Guoli Dai, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Biology Department
My laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms regulating hepatocyte proliferation and liver growth in both physiological and pathological conditions. The maternal liver adapts to pregnancy by marked growth manifested by hepatocyte proliferation and liver size increase.
We are particularly interested in revealing the role of placental hormones in mediating the hepatic growth response to pregnancy. In response to acute or chronic liver injuries, the liver regenerates, repairing damaged tissue and restoring original structures and functions. The hepatic regenerative response is a phenomenon of compensatory growth of injured liver. Timely and/or enhanced hepatocyte proliferation leads to recovery from liver injury and survival, whereas delayed and/or inhibited hepatocyte proliferation in pathological conditions results in liver failure and death.
We are investigating the functions of transcription factors that can be activated by a pharmacological approach in modulating hepatocyte proliferation during liver regeneration. Our goal is to develop a clinical strategy to rescue injured livers by targeting hepatocyte proliferation and thereby liver repair.