Dr. Cynthia Ju
Dr. Cynthia Ju

The Department of Anesthesiology at McGovern Medical School recently recruited a leading expert in liver disease studies with plans to establish a Liver Injury Research Program.

Dr. Cynthia Ju joined the Department of Anesthesiology in 2017 as professor and vice chair for research from the University of Colorado. Ju previously served at UoC as a professor of immunology and toxicology in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She was also a faculty member in the Integrated Department of Immunology at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.

The UT System Board of Regents created the Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) Program in 2004 to help UT institutions attract and retain outstanding faculty. Awards, which can be used to purchase equipment and renovate facilities, require institutional support and are available to support the recruitment of tenure-track faculty members at any rank.

Ju graduated from Peking University in Beijing in 1991 with a bachelor of science in chemistry, followed by a master of science in bio-organic chemistry in 1995 from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and a Ph.D. in drug metabolism and toxicology from the University of Toronto.

Ju is regarded as an internationally recognized leading expert in studies of acute and chronic liver injury, an invited speaker internationally and nationally, and has collaborated with various other researchers across her field. She is an associate editor for the Journal of Molecular Medicine and serves on the editorial boards of Hepatology and Drug Metabolism Reviews, the director of the Animal Core of the GI and Liver Innate Immune Transformational Program, and also served as president of the Mountain West Chapter of the Society.

Her research focuses on understanding the involvement of innate immune cells in livery injury and the molecular mechanisms of liver injury and repair. The research team she led in Denver established and optimized a number of animal models of liver injury and her group made significant contributions in defining critical cellular and molecular pathways in the mechanisms of liver injury. She also has provided guidance for the research for pre- and post-doctoral fellows trained in her laboratory and has mentored students to become successful scientists.

Ju said she aims to develop an internationally recognized research program that encompasses basic research that advances the field in understanding the pathogenesis of acute and chronic liver disease. The program will combine molecular and cellular approaches, make use of experimental animal models, and utilize research strategies such as clinical biomarker studies and mechanistic studies in murine models of acute and chronic liver injuries – models established by Ju’s laboratory in Colorado.

“We strive to establish a Liver Injury Research Program that is the best in the country,” Ju said in her research plan. “UTHealth, with its strong standing clinical programs, is an ideal place to achieve this goal.”