Ph.D., focus on understanding the pathogenic mechanisms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a chronic hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome. Dr. Hirsova's laboratory is specifically interested in the more progressive, inflammatory form of NAFLD termed nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The overall goal of Dr. Hirsova's research laboratory is to discover critical cellular and molecular processes underlying disease pathogenesis, which will ultimately guide the development of targeted therapies for patients with NASH. To this end, the lab utilizes biologically relevant mouse models, genetic and pharmacologic in vivo approaches, and state-of-the-art methodologies such as immunophenotyping by mass cytometry.
- Immune mechanism and T cell pathogenicity in NASH. This work investigates new insights into how liver tissue inflammation occurs in NASH. In collaboration with Adebowale (Wale) O. Bamidele, Ph.D., Dr. Hirsova and her research team are investigating the roles of intrahepatic T cells in the onset and progression of NASH.
- Cell-to-cell communication. Dr. Hirsova's lab is investigating crosstalk between various cell types during liver pathologies to uncover cell type-specific therapeutic opportunities.
- Stress-induced signaling and cell death. Dr. Hirsova and her colleagues are particularly interested in molecular mechanisms and consequences of lipid-induced cellular stress and death of liver parenchymal cells.
Significance to patient care
Increasingly common around the world, NAFLD is especially common in Western countries. In the U.S. it is the most common form of chronic liver disease affecting about one-quarter of the population. Dr. Hirsova's research has the potential to identify new approaches for fatty liver disease therapy that can be translated to patient care.
- Member, Liver Cell Biology Special Interest Group Steering Committee, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), 2020-present
- Member, Steering Committee, NAFLD Special Interest Group Steering Committee, AASLD, 2020-present
- Member, European Association for the Study of the Liver, 2017-present
- Member, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, 2014-present
- Pinnacle Research Award, AASLD Foundation, 2020
- Member, Standing Committee, Inclusion and Diversity Committee, AASLD, 2017-2019
- Roger L. Jenkins Postdoctoral Research Award, American Liver Foundation, 2015
- Fulbright Scholar, Fulbright Commission, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, 2010