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Dr. Michael Nathanson Receives AASLD Distinguished Service Award

November 21, 2022
by Melanie Ho

Michael Nathanson, MD, PhD, Gladys Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and professor of cell biology, received the 2022 Distinguished Service Award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) during its annual meeting on November 5.

According to the AASLD, the Distinguished Service Award “recognizes sustained service provided to the community of hepatology researchers and clinicians that is well above and beyond that provided by many members who serve on the governing board and committees.”

Nathanson served as the editor-in-chief of the AASLD’s flagship journal Hepatology in 2012-2016, a term in which he increased the journal’s visibility and impact worldwide. As editor, Nathanson pivoted the journal’s publications toward novel ideas in basic and clinical research of liver disease. He also helped increase the number of guidelines, which reflected a complex and diverse set of practices in treating liver disease. Then, in a move to modernize the journal, Nathanson built Hepatology’s social media presence and smartphone applications.

“Becoming the journal editor gave me a better understanding of what my peers were doing and the latest advances in the field of hepatology,” said Nathanson. “It’s humbling and gratifying to think that all that I’ve done is now being recognized by my peers,” he added.

His past contributions to AASLD also include his membership on the society’s Basic Research Committee, Nominating Committee, and the Abstract Review Committee. A member of the society for three decades, Nathanson continues his dedication as the current chair of the Ethics Committee.

Alongside his work with AASLD, Nathanson is the director of both the Yale Liver Center and the Center for Cell and Molecular Imaging at Yale School of Medicine. The Liver Center is one of only three research centers for hepatology in the U.S. that is funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, for the past 25 years, he has overseen Yale’s postdoctoral liver training program, which has instructed over 40 postdoctoral fellows who go on to have academic careers as hepatologists. Nathanson also maintains an active research program to investigate liver cell biology, which has been independently funded by NIH and other sources for over 30 years.

Reflecting on his career thus far, Nathanson views his many professional roles as a way to give back to the liver disease community that supported him, “Running the Yale Liver Center and our post-doctoral liver training program at Yale has been motivated by a desire to help my colleagues realize their full potential, just like how I feel Yale has helped me.”

Since forming one of the nation’s first sections of hepatology and then gastroenterology over 50 years ago, Yale’s Section of Digestive Diseases has had an enduring impact on research and clinical care in gastrointestinal and liver disorders. To learn more about their work, visit Digestive Diseases.

Submitted by Julie Parry on November 22, 2022