I became interested in transplantation when the University of Padova in Italy wanted to start up a program in the early 1980's. At that time Italy had very low organ donation rates. The complexity of liver functions and the amazing ability of the liver to regenerate itself are fascinating - this capability is leading toward living donations in adults. I came to UC Davis for the opportunity to further develop the liver transplant and hepatology programs, and because there is a great need to continue bringing the latest technology and pharmacology to the region.
My forte is in strong patient relationships, and I strongly believe in the benefits of humor and laughter, but most of all spending time with patients and listening to them. Respect and attention are critical to my practice style. Treating disease early gives the best chance of success, and I want to get the early screening message across to patients with risk factors for viral hepatitis. Involvement with referring physicians is key to providing quality care in a team set-up. I like to talk and write letters to referrers every time I see the patient. I see myself as on their service - I want to be accessible all the time and help with any liver disease case, whether or not the patient is a candidate for transplant.
My research interests focus on liver disease and its complications; clinical trials for the treatment of hepatitis B and C with combinations of new drugs; pathophysiology of portal hypertension and its relation to development of hepatic encephalopathy and ascites using ultrasound with Doppler techniques and magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy; basic research studies investigating the changes in NMR spectroscopy in the brain and the results of psychometric testing in liver cirrhosis before and after liver transplantation or transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunting.