Cooper Lab

California Pacific CURRENTS: The online journal of CPMC Research Institute

A scanning electron microscope of blood with cells activated during the immune response
Dr. Cooper and colleagues at CPMC are investigating how the immune system clears hepatitis C.

Worldwide, the hepatitis B virus causes millions of cases of cirrhosis and liver cancer that kill more than 600,000 people annually. For most people, the virus persists in liver cells for a lifetime.

Our lab is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying hepatitis B, C and other liver diseases. Identifying early molecular or genetic changes— which may be detected before the illness manifests any clinical symptoms—could lead to more effective, targeted therapies that reduce the severity of liver disease, or even prevent it from developing.

A core focus among our group is understanding hepatic immunity—or how immune responses and related sets of genes influence disease outcomes—with the goal to find new treatments and protect donor livers transplanted into patients with hepatitis C. Studying the immune system might not only lead to a preventive or therapeutic vaccine, but also explain why some patients respond to antiviral therapy and others do not.

Much of our research utilizes liver tissue samples from the El Hefni Liver Biorepository.

Lead Investigator
Lab Members
Adil (Ed) Wakil, M.D.
Associate Chief, Division of Hepatology at California Pacific Medical Center; Associate Director of the Kalmanovitz Liver Immunology Laboratory
Dr. Lia Avanesyan, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral Fellow
Adrian Wadley, B.Sc.
El Hefni Liver Biorepository Manager
Current Projects
  • Investigations of how natural killer cells, T cells, and hybrid natural killer T cells interact to clear hepatitis C
  • Development and validation of biomarkers for liver and biliary diseases
  • Studies on autoimmune liver disease, complications of liver disease, hemochromatosis, hepatic encephalopathy, and liver cancer