ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Anna S. Lok, MD, FAASLD, was confirmed as the 68th president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases during the annual Liver Meeting, held Nov. 11-15, in Boston.
Her term begins in January 2017 and is the latest acheivement by the research pioneer who's led some of the most important studies in clinical hepatology.
Lok is director of clinical hepatology at the University of Michigan Health System and has helped the World Health Organization and AASLD develop guidelines that shape the management of hepatitis B worldwide.
AASLD is the leading organization of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease.
The international society is responsible for all aspects of hepatology and its annual meeting, The Liver Meeting, is a destination for nearly 10,000 physicians, surgeons, researchers and allied health professionals from around the world.
During the Leon Schiff State-of-the-Art Lecture, the closing lecture of the 2017 Liver Meeting, Lok gave her vision for the elimination of hepatitis B, stating,“the goal of elimination of HBV is possible. Not in the immediate future, but it’s much closer than it used to be."
Lok was a faculty member at the University of Hong Kong until she moved to the United States in 1992. Lok was recruited to the University of Michigan in 1995 from Tulane University where she was chief of hepatology.
At the University of Michigan she is the Alice Lohrman Andrews Research Professor in Hepatology and assistant dean for clinical research in the Department of Internal Medicine.
Her research focuses on the natural history and treatment of hepatitis B and C. She has been on the forefront of research on the effects of chemotherapy and antiviral therapy for hepatitis B, utilizing grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Veterans Health Administration.
It was her pioneering research that demonstrated it is possible to cure hepatitis C with interferon-free regimens using a combination of direct-acting antiviral agents.
In an introduction of Lok, Tram T. Tran, M.D., medical director of liver transplant at Cedars-Sinai, said, "Her research and work defines care for every HBV patient we see today."
Lok has trained numerous fellows and junior faculty from all over the world. Her dedication to training and mentoring was recognized by the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research Distinguished Mentor Award in 2012.
She has received many other awards throughout her career, including the American Gastroenterological Association’s 2016 William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology, and she was inducted into the Association of American Physicians in 2012.