- Jihane N. Benhammou, MD, PhD
Hepatology and health services research
The Benhammou Laboratory focus is to understand the predictors, pathogenesis and clinical outcomes of non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) and fatty liver-associated hepatocellular carcinoma in different ethnic populations. To this end, the laboratory conducts multidisciplinary clinical and translational research at UCLA and Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Systems. The success of these projects depend on collaboration across fields including transplant hepatology and surgery, human genetics, and human health services.
Current research projects
- Determining the transcriptional profile of NAFLD associated HCC
- Study lipidomics profile of patients who have developed the spectrum of NAFLD disease including HCC
- Understand the role of statins and key lipid genes including stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) enzyme in the pathogenesis of NAFLD-related HCC and their effects on the Hippo pathway
- Develop NAFLD definition using pre-existing Electronic Health Records and imaging modalities within Veterans Affairs population
Future research projects
- Developing prediction models for HCC in NAFLD patients with and without cirrhosis
- Assessing prevalence of NAFLD in the hepatitis C-DAA treated patient population who has reached sustained virologic responses to help risk stratify patients post treatment in hepatology clinics
Current funding and support
- NIH/NIDDK CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center Pilot and Feasibility Studies (P03 DK41301), 2019-2022
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Advanced Transplant Hepatology Award, 2020-2021
- Visium 10X Spatial Genomics Grant, 2020-2021
- Vatche and Tamar Manoukiand Division of Digestive Diseases to study lipid axis in NAFLD-related HCC including in the YAP/TAZ Hippo pathway
Previous funding and support
- Intercept Pharmaceuticals Investigator Initiated Study to determine the prevalence of NAFLD in the post hepatitis C SVR patient population within Veterans 2017-2019
In the news
- Dr. Benhammou was selected as an early career physician-scientist "scholar" for the 2021-2023 AGA FORWARD Program: Fostering Opportunities Resulting in Workforce and Research Diversity supported by NIH.
Current GI research fellow
About Dr. Benhammou
Dr. Benhammou completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin, with a major in human biology. She then completed medical school at University of California, San Francisco with a thesis in molecular medicine. Before starting her internship at the University of California, Los Angeles in internal medicine, Dr. Benhammou participated in a two-year intramural program at the National Cancer Institutes studying functional genomics and hereditary forms of kidney cancer.
Dr. Benhammou went on to complete her internal medicine and gastroenterology training at UCLA. There, she received advanced research training in the UCLA Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) program and NIH T32, which supported her graduate studies in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology. Her doctoral dissertation addressed the clinical risk factors of NAFLD hepatocellular carcinoma and the molecular mechanisms at play in NAFLD pathogenesis. Following her PhD, Dr. Benhammou completed additional clinical training in transplant hepatology at UCLA.
Dr. Benhammou joined the digestive diseases and hepatology faculty at UCLA and Greater Los Angeles VA where she will care for patients with chronic liver disease before and after liver transplantation. She will continue to pursue her research on NAFLD-associated hepatocellular carcinoma using clinical and translational research tools. She is board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and transplant hepatology.
Bo Qiano, MD
Dr. Qiao earned his medical degree at Zhangjiakou Medical School in China, followed by an MS in biochemistry at Beijing University. He served as a research associate at USC in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and subsequently joined the Dumont-UCLA Transplant Center. Dr. Qiao then joined the laboratory of Tomas Ganz, PhD, MD, UCLA Center for Iron Disorders, where he developed an interest in liver disease. He is now joining the laboratories of Noam Jacob, MD, PhD, and Jihane N. Benhammou, MD, PhD, to continue his work on metabolism and the gut-liver axis.
Nicole Prause, PhD
Dr. Prause specializes in time series analysis, including biosignal processing and cognitive models. She will be working with Dr. Jihane N. Benhammou, Dr. Tien S. Dong and Dr. Arpan A. Patel on a number of clinical, translational and health services research projects in hepatology. Her past research has focused on decision making during alcohol intoxication using direct administration in laboratory studies, as well as other acute neural/decision shifts in reward sensitivity and reproductive cues. Dr. Prause completed her PhD in clinical science with a focus on neuroscience and statistics at Indiana University, Bloomington. She held a one-year internship at the Boston Consortium and a research fellowship in addictions at Harvard University, leading to a license as a clinical psychologist. .
- Benhammou JN, Rich NE, Cholankeril G, Zhang P, Zeng W, Rao S, Le W, Wu X, Feng S, Fujiwara N, Meng X, Zhu S, Zaidi S, Tayob N. DETECT: DEvelopment of Technologies for Early HCC deTection. Gastroenterology. doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2022.03.024
- Rao S, Yang X, Ohshiro K, Saidi S, Wang Z, Shetty K, Xiang X, Hassan I, Mohammad T, Latham PS, Nguyen BN, Yu H, Al-Abed Y, Mishra B, Vacca M, Guenigault G, Allison MED, Vidal-Puid A, Benhammou JN, Valrez M, Pajukanta P, Pisegna JR, Mishra L. β2-spectrin (SPTBN1) as a therapeutic target for diet-induced liver disease and preventing cancer development. Science Translational Medicine. 15 Dec 2021 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abk2267
- Benhammou JN. Emerging risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease associaed hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatoma Res. 2020;6(35). Epub 2020/06/18
- Benhammou JN, Aby ES, Shirvanian G, et al. Improved survival after treatments of patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease associated hepatocellular carcinoma. Sci Rep. 2020;10(1):9902. Epub 2020/06/20
- Aby ES, Winters AC, Lin J, Bui A, Kawamoto J, Goetz MB, Bhattacharya D, Pisegna JR, May FP, Patel AA, Benhammou JN. A Telephone and Mail Outreach Program Successfully Increases Uptake of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Surveillance. Hepatol Commun. 2020;4(6):825-33. Epub 2020/06/04
- Benhammou JN, Ko A, Alvarez M, et al. Novel Lipid Long Intervening Noncoding RNA, Oligodendrocyte Maturation-Associated Long Intergenic Noncoding RNA, Regulates the Liver Steatosis Gene Stearoyl-Coenzyme A Desaturase As an Enhancer RNA. Hepatol Commun. 2019;3(10):1356-72. Epub 2019/10/09
- Garske KM, Pan DZ, Miao Z, Bhagat YV, Comenho C, Robles CR, Benhammou JN, et al. Reverse Gene-Environment Interaction Approach to Identify Variants Influencing Body-Mass Index in Humans. Nat Metab. 2019;1(6):630-42. Epub 2019/09/21
- Aby ES, Benhammou JN, Tabibian JH. My Doctor Told Me I Have Fatty Liver-What Do I Need to Know? JAMA Intern Med. 2019. Epub 2019/07/02
- Dong TS, Aby ES, Benhammou JN, et al. Metabolic Syndrome Does Not Affect Sustained Virologic Response of Direct-Acting Antivirals While hepatitis C Clearance Improves Hemoglobin A1c. World J Hepatol. 2018;10(9):612-21. Epub 2018/10/13
- Benhammou JN, Dong TS, May FP, et al. Race Affects SVR12 in a Large and Ethnically Diverse Hepatitis C-Infected Patient Population Following Treatment with Direct-Acting Antivirals: Analysis of a Single-Center Department of Veterans Affairs Cohort. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2018;6(2):e00379. Epub 2018/02/28
- Aby ES, Dong TS, Kawamoto J, Pisegna JR, Benhammou JN. Impact of Sustained Virologic Response on Chronic Kidney Disease Progression in Hepatitis C. World J Hepatol. 2017;9(36):1352-60. Epub 2018/01/24
- O'Mahony F, Wroblewski K, O'Byrne SM, Jiang H, Clerkin K, Benhammou JN, Blaner WS, Beaven SW. Liver X Receptors Balance Lipid Stores in Hepatic Stellate Cells Through Rab18, a Retinoid Responsive Lipid Droplet Protein. Hepatology. 2015;62(2):615-26. Epub 2014/12/09