Dear Colleagues-Friends,

We are extremely pleased to create a new Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health at VCU that will be led by Dr. Arun Sanyal. This institute will build on the success of our already nationally recognized hepatology and liver transplant programs to make VCU a global leader in research and education about liver diseases and metabolically driven disorders and in the care for patients with these conditions.

“I am humbled and deeply honored by the opportunity to lead the Institute for Liver Disease and Metabolic Health,” Dr. Sanyal said. “It is an exceptional opportunity to create an infrastructure where clinically relevant problems can be translated in real time to the laboratory and then back to the bedside through the continuum of liver disease – from early stages to liver transplantation – with the end goal of accelerating preventive and therapeutic strategies. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to make this vision a reality.”

With an emphasis on developing a diverse workforce and providing the research tools of tomorrow, the institute will create an environment that fosters scientific inquiry, scholarship and innovation to meet both current and future health challenges.

“I’m pleased that this new institute’s activities will combine our missions of research, education and clinical care,” said Dr. Michael Rao, president of VCU and VCU Health. “This is an example of innovative transformation that will enhance collaboration between multiple schools within VCU and support the professional development of the next generation of investigators.”

The institute also will strengthen existing programs that span translational science and develop the infrastructure to support precision medicine approaches. It will feature a strong focus on translating the benefits of basic research to patients to help improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of liver diseases.

“By bolstering collaborations with neurosciences, cardiology, critical care, renal disease, infectious disease, endocrinology, psychology, addiction medicine and transplant sciences, the institute will promote research that explores multifaceted aspects of liver disease and its interconnectedness to health, recovery and wellbeing,” said Dr. Art Kellermann, senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health.

In addition, the institute will further VCU’s ability to care for patients and their families with liver disease and metabolic disorders.

“The cutting-edge translational research fostered by the institute will enable us to develop new diagnostics, therapies and preventative strategies to relieve the tremendous burden of liver and metabolic disease globally,” said Dr. Patricia Sime, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. “The power of a multidisciplinary team is tremendous, and I am grateful to Dr. Sanyal for his leadership and to our many colleagues across multiple departments for their collaborative approach to delivering top-notch patient care, education and scholarship.”

Dr. Sanyal has shown remarkable leadership as a clinician-researcher in his three decades on faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Since 1995, he has been continuously funded by the NIH with about $20 million in total awards.

“Dr. Sanyal is an extremely productive clinician-researcher who is ranked in the top 0.1 percentile of all investigators in medicine based on impact on science,” said Dr. Srirama Rao, VCU’s vice president for research and innovation. “Dr. Sanyal has trained an entire generation of liver specialists, and he is known for being tremendously supportive as a mentor, maintaining close collaborations all around the globe. Additionally, Dr. Sanyal’s leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled VCU to be at the forefront of drug development in the global effort to stop the spread of this disease.”

Dr. Sanyal has served as past president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, founding member of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Transplant Hepatology Board and founder of the Liver Forum, which brings the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency together with academia and industry to facilitate drug development.

“Arun has been a trusted colleague and friend since I arrived at VCU almost 13 years ago,” VCU President Rao said. “I am really pleased for him and proud of the work he has accomplished so far. I know the best is yet to come.”

We offer our appreciation to the many other individuals, including Dr. Sime and Dr. Marlon Levy, David M. Hume endowed chair of the Division of Transplant Surgery, who have had supported the concept and development of this new initiative and look forward to all the they and this new institute will accomplish in the years ahead.

With all good wishes,

Pter F. Buckley, M.D.; Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Executive vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System