During my training, I cared for several infants with biliary atresia — one of them requiring a liver transplantation to survive. The infants and their families had to go through so much with very little understanding of why the disease occurred. I decided to focus on this disease process, pursuing both pediatric surgery and transplant training so I could care for a child with biliary atresia from diagnosis through liver transplantation, when necessary.
As a pediatric and pediatric abdominal transplant surgeon, my focus is on hepatobiliary (liver and biliary system) disease, pediatric surgical oncology (especially liver tumors) and solid organ transplantation. While working with patients has been a major focus, I also have established and contributed to bench and clinical research programs developing new treatment strategies to improve outcomes in the care of children afflicted with chronic liver disease and liver tumors. Because of these programs, we use the most cutting-edge approaches in the treatment algorithms of patients.
In my bench research program, we are seeking to understand the pathogenic basis of biliary atresia. From a clinical research standpoint, I developed and lead an international clinical research trial focused on the liver tumors hepatoblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. With this information, we hope to develop new treatment strategies to alter the disease course and reduce the need for liver transplantation.
I hold the honorary chair named after the founder of the liver transplantation program at Cincinnati Children's, Dr. Frederick C. Ryckman. I speak Mandarin and my last name in Chinese is derived from the character used to describe a knife, which is quite appropriate!