The liver is the largest internal organ and also the most complex as it regulates xenobiotic and energy metabolism. However, liver disease is increasingly common, and current population-based studies indicate that greater than 1/3 of adults and greater than 10% of children have chronic liver disease. Presumably due to its role in xenobiotic metabolism, the liver is the target organ most commonly affected by environmental chemicals. However, the role of environmental exposures in the current liver disease epidemic is simultaneously under-recognized by clinicians and understudied by the scientific research community. The primary objective of this application is to hold a two-day symposium on "Environmental Chemicals and Liver Disease". There have been no comprehensive conferences in the last five years (if ever) on the emerging field of environmental hepatology. An expert panel of faculty participants has been recruited and 26 lectures and a poster session are planned. Notably, faculty participants with diverse professional backgrounds (ranging from clinical hepatologists to environmental health basic scientists) have been recruited. Female and minority investigators are also well-represented. In order to develop a comprehensive strategy to move the field of environmental hepatology forward, it is necessary to first assemble experts who would otherwise not interact with each other to discuss current mechanistic data and identify knowledge gaps. To this end, greater than 100 attendees from industry, academics (including students and early stage investigators), and government are expected. Conference proceedings will be published in a scientific journal. This symposium is relevant to all physicians or scientists who either care for patients with liver disease or perform research in liver disease or environmental health science.
Environmental chemical exposures may result in a variety of liver diseases ranging from hepatitis, to cirrhosis, and even liver cancer. This project proposes to host a scientific meeting to bring together experts in liver disease, metabolism, and environmental health for the purpose of focusing future research in the emerging field of environmental hepatology, effecting change, and curbing the current liver disease epidemic.
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