Mater Researcher awarded Liver Foundation Fellowship

Thursday 12 August 2021

Liver transplants are currently the only treatment available to patients with end-stage liver disease, but when a liver is transplanted it goes without oxygen for a period of time. When the blood supply is returned to the organ, it can cause tissue damage – called Ischemia-reperfusion injury - that can affect the transplant outcome.

Mater Researcher Sahar Keshvari is hoping she can find a way to boost the health of the donor liver so transplant patients can look forward to better outcomes.

Sahar has been awarded the 2021 Liver Foundation Professor Pauline Hall Fellowship to fund her potentially life-saving research.

Sahar said she was honoured to receive the fellowship and was excited to pursue better treatment options for patients with Chronic Liver Disease.

“My team at Mater Research is examining if immune cells called Macrophages, can be programmed to preserve and improve donor liver function so that the window of opportunity for transplantation is extended. We’re also looking at if these reprogrammed immune cells can reverse liver damage,” she said.

“Livers from circulatory dead donors normally have prolonged ischemia time and toxic leakage and therefore transplanted livers are sourced almost exclusively from brain dead donors to avoid complications. The ability to preserve donor liver function would represent a major advance.”

The Liver Foundation’s Professor Pauline Hall Fellowship is designed to enable full-time research into hepatobiliary disease and can involve clinical and/or laboratory research.