Major Areas of Research
- Pathogenesis of acute and chronic viral hepatitis
- Molecular mechanisms of liver fibrosis progression and regression
- Role of liver cirrhosis in the pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma
- Role of neutralizing antibodies in the prevention and control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection
- HCV evolution and clinical outcome
- Search for new hepatitis agents
The Hepatic Pathogenesis Section (HPS) was established in 2010 to conduct translational research in the field of liver diseases, particularly in the study of pathogenesis of acute and chronic viral hepatitis, with the main goal of merging clinical medicine with basic research. Acute and chronic inflammatory liver diseases, especially viral hepatitis, are a major cause of morbidity and mortality both in the United States and in the rest of the world. A significant proportion of patients die of long-term sequelae of chronic liver disease, primarily cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Although there has been considerable progress in the control and treatment of acute and chronic viral hepatitis, future advances will depend on a more thorough knowledge of the mechanisms of pathogenesis. HPS has developed a comprehensive research program to study the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of acute liver failure and acute and chronic hepatitis especially of viral etiology, as well as the long-term sequelae of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Current research efforts also include the search for new hepatitis agents that may be implicated in the etiology of other forms of acute and chronic inflammatory liver diseases. New knowledge gained from these studies will pave the way toward the development of better means of preventing, diagnosing, and treating these illnesses.
Dr. Farci earned her M.D. at the University of Cagliari Medical School, Italy, and then became a board-certified specialist in infectious diseases and gastroenterology at the same university. She was trained at the department of gastroenterology of the Molinette Hospital in Torino under Dr. Mario Rizzetto and at the department of medicine of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in London under Professor Sheila Sherlock. In 1989, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Robert H. Purcell in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID) as a visiting scientist. In 1992, she became associate professor of medicine and, in 2000, full professor of medicine and director of the liver unit and of the postgraduate school of gastroenterology at the University of Cagliari. In 2007, she returned to LID, where in 2010 she became chief of the Hepatic Pathogenesis Section.
Farah Alayli, Zhaochun Chen, Emily J Danoff, Teresa Pollicino, Anna Pomerenke
Melis M, Diaz G, Kleiner DE, Zamboni F, Kabat J, Lai J, Mogavero G, Tice A, Engle RE, Becker S, Brown CR, Hanson JC, Rodrigues-Canales J, Emmert-Buck M, Govindarajan S, Kew M, Farci P. Viral expression and molecular profiling in liver tissue versus microdissected hepatocytes in hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma. J Transl Med. 2014 Aug 21;12:230.
Diaz G, Melis M, Tice A, Kleiner DE, Mishra L, Zamboni F, Farci P. Identification of microRNAs specifically expressed in hepatitis C virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma. Int J Cancer. 2013 Aug 15;133(4):816-24.
Farci P, Wollenberg K, Diaz G, Engle RE, Lai ME, Klenerman P, Purcell RH, Pybus OG, Alter HJ. Profibrogenic chemokines and viral evolution predict rapid progression of hepatitis C to cirrhosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Sep 4;109(36):14562-7.
Farci P, Diaz G, Chen Z, Govindarajan S, Tice A, Agulto L, Pittaluga S, Boon D, Yu C, Engle RE, Haas M, Simon R, Purcell RH, Zamboni F. B-cell gene signature with massive intrahepatic production of antibodies to hepatitis B core antigen in hepatitis B virus-associated acute liver failure. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 11;107(19):8766-71.
Farci P, Quinti I, Farci S, Alter HJ, Strazzera R, Palomba E, Coiana A, Cao D, Casadei AM, Ledda R, Iorio R, Vegnente A, Diaz G, Tovo PA. Evolution of hepatitis C viral quasispecies and hepatic injury in perinatally infected children followed prospectively. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 30;103(22):8475-80.
Farci P, Shimoda A, Coiana A, Diaz G, Peddis G, Melpolder JC, Strazzera A, Chien DY, Munoz SJ, Balestrieri A, Purcell RH, Alter HJ. The outcome of acute hepatitis C predicted by the evolution of the viral quasispecies. Science. 2000 Apr 14;288(5464):339-44.