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Willenbring Lab »  Lab Members »  Principal Investigators »  Holger Willenbring, M.D., Ph.D.
Holger Willenbring, M.D., Ph.D.

Holger Willenbring, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor of Surgery
Member, Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research
Associate Director, Liver Center


Contact Information

(415) 476-2417 Office
(415) 514-2346 Facsimile
willenbringh@stemcell.ucsf.edu
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  • Medical University Lübeck, Germany, 10/1989 - 07/1995
  • Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 08/1995 - 04/1996
  • University of Münster, Germany, 05/1996 - 12/1996
  • University of Münster, Germany, Department of Pediatrics, Medical Intern, 02/1997 - 07/1998
  • University of Münster, Germany, Department of Pediatrics, Medical Resident, 08/1998 - 09/2001
  • Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, 10/2001 -10/2005
  • Liver Cell Therapy
  • LIver Development
  • Liver Regeneration

Our research is aimed at developing new therapies for patients with severe liver diseases. To restore liver function in patients with liver failure, we are working on generating hepatocytes from human pluripotent stem cells or by reprogramming of readily accessible human cell types. To be therapeutically effective, these cells need to replicate both function and the ability to proliferate of primary human hepatocytes. To establish and improve protocols for the production of such cells, we have been working on obtaining a detailed molecular understanding of hepatocyte differentiation and regeneration. For this, we are using mouse models for liver cell lineage tracing developed in our laboratory. In addition, we are using rigorous animal models of human liver failure to test the therapeutic efficacy of our surrogate hepatocytes. While developing novel liver cell therapies is our main focus, we are also using hepatocytes derived from human pluripotent stem cells or by reprogramming to generate in vitro and in vivo liver disease models. Another goal of our laboratory is to determine the origin and follow the fate of liver cancer-initiating cells with the goal to identify the molecular mechanisms that drive liver cancer formation and progression. For this, we are using new mouse models generated in our laboratory. By obtaining an improved understanding of hepatocarcinogenesis, we hope to contribute to the development of strategies for early detection and effective eradication of liver cancer. 

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  • Next-generation human liver gene therapy
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    Sep 2021
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    Jun 2026
    Principal Investigator
  • Targeting AAV vectors to cell types involved in alcohol-induced liver injury
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    Sep 2018
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    May 2023
    Principal Investigator
  • Building a functional biliary system from hepatocytes
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    Sep 2016
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    Jul 2021
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • Microphysiological systems to interrogate the Islet-Liver-Adipose Axis in normal physiology and Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus
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    Sep 2018
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    Jul 2020
    Co-Principal Investigator
  • Myofibroblast-to-hepatocyte conversion as a therapy for alcoholic liver disease
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    Sep 2013
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    Aug 2015
    Principal Investigator
  • Liver regeneration with stems cells of uniparental origin
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    Apr 2008
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    Aug 2013
    Co-Principal Investigator
MOST RECENT PUBLICATIONS FROM A TOTAL OF 66
Data provided by UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI
  1. Lee-Montiel FT, Laemmle A, Charwat V, Dumont L, Lee CS, Huebsch N, Okochi H, Hancock MJ, Siemons B, Boggess SC, Goswami I, Miller EW, Willenbring H, Healy KE. Integrated Isogenic Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Liver and Heart Microphysiological Systems Predict Unsafe Drug-Drug Interaction. Front Pharmacol. 2021; 12:667010. View in PubMed
  2. Duwaerts CC, Le Guillou D, Her CL, Phillips NJ, Willenbring H, Mattis AN, Maher JJ. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Hepatocytes From Patients With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Display a Disease-specific Gene Expression Profile. Gastroenterology. 2021 Jun; 160(7):2591-2594.e6. View in PubMed
  3. Kurial SNT, Willenbring H. Emerging cell therapy for biliary diseases. Science. 2021 02 19; 371(6531):786-787. View in PubMed
  4. Kurial SNT, Willenbring H. Transcriptomic Traces of Adult Human Liver Progenitor Cells. Hepatology. 2020 04; 71(4):1504-1507. View in PubMed
  5. Chen F, Jimenez RJ, Sharma K, Luu HY, Hsu BY, Ravindranathan A, Stohr BA, Willenbring H. Broad Distribution of Hepatocyte Proliferation in Liver Homeostasis and Regeneration. Cell Stem Cell. 2020 01 02; 26(1):27-33.e4. View in PubMed
  6. View All Publications

 

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