"...research grants allow the transformation of great ideas to discoveries…"
- Johnny C. Hong, MD, FACS
Dr. Johnny C. Hong (pictured, left) was drawn to liver transplantation because of the challenges it presented; involving multiple disciplines such as surgery, hepatology, immunology, and pharmacology just to name a few. " ... a career in liver transplantation takes you to a never-ending journey in the quest for answers. The more you read, the more you realize how little you know about the field, stimulating you to find possible solutions through research," states Hong.
As the recipient of the 2009 Career Development Award, Dr. Hong was able to devote more time to his research on organ resuscitation. His research focused on the development of a new treatment strategy in organ resuscitation to mitigate the adverse effects of ischemia and reperfusion injury. The findings from this research have clinical applicability and have potential to improve outcomes after liver transplantation. The goal is to convert marginal organs, otherwise discarded, to transplantable livers in the hopes of decreasing the number of patient deaths while on the waitlist.
Dr. Hong believes that AASLD has been in the forefront in funding liver research and advancing the field. "Young investigators are the lifeblood of the field and research grants would allow the transformation of great ideas to discoveries that will improve the treatment of liver diseases," he says.
While the field of transplantation has made significant progress over the past 50 years, there remain numerous areas for research to further improve outcomes after liver transplantation. Hong says, "AASLD will continue to play a central role in the future of the field."
Dr. Hong is currently the Director of Solid Organ Transplantation and the inaugural holder of the Mark B. Adams Chair in Surgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin.