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Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

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Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

The expertise of Ekihiro Seki, MD, PhD, lies in immunology, and in clinical and research gastroenterology and hepatology. The research group in his laboratory has expertise in using genetically modified animals and isolating primary cultured liver cells including hepatocytes, Kupffer cells and hepatic stellate cells. Seki received his residency and subsequent clinical training in GI-hepatobiliary surgery. After clinical training, he began his research career in a doctorate program in immunology. During his PhD program, Seki studied toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling-mediated inflammasome activation, including the activation of caspase-1, IL-1β, and IL-18 in Kupffer cells and in listeria infection, as well as TLR/myeloid differentiation 88 signaling in liver regeneration. In his postdoctoral training at Columbia University, he studied the role of TLR4 signaling in hepatic stellate cell activation and liver fibrosis. After his recruitment to the University of California, San Diego, Seki began independent research and extended his research field to the study of TLR2, 4 and 9 signaling and hepatocyte transforming growth factor-β signaling in alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Recently, his group found that TAK1, an intracellular protein kinase, is a crucial molecule in preventing spontaneous hepatocyte death, liver inflammation, fibrosis and hepatocarcinogenesis. In addition, the follow-up study showed that hepatic TAK1 regulates autophagy in the development of fatty liver and liver cancer.

  • Medical School: Hyogo College of Medicine, 1994
  • Residency: Hyogo College of Medicine Hospital, 1996
  • Doctorate: Hyogo College of Medicine Graduate School, 2002
  • Fellowship: Hyogo College of Medicine, 2004
  • Post Doctorate: Columbia University, 2007
  • Winnick Research Award, Cedars-Sinai, 2017
  • Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2015
  • The Hiromasa Ishii Memorial Young Investigator Award, 16th Congress of International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, 2012
  • ALF Liver Scholar Award, American Association for Study of Liver Diseases, 2009
  • Travel Award, 2nd International Symposium on Alcoholic Liver and Pancreatic Diseases and Cirrhosis in Kobe, Japan, 2007
  • ALF Fellow Research Prize, American Association for Study of Liver Diseases, 2006
  • American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 2006
  • Research Fellowship for Study Aboard, The Uehara Memorial Foundation, 2005
  • Fellowship, Yamanouchi Foundation for Research for Metabolic Disorders, 2004
  • Morimura prize, Summa Cum Laude, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1994

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Click here for a list of peer-reviewed publications.

  • Inokuchi-Shimizu S, Park EJ, Roh YS, Yang L, Zhang B, Song J, Liang S, Pimienta M, Taniguchi K, Wu X, Asahina K, Lagakos W, Mackey MR, Akira S, Ellisman MH, Sears DD, Olefsky JM, Karin M, Brenner DA, Seki E. TAK1-mediated autophagy and fatty acid oxidation prevent hepatosteatosis and tumorigenesis. J Clin Invest. 2014 Aug;124(8):3566-3578.
  • Yang L, Inokuchi S, Roh YS, Song J, Loomba R, Park EJ, Seki E. Transforming growth factor-β signaling in hepatocytes promotes hepatic fibrosis and carcinogenesis in mice with hepatocyte-specific deletion of TAK1. Gastroenterology. 2013 May;144(5):1042-1054.e4.
  • Miura K, Kodama Y, Inokuchi S, Schnabl B, Aoyama T, Ohnishi H, Olefsky JM, Brenner DA, Seki E. Toll-like receptor 9 promotes steatohepatitis by induction of interleukin-1beta in mice. Gastroenterology. 2010 Jul;139(1):323-334.e7.
  • Inokuchi S, Aoyama T, Miura K, Osterreicher CH, Kodama Y, Miyai K, Akira S, Brenner DA, Seki E. Disruption of TAK1 in hepatocytes causes hepatic injury, inflammation, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jan 12;107(2):844-849.
  • Seki E, De Minicis S, Gwak GY, Kluwe J, Inokuchi S, Bursill CA, Llovet JM, Brenner DA, Schwabe RF. CCR1 and CCR5 promote hepatic fibrosis in mice. J Clin Invest. 2009 Jul;119(7):1858-1870.
  • Seki E, De Minicis S, Osterreicher CH, Kluwe J, Osawa Y, Brenner DA, Schwabe RF. TLR4 enhances TGF-beta signaling and hepatic fibrosis. Nat Med. 2007 Nov;13(11):1324-1332.

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