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Florence McAlister Distinguished Professor of Medicine

Research Summary

Anna Mae Diehl is a gastroenterologist specializing in diseases of the liver. She directs a basic research laboratory that studies liver injury and repair, and has helped to advance understanding about fundamental mechanisms involved in liver regeneration and maladaptive liver repair, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Dr Diehl has had a longstanding interest in liver cell cross-talk because inter-cellular communications orchestrate both healthy liver homeostasis and recovery from liver injury. Her group’s basic research studies focus in three main areas: 1) innate immune regulation of liver repair; 2) developmental morphogens and adult liver repair and 3) the pathogenesis/progression of alcohol-related and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, Dr. Diehl has collaborated with Duke colleagues to develop a human liver biobanking program at Duke that is facilitating translational research in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). She also leads NIDDK-supported clinical research networks in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH CRN) and liver cirrhosis (LCN).

Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission:  Dr Diehl’s work is addressing fundamental mechanisms of liver homeostasis, injury and repair. Because these processes are controlled by inter-cellular and inter-organ signaling, her work relies heavily on systems biology approaches that include combinations of biochemical assays, molecular and cell biology, cell culture and animal models, immunolocalization and single cell analyses. Investigations are iterative, utilizing archived human bio-samples to validate findings from pre-clinical models and assure their relevance to human disease. Dr Diehl served as chief of the Duke Gastroenterology Division from 2004-2014 and during that time, was the PI of the Division’s T32 grant for training in digestive diseases and nutrition.

CGIBD Focus Area(s):  Regeneration/Repair; Basic/Translational Research; Clinical/Translational Medicine

Collaborators:  Cowley, David, Magness, Raab, Rawls