Simon W. Beaven, MD, PhD

Key investigator

  • Simon W. Beaven, MD, PhD

Current research projects

  • Genetics of liver fibrosis and development of novel biomarkers of liver fibrosis
  • Rare GI diseases: Porphyrias; AI-enabled detection of porphyrias in large populations
  • Quality of care for patients with cirrhosis / end of life care
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Quality improvement projects in GI and Hepatology at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center

About Dr. Beaven

Dr. Beaven attended Stanford University where he majored in mathematics with honors in humanities. He went on to receive his MD from the University of California, San Francisco, and received the Dean’s Research Prize for work he performed in the laboratory of Dr. Scott Friedman under a Howard Hughes Medical Student Research Fellowship. Dr. Beaven completed internal medicine residency training at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. He came to UCLA in 2003 as a fellow in digestive diseases where he completed his gastroenterology fellowship. During this period, Dr. Beaven continued his research training and received a PhD with Dr. Peter Tontonoz in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Pathology. His doctoral work focused on cholesterol and lipid metabolism as it pertains to an important clinical problem: the metabolic syndrome. His major research interests include the genetics of liver fibrosis, especially in relation to fatty liver and the metabolic syndrome, the study of rare GI diseases (porphyrias and familial Mediterranean fever), and quality improvement projects in gastroenterology and liver disease at Olive View – UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Beaven joined the digestive diseases faculty at UCLA as an assistant professor in 2010. He is a research director for the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Health (COMET), which studies how metabolic pathways influence liver and gastrointestinal diseases. He has been studying the biology of the hepatic stellate cell, the key scar-forming cell in all forms of liver disease (e.g. fatty liver, viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease). This work is aimed at better understanding the genetics of liver fibrosis and the development of better tools to detect and predict outcomes from liver disease. He is a member of the American Porphyria Foundation and has joined the NIH-funded Porphyria Research Consortium. More recently, he is spearheading an effort to focus on rare liver and GI diseases such as the porphyrias and familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). Dr. Beaven and his trainees have received awards from the UCLA Department of Medicine Research Day, UCLA CURE, and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). He is an active peer reviewer for several scientific journals, including Diabetes, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Hepatology, Gastroenterology, and the Journal of Lipid Research. Dr. Beaven teaches in the medical school at all levels and lectures to medical residents and fellows on issues related to liver and gastrointestinal disease. He primarily sees patients with liver diseases at the Pfleger Liver Institute (UCLA) and patients with liver disease and general GI conditions at Olive View – UCLA Medical Center.

Key publications - Full list on PubMed

  1. Dickey AK, Naik H, Keel SB, Levy C, Beaven SW, Elmariah SB, Erwin AL, Goddu RJ, Hedstrom K, Leaf RK, Kazamel M, Mazepa M, Philpotts LL, Quigley J, Raef H, Rudnick SR, Saberi B, Thapar M, Ungar J, Wang B, Balwani M; Porphyrias Consortium of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network. Evidence-based consensus guidelines for the diagnosis and management of erythropoietic protoporphyria and X-linked protoporphyriaJ Am Acad Dermatol. 2022 Aug 27:S0190-9622(22)02611-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2022.08.036. Online ahead of print. PMID: 36041558 Review

  2. Hui ST, Kurt Z, Tuominen I, Norheim F, Davis RC, Pan C, Dirks DL, Magyar CE, French SW, Krishnan KC, Sabir S, Campos-Perez F, Sanchez NM, Macias-Kauffer L, Leon-Mimila P, Canizales-Quinteros S, Yang X, Beaven SW, Huertas-Vazquez A, Lusis AJ. The genetic architecture of diet-induced hepatic fibrosis in miceHepatology, 2018 Jun 16. doi: 10.1002/hep.30113

  3. **O’Mahony F, Wroblewski K, O’Byrne SM, Jiang H, Clerkin K, Benhammou J, Blaner WS, Beaven SWLiver X receptors balance lipid stores in hepatic stellate cells through Rab18, a retinoid responsive lipid droplet proteinHepatology, 62(2):615-26, 2015.
  4. Clark PM, Flores G, Evdokimov NM, McCracken NM, Chai T, Nair-Gill E, O’Mahony F, Beaven SW, Faull KF, Phelps ME, Jung ME, Witte ON. Positron emission tomography probe demonstrates a striking concentration of ribose salvage in the liverProc Natl Acad Sci USA, 111(28):E2866-84, 2014.
  5. **Beaven SW, Matveyenko A, Wroblewski K, Chao L, Wilpitz D, Hsu TW, Lentz J, Drew B, Hevener AL, Tontonoz P. Reciprocal regulation of hepatic and adipose lipogenesis by LXRs in obesity and insulin resistanceCell Metabolism, 18(1):106-17, 2013.
  6. Ribas V, Drew BG, Zhou Z, PHun J, Lakajian NY, Soleymani T, Daraei P, Widjaja K, Wanagat J, de Aguiar Vallim TQ, Fluitt AH, Bensinger S, Le T, Radu C, Whitelegge P, Beaven SW, Tontonoz P, Lusis AJ, Parks BW, Vergnes L, Reue K, Singh H, Bopassa JC, Toro L, Stefani E, Watt MJ, Schenk S, Akerstrom T, Kelly M, Pedersen BK, Hewitt SC, Korach KS, Hevener AL. Skeletal muscle action of estrogen receptor a is critical for the maintenance of mitochondrial function and metabolic homeostasis in femalesSci Transl Med, 2016 Apr 13;8(334):334ra54. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aad3815
  7. Chen X, McClusky R, Chen J, Beaven SW, Tontonoz P, Arnold AP, Reue K. The number of X chromosomes causes sex differences in adiposity in micePLoS Genetics, 8(5):e1002709, 2012.
  8. Hong C, Kidani Y, A-Gonzalez N, Phung T, Ito A, Rong X, Ericson K, Mikkola H, Beaven SW, Miller LS, Shao WH, Cohen PL, Castrillo A, Tontonoz P, Bensinger SJ. Coordinate regulation of neutrophil homeostasis by liver X receptors in miceJ. Clinical Investigation, 122(1): 337-47, 2012.
  9. **Beaven SW, Wroblewski K, Wang J, Hong C, Bensinger S, Tsukamoto H, Tontonoz P. LXR signaling is a determinant of stellate cell activation and susceptibility to fibrotic liver diseaseGastroenterology, 140(3): 1052-62, 2011.
  10. **Beaven SW, Tontonoz, P. Nuclear receptors in lipid metabolism: targeting the heart of dyslipidemiaAnnu Rev Med, 57:313-329, 2006.
  11. Banck MS, Beaven SW, Narla G, Walsh MJ, Beutler AS, Friedman SL. KLF6 degradation after apoptotic DNA damageFEBS Letters, 580(30):6981-86, 2006.
  12. Chen M, Bradley MN, Beaven SW, Tontonoz P. Phosphorylation of the liver X receptorsFEBS Letters, 580(20):4835-41, 2006.
  13. Chen M, Beaven SW, Tontonoz P. Identification and characterization of two alternatively spliced transcript variants of human liver X receptor alphaJ. Lipid Research, 107(2):610-18, 2005.

** = Required reading for those interested in joining the lab

Past GI research fellows

  •  Jihane N. Benhammou, MD, PhD

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