Hepatic organ Tissue crosstalk


This project will investigate how the liver communicates with other organs. Of special interest is how this becomes disregulated during liver disease. Mouse models will be employed.


Dr Lionel Hebbard

Research Location

Westmead - Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Program Type



Energy homeostasis reflects the net balance between intake, storage and expenditure. This complex system is tightly regulated by crosstalk between multiple organs including the brain, gut, muscle, liver and adipose. Crosstalk between the brain and the periphery is well established. There is also bi-directional communication between the gut and liver through nutrient intake and hormones such as Fibroblast growth factor-19 (FGF-19) and Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and between adipose and gut. Crosstalk between adipose and liver is well established through hormones such as adiponectin. That between the liver and adipose or liver and muscle has not been well explored and is not considered an established endocrine paradigm. This project concerns the exploration of crosstalk between the liver and other tissues. Of principle interest is the possible role of this cross-talk during states of liver diseases such as fatty liver or steatosis. We contend that liver-tissue communication with other tissues is a ‘modulatable' target, which if our hypothesis is proven, can be a targeted to regulate energy metabolism and liver pathophysiology. Within the group we have established a number of knock-out mouse models, that represent molecules involved with hepatic function. We will use these mice to examine the role of these molecules in tissue and systemic metabolism and liver disease.

Additional Information

Successful applicants will receive extensive training in mouse models, informatics, histology, biochemical techniques, signal transduction, metabolism, isolating primary cells and models of liver disease. The completion of this project will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of fatty liver disease.

The Storr Liver Unit
The Western Clinical School's Storr Liver Unit investigates the pathogenesis of liver disease, and the diverse causes of liver injury, such as drugs and toxins, metabolic factors and viruses. Internationally acclaimed, the Unit has made substantial contributions to defining how the liver responds to injury, and how genes involved in the metabolisms of drugs and toxic products of liver metabolism are regulated. The Unit is well funded and thus there is the opportunity to employed cutting edge techniques and tools to bring each project to fruition. There will also be opportunity to collaborate with internationally-renowned researchers at the Westmead Millennium Institute. As part of the community of over 400 researchers based on the Westmead campus, there will be the possibility to utilise the Institute's state-of-the-art molecular, translational and cell biological facilities.

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Liver disease, tissue cross talk, metabolism, Mouse models

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1341

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