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Home > Education Resources > Liver Lowdown > Liver Lowdown March 2015 > March Researcher

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Research is integral to the mission of the American Liver Foundation and is essential to finding new ways to prevent, treat and cure liver disease. Supporting early-career scientists is critical to this effort. Since 1980, the ALF Research Awards Program has provided more than $25 million in grants funding to more than 800 promising scientists who are making the study of liver disease their life’s work.

In 2014, the American Liver Foundation provided funding to 11 early-career scientists from some of the nation’s leading academic institutions. These researchers are contributing to the knowledge of how liver diseases develop and progress. Their discoveries may one day go beyond the laboratories and into clinical practice, aiding in drug development and other interventions that will ensure the health of millions of Americans.


Nicholas van Buuren, PhD- Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

Recipient of:

The American Liver Foundation Herman Lopata Memorial Hepatitis Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Understanding the basic biology of the hepatitis C virus is critical to developing the next generation of treatments to cure the disease. The recent advances in the treatment of hepatitis C are due, in large part, to our nation’s scientists. And with several new treatments available – and more in the pipeline – it is a very exciting time in hepatitis C research.

However, even though many of these treatments stop the virus from replicating, some people still suffer from complications due to drug resistance.

Dr. van Buuren’s American Liver Foundation-supported research will evaluate a new mechanism called “Dominant Drug Targets” as a way to suppress the selection of drug resistant variants. This mechanism works by identifying situations in which drug-susceptible viruses are the genetically dominant strain in mixed virus populations. This approach could radically alter the way we choose antiviral targets in the future by allowing us to predict which targets will have a high barrier to resistance.

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Page updated: March 23rd, 2015


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