Dr. Nicholas LaRusso at Mayo Clinic Tackling challenges in liver diseases

As both a physician and a researcher, Dr. LaRusso understands the urgent need to expand treatment options for patients facing some of the most difficult diagnoses.


Led by principal investigator Nicholas F. LaRusso, M.D., the Cholangiopathies Laboratory at Mayo Clinic is tackling some of the most challenging diseases of the liver, hoping to ultimately develop novel therapeutics for patients who might otherwise face limited treatment options.

Our research focuses on hepatic epithelial cell function and dysfunction, principally targeting the epithelial cells that line the bile ducts — that is, the cholangiocytes — because of their biological and clinical importance: Cholangiocytes constitute the primary cellular target of a group of important diseases of diverse etiologies called the cholangiopathies.

These diseases affect thousands of patients, cause considerable morbidity and mortality, often require liver transplantation, and incur hundreds of millions of dollars in health care expenses annually.

The Cholangiopathies Lab has had continuous support from the National Institutes of Health for more than three decades, including a MERIT award attesting to our research relevance.

Dr. LaRusso's clinical activities are directly linked to the diseases his team studies in the lab so that many of the emerging ideas and questions are direct outgrowths of his interactions with patients. Indeed, research from the Cholangiopathies Lab has already resulted in new and effective pharmacological treatments for polycystic liver diseases and is on the verge of breakthrough treatments for other cholangiopathies.

About Dr. LaRusso

Dr. LaRusso is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. LaRusso's research is closely intertwined with his patient care. He has published hundreds of articles about his research findings and conducts clinical studies to advance understanding about hepatobiliary diseases and new treatment options. As a practicing gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic, Dr. LaRusso has interests in liver transplant and hepatobiliary diseases and in ensuring that his patients have access to the best care possible.