Autoimmune Liver Disease
Research and Innovation

Research enhancing clinical care for AILD patient

Clinical innovation and scientific progress are at the core of our center's mission. We are involved in multiple government, industry-funded and investigator-initiated clinical research studies at any given time.

Researchers from our Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition are focusing on understanding the mechanisms and risk factors for AILD, and novel treatment options for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC)autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and autoimmune sclerosing cholangitis (ASC). 

Our patients, therefore, have the opportunity to participate in a range of clinical trials offered at the Center for Autoimmune Liver Disease.

The Center of Autoimmune Liver Disease (CALD) program consists of an outstanding team of scientists, surgeons and hepatologists who have cutting-edge expertise in management of autoimmune liver disease. Our team is headed by Alexander Miethke, MD, who is involved in studying inflammatory pathways leading to liver injury and identifying new therapeutic targets.

The focus of our research team is to identify methods to prevent the onset or slow the progression of AILD. To this end, both the genetic basis of disease and the environmental influences are under evaluation. In our efforts to develop a treatment regimen with minimal adverse effects, we have initiated pilot clinical trials and international collaborations. We are also involved in studying and analyzing microbiome composition, intestinal gene expression, and bile acid metabolism in children and adolescents with AILD and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Our research team works closely with our excellent radiology department at Cincinnati Children's, led by Jonathan R. Dillman, MD, MSc, who developed many of the imaging sequences used to assess the type and progression of AILD by MRI.

Investigators from several divisions (Immunobiology, Infectious disease and Gastroenterology), including Yael Haberman, MD, PhD, Kasper Hoebe, PhD, Michael Jordan, MD and David Haslam, MD, study mechanisms in their laboratories related to initiation of immune mediated hepatobiliary injury and/or progression to biliary fibrosis. 

Our Ongoing research studies

  • Preclinical trial of ASBT inhibition to reduce toxic bile injury in a murine model of PSC. Read more.
  • "Assessment of noninvasive MRI based biomarkers of hepatobiliary fibrosis in Autoimmune Liver Disease (AILD) patients" - to identify noninvasive MRI based biomarkers reflecting severity and progression of disease. This study will provide biomarkers, which may serve as surrogate endpoints in clinical trials on pediatric onset AILD. 
    Note: We are actively recruiting participants for this study if you have been diagnosed with Autoimmune hepatitis or Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) and you are younger than 23 years, please contact us at Participants will be compensated for their time.
  • We are developing a prospective database and sample repository of children and adolescents with AILD at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. This will provide a comprehensive overview of our cases and will enable us to investigate the efficacy of the various modalities to discover biomarkers of disease progression, to study functional impairment of circulating immune cells in order to decipher mechanisms of immune-mediated injury in AILD.
  • "Delineation of Hepatic Lymphocyte Composition in Pediatric Patients with Autoimmune Sclerosing Cholangitis (ASC)" -- in archived liver biopsy samples in comparison to other well-defined subgroups of children with PSC or AIH without overlap. 
    • We study the roles of regulatory T cells and of dendritic cells in the control of T lymphocyte mediated bile duct injury and initiation of biliary fibrosis in a murine models of PSC
    • We study the relationship between the clinical phenotype of AILD and the type and distribution of the associated colitis
    • As ancillary study to the NIH-funded PROTECT cohort study, we examine risk factors for liver dysfunction in patients with newly diagnosed ulcerative colitis.
    • We compare the effectiveness of various immunosuppression regimens in the treatment of AIH

Participate in Studies

For participation in our studies, please contact us via email at

Current clinical research

Alexander G. Miethke, MD, talks inside his lab.

Physicians and academic researchers at the Center of Autoimmune Liver Disease (CALD) share a deep commitment to clinical innovation. The center's studies address the understanding that the alternative biomarkers may be more sensitive to autoimmune liver disease progression than standard clinical and laboratory tests.

Funding Opportunities

The CALD serves to focus and accelerate research on autoimmune liver disease. We support research programs in translational and basic autoimmune liver disease. Funding opportunities are available for conducting research on disease genetics and genomics, gastrointestinal link to the disease and nutrition.

This Research program is open for applicants from Cincinnati Children's and University of Cincinnati.

For more information about the CALD funding opportunities, contact us via email at