Szabo To Give NIAAA’s Mendelson Lecture
Dr. Gyongyi Szabo will deliver the 2017 Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture on Thursday, June 8 at 1:30 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. Her talk is titled “Mechanisms of Alcohol-Induced Organ Inflammation and Therapeutic Targets in Alcoholic Hepatitis.”
Szabo is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship between immune function and liver disease. Over the past 30 years, her work has advanced our understanding of how alcohol impairs immune function and contributes to organ injury. Szabo’s research has paved the way for potential pharmacotherapies for alcoholic liver disease and made significant contributions in translating research advances into clinical practice.
Szabo currently serves as Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research endowed chair and associate dean for clinical and translational sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Szabo has made important discoveries in understanding the role of innate immune signaling in alcohol-induced injury of the liver, as well as of the gut and brain. Her lab identified the role of the inflammasome, an innate immune system receptor and sensor that regulates inflammation, in chronic alcohol-induced liver injury.
She and her team also found that cell signaling mediated by interferon regulatory factor 3, a key player in the innate immune system’s response to viral infection, is critical in alcohol-induced liver cell death. This work also established a novel role for an endoplasmic reticulum protein in the signaling pathway. These findings have provided original insights into the intracellular signaling pathways involved in binge drinking and the hepatocyte death that underlies liver damage.
Szabo’s clinical research currently focuses on alcoholic hepatitis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and viral hepatitis. She has made significant contributions in translating new research discoveries into treatment for patients with alcoholic hepatitis.
Szabo’s discovery of the inflammasome’s role in alcohol-induced liver injury has led to an NIH-supported multi-center clinical trial of a new therapy for alcoholic hepatitis, for which she is the lead investigator. She also played a key role in the international effort to establish a standard definition of alcoholic hepatitis and in the development of common data elements, both for use in future clinical trials.
As a leading expert in the field of liver disease, Szabo has served in a variety of leadership roles, including president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. She also has an extensive body of published work, which includes more than 150 articles in journals and 35 book chapters. In addition, she is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Szabo is a highly sought-after speaker; over the course of her career, she has presented at nearly 300 international and national conferences. Szabo has received uninterrupted funding by NIH since 1989, including an R37 MERIT Award from NIAAA, which provides long-term grant support for outstanding investigators.
NIAAA established the lecture series as a tribute to Dr. Jack Mendelson, who made remarkable contributions to the field of clinical alcohol research. Each spring, the series features a lecture by an outstanding alcohol investigator whose clinical research makes a substantial contribution toward increasing our understanding of the effects of alcohol on health and well-being and improving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of alcohol-related problems.