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Fred Askari, MD, PhD

Research Areas

Dr. Askari's research, clinical care and teaching activities reflect continued growth and recognition. The lab's main research efforts continue to be sharply focused in liver diseases, with the most significant strides in the area of metabolic liver disease, hepatic fibrosis and viral hepatitis as the highlights. Reinforcing his long-standing interests in metabolic liver disease, Dr. Askari directs the Wilson Disease Center of Excellence outpatient clinic at the University of Michigan Medical Center. This clinic has grown substantially over the year with patients traveling from as far away as Greece and Western Canada to be seen in consultation. The international scope of the Wilson disease program is reflected by weekly consultation with patients and physicians from Romania to China advising on the latest advances in Wilson disease diagnosis and treatment. In part from this interest in international medicine, Dr. Askari participated in formulating the SMILE proposal for a liver disease unit collaboration between Shanghai's Second University and the University of Michigan. Separately, Dr. Askari this year was pleased to contribute to clinical studies on the effects of liquorice consumption on testosterone published in The Lancet.

While previous Wilson disease clinical research protocols have focused on neurologic aspects of Wilson disease, Dr. Askari is now focusing on hepatic aspects of Wilson disease with an eye directed toward improving the treatment and recruitment of hepatic Wilson patients. Dr. Askari has established a collaboration with TSRL, a local drug delivery firm, to jointly develop a time delayed release form of zinc acetate, which will allow increased compliance with this life saving treatment. The laboratory continues to study gene transfer to the liver, with a growing interest in mechanisms of hepatic fibrosis and treatments to ameliorate and reverse hepatic fibrosis under active study. Several of the enzymes involved in hepatic fibrosis appear to be copper dependent, so the prospect of developing treatments for hepatic fibrosis regardless of its etiology is particularly exciting. The treatments currently under development for Wilson disease have been shown to ameliorate hepatic fibrosis, which fuels the enthusiasm for studying this phenomenon in more detail in the basic research laboratory.

Dr. Askari is one of the key members of the liver transplant program, serving as attending on the inpatient liver service approximately three months a year. He also serves liver transplant patients in the multidisciplinary liver transplant clinic alongside his surgical colleagues. As a participating investigator in a NIH funded epidemiology study for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), he is seeking new insights into the cause and natural history of this enigmatic liver disease.

In the educational arena, Dr. Askari's efforts continue to excel. Now available in paperback following its successful release as a hardcover book, Dr. Askari's book Hepatitis C, the Silent Epidemic, the Authoritative Guide continues to be widely read and quoted as a valuable teaching aid and continues to foster patient referral to the University. In terms of the institutional gene therapy effort, Dr. Askari was appointed director of the educational component of the Center for Gene Therapy that has served as a focal point for multi-disciplinary investigator interaction. He also serves on the Institutional Biosafety Committee serving to oversee gene therapy clinical trials as mandated under new federal guidelines. As an outgrowth of an undergraduate course "Genetics and Gene Therapy" which he initiated, Dr. Askari edits a book addressing the impact of emerging genetic technologies on society that he wrote along with 25 undergraduate students from the College of LS&A.

Publications

Please click here for a list of publications by Dr. Askari.

Honors/Awards
  • National Science Foundation, High School Honors Science Program
  • The Surdna Foundation Medical Scientist Fellowship
  • The Francis L. Loeb Medical Scientist Fellowship
  • The Mildred and Emil Holland Scholarship
  • Judith and Graham Pool Award, NHF
  • National Research Service Award, NIH
  • Rackham Award, University of Michigan Medical Center
  • Clinical Scientist Award, NIH
  • American Digestive Health Foundation Research Scholar Award
  • American Medical Association: The Physician's Recognition Award

Professional Memberships

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association for the Study of Liver Disease
  • Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Federation for Medical Research
  • American Gastroenterological Association
  • American Society of Gene Therapy
  • Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, University of Michigan Medical Center
  • Central Society for Clinical Research
  • International Association for the Study of the Liver
  • International Liver Transplantation Society
  • New York Academy of Sciences
  • Peptide Center, University of Michigan Medical Center
  • Cancer Center, University of Michigan Medical Center

Patient Information

Clinic address: Liver Clinic
Pod D, 3rd Floor Taubman
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5352
Appointments: 734-936-0496
Wilson Disease Patients: Contact Ginger at 734-764-5499
Nurse: 800-395-6431
734-936-0499
Fax: 734-763-4574

Academic Information

Office address: 1500 E. Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5362
Fax: 734-936-7392 (academic information)
   
e-mail: Fred Askari, MD
 
   
   

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