About the Center

Funded in 1999 by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Southern California Research Center for Alcohol-Associated Liver and Pancreatic Diseases (ALPD) and Cirrhosis unifies 60 investigators from major academic institutions in Southern California to pursue a common mission of being a leader in research, training, and outreach for the diseases. The center, since its inception in 1999, has devoted its efforts for development and use of clinically relevant animal models to gain novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the predisposition to advanced ALPD. These efforts culminated in recent groundbreaking discoveries which have significantly advanced our understanding of synergistic ALPD caused by alcohol and secondary risk factors and identified novel therapeutic targets for the disease, which are currently being tested in patients.

Numbers at a Glance: The Center Achieved in 2018-2023

  • Research base: 55.3% increase to $25M/year
  • New collaborative multi-PI grants: 11 NIH U01/P01/MPI-R01 grants and 3 DOD program projects
  • Publications: 241 publications
  • Collaborative papers: 40%
  • Early-career investigators funded by NIH/DOD: 8 investigators
  • Postdocs transitioned to faculty: 34 postdocs of which 14 at US institutions
  • Graduate students taught: 113 students
  • Lee Summer Research Fellows: 54 students
  • The number of mouse models provided by the center’s Animal Core: 2401 mice
  • Non-center investigators supported by the Animal Core: 15 investigators
  • Number of repository specimens provided to non-center members by the Animal Core: 333 samples
  • Non-center investigators’ grant acquisitions/applications supported by the center: 6 grants and 7 pending applications
  • Community seminar and workshops organized by the center: 5 NIAAA-sponsored international symposia organized by the center: 5 symposia

Mission of the Center

The center’s mission statement: The Southern California Research Center for ALPD and Cirrhosis unifies experts in Southern California to pursue a common mission of being a leader in research, training, outreach, and treatment for ALPD and cirrhosis. Toward this mission, we pursue the following objectives.

To maximize our interactive and synergistic environment

for a pursuit for the center’s main research theme: identification of therapeutic targets for advanced ALPD and cirrhosis

To continue to serve as a national and international resource

in our fields of research via provision of unique models, technology and expertise, as well as collaborations with outside investigators

To provide comprehensive education and research training

at the multi-levels ranging from undergraduate and graduate students to postdoctoral trainees to junior scientists and faculty to foster and support future generations of independent scientists in the ALPD and cirrhosis field

To continue outreach efforts

to disseminate the center’s new findings to lay public, healthcare workers, and scientists in our home and global communities

The Research Center is supported by grants (P50 AA011999 and R24 AA012885) from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  (NIAAA) and by the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and provides Unique Scientific Services that Supports Scientists around the world.

The Center provides unique expertise to the scientific community through its Core Services. The Animal Core provides 16 different clinically-relevant rodent models of ALPD and cirrhosis including the unique intragastric ethanol infusion (iG) mice, humanized liver cancer mice, and models of alcohol-promoted liver and pancreatic cancer. The Integrative Liver Cell Core isolates several liver cell types from these models to support cell-type specific research.

More Information and Fee Schedules

Research Theme

Our center’s unifying concept is that ALPD and cirrhosis are lifestyle diseases, the predisposition to which is predicated by genetic and environmental interactions. For alcohol-associated liver disease (AALD), viral and bacterial infection, diabetes, autoimmunity, iron disorders, and sleep apnea are important co-morbidities while diabetes and smoking are common risk factors for alcohol-associated pancreatitis. Indeed, synergistic interactions between alcohol and obesity-associated metabolic complications are increasingly recognized for both ALPD. Thus, the understanding of how alcohol and metabolic co-morbidities interact at the molecular level to advance the diseases is a high priority of research as it should help develop new therapeutic approaches for patients who otherwise have poor prognosis and outcome. This constitutes a primary focus of our center’s research pursued by leading-edge cell, molecular, and translational investigations.