Liver Researcher Appointed as Career Research Scientist

February 10, 2004

For more information, contact:
Liz Crossan, Central Texas VA, 254-743-2376
Scott Clark, Scott & White, 254-724-9724
John Holder, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, 979-458-0669
February 10, 2004
For immediate release
Liver Researcher Appointed as Career Research Scientist
College Station, Texas – The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine and Scott & White are proud to announce the appointment of Gianfranco Alpini, Ph.D., as Research Career Scientist by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Research Service (MRS) in Washington, D.C.
A research chemist at the Central Texas VA, Dr. Alpini is a professor of internal medicine and medical physiology with the College of Medicine and Scott & White and holds the Hightower Centennial Chair in Gastroenterology. Dr. Alpini’s selection to this prestigious position reflects his ongoing accomplishments in research.
The VA Research Career Scientist designation “may be awarded to established, independent investigators who have distinguished themselves through scientific achievement and who contribute to the VA research program through participation in research activities,” according to the Medical Research Service.
“Such appointments are very selective,” Laura Frye, Administrator, Research Service, Central Texas VA, said. “This is the first time we have had someone receive this type of appointment.”
Acknowledging the significance of this award, Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System, said: “We are pleased that the quality and breadth of Dr. Alpini’s work has been recognized by the Veterans Administration and are proud of his contributions. This recognition is another indication of the excellent research under way by A&M Health Science Center faculty.”
“This appointment recognizes Dr. Alpini for his significant research over the last 10 years,” Alfred B. Knight, M.D., Scott & White President and CEO, said. “We are proud and honored for this prestigious appointment.”
Research Career Scientists are evaluated on their performance in collaboration, mentoring and training, and receive VA salary support. Dr. Alpini’s appointment will cover a five-year period beginning in April 2004. Renewal is competitive and contingent upon several factors, including availability of funds, continued research support, contribution to VA research service and scientific distinction.
Dr. Alpini’s research focuses on the physiology intrahepatic bile duct epithelial cells, which line the biliary system inside the liver. Bile duct cells play a key role in the secretion and modification of the bile. Bile duct cells proliferate in most cholestatic liver diseases, such as liver cirrhosis. His research program investigates how and why bile duct cells proliferate during the progression of liver diseases.
The author of numerous peer-reviewed professional articles, book chapters and presentations, Dr. Alpini earned his Ph.D. in chemistry and pharmaceutical technologies in 1984 from the University of Studies of Rome “La Sapienza,” in Rome, Italy. Prior to joining Scott & White in 1994, he served as a senior postdoctoral fellow involved in basic research on digestive diseases at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Since joining the VA in 1997, he has received two VA Merit Review Grants and now this third prestigious award.
Dr. Alpini is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases and the American Physiological Society. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Hepatology and the American Journal of Physiology, as an ad hoc reviewer for other professional publications, and as a reviewer for National Institutes of Health and VA Merit research awards.
As the biomedical arm of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development, the Medical Research Service funds and administers research on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders affecting veterans.

— Marketing & Communications