Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Asai Lab

Asai Research Lab

The Asai Lab at Cincinnati Children’s is working to discover new treatments for liver diseases caused by genetic mutations. 

Each year, nearly 1,000 babies are born in the United States with some form of genetic liver disease. Most genetic liver diseases are not curable, and a significant number of patients require a liver transplant for long-term survival.  

Led by Akihiro Asai, MD, PhD, a researcher and a pediatric hepatologist, the Asai Lab targets the following disorders that cause liver injury during fetal development and result in severe fibrosis soon after birth:

As part of our work, we have established a hepatic differentiation system of human iPSCs (induced pluripotent stem cells) in advanced cell culture systems. 

Collecting cells from patients who suffer from genetic liver diseases, the Asai lab generates iPSCs to directly investigate the molecular pathophysiology of the specific liver disease in the patients’ own cells. 

Using these methods, we are now able to do what was technically impossible in the past —investigate the molecular mechanism of liver diseases which begin during the process of human development.

The goal of the Asai Lab is to identify specific molecular pathways which may be the targets of an intervention designed to halt the progression of liver diseases.

Our cutting-edge, stem cell technology enables us to investigate physiology and pathology in the developing human liver.