Digestive Health Center

  • Chronic Liver Disease

    Pranavkumar Shivakumar, PhD
    Assistant Professor
    Department of Pediatrics; Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition

    Description of Research

    Dr. Shivakumar investigates how inflammatory cells work together to initiate and propagate acute inflammatory injuries of bile ducts. The major research focus of his research is on biliary atresia, the most common cause of chronic progressive liver disease in children and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the pediatric population. Using a murine model of biliary atresia and in vitro experiments, Dr. Shivakumar has shown the tropism and killing potential of CD8+, but not CD4+, T-cells toward cholangiocytes. More recently, his exploratory work on neonatal innate immunity has shown the hyperactivation of hepatic NK cells mediating extrahepatic duct obstruction. He is investigating how members of the complement system work in concert to initiate key circuits within the innate and adaptive immune systems to produce the phenotype of neonatal biliary injury.

    Collaborations and Core Use

    Dr. Shivakumar collaborates with Drs. Bezerra, Chougnet, and Aronow in animal-based experiments studying mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia. Projection of Core use: Gene and Protein Expression, Bioinformatics, and Integrative Morphology Cores.

 
  • Research image.

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    Research image.

    Livers from unaffected controls and from infants at the time of diagnosis of biliary atresia immunostained with anti-cytokeratin (green) and anti-CD56 (to detect NK cells; red) antibodies. Arrowheads indicate NK cells in the portal tract; arrows indicate NK cells juxtaposed to cholangiocytes. Figure from J Clin Invest, 2009;119:2281-2290.