Jennifer Lai, MD, MBA

Associate Prof in Residence

Medicine Home, Gastroenterology

Dr. Lai is a general and transplant hepatologist who specializes in caring for patients with chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune disorders, and cirrhosis, particularly those awaiting liver transplantation.

Her academic mission is to improve the lives of patients with end-stage liver disease through the application of core principles of geriatrics into the care of patients with cirrhosis. Examples of these principles include assessing and reversing physical frailty, reducing polypharmacy, and integrating palliative care into liver transplantation. She is principal investigator of the NIH-funded Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation (FrAILT) Study, which is actively enrolling patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation for assessments of physical frailty both before and after liver transplantation.

After earning her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and combined MD/MBA degrees from Tufts University, she completed residency at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and gastroenterology and advanced/transplant hepatology fellowships at UCSF. She has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Society of Transplantation (FAST). She serves as Associate Editor for the American Journal of Transplantation and is a member for the Editorial Boards for Hepatology and for Liver Transplantation. She currently serves as a standing member on the FDA Gastrointestinal Drug Advisory Committee (2018-2021).

Fellowship in Advanced/Transplant Hepatology, 2012 - , UCSF
Fellowship in Gastroenterology, 2011 - , UCSF
Advanced Training in Clinical Research, 2010 - , UCSF
Internship/Residency, 2008 - Department of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center
M.D./M.B.A., 2005 - School of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine
B.S., 2000 - , Stanford University
Honors and Awards
  • Young Investigator Award in Clinical Science, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), 2020
  • Floyd Rector Internal Medicine Research Mentoring Award, UCSF, 2019
  • Fellow, American Society of Transplantation, 2017
  • AST/Novartis Faculty Development Award (grant), American Society of Transplantation, 2016-2017
  • Clinical Science Career Development Award, American Society of Transplantation, 2016
  • New Investigator Award, American Geriatrics Society, 2015
  • Young Investigator Award, International Liver Transplantation Society, 2015
  • Paul B. Beeson Scholar in Aging Research (grant), American Federation for Aging Research, 2014-2019
  • Associate Scholar Genius Award (grant), UCSF Pepper Center, 2014-2015
  • T. Franklin Williams Scholar (grant), Association of Specialty Professors, 2013-2015
  • Junior Faculty Career Development Award (grant), American College of Gastroenterology, 2012-2015
  • Transplant Hepatology Fellowship (grant), American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, 2011-2012
  • Clinical Research Award (grant), American College of Gastrenterology, 2011-2012
  • Vanguard Award, International Liver Transplantation Society, 2011
  • Sylvia Allison Kaplan Clinical Research Award (grant), Northern California Kaiser Permanente, 2009-2010
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Tufts University School of Medicine, 2005
  1. Outcomes of Liver Transplantation Among Older Recipients With Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis in a Large Multicenter US Cohort: the Re-Evaluating Age Limits in Transplantation Consortium.
  2. Low Predictability of Readmissions and Death Using Machine Learning in Cirrhosis.
  3. Progression of Stage 2 and 3 Acute Kidney Injury in Patients with Decompensated Cirrhosis and Ascites.
  4. Unforeseen Consequences of the COVID Pandemic.
  5. Association of motivations and barriers with participation and performance in a pedometer-based intervention.
  6. Serum Levels of Metabolites Produced by Intestinal Microbes and Lipid Moieties Independently Associated With Acute on Chronic Liver Failure and Death in Patients With Cirrhosis.
  7. Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation, racial segregation, and organ donation across 5 states.
  8. Time for Action to Address the Persistent Sex-Based Disparity in Liver Transplant Access.
  9. Frailty as an Immune-Mediated Condition That Leads to an Increased Risk of Acute Cellular Rejection in Liver Transplant Recipients.
  10. Liver Transplant Survivorship.
  11. Psychological contributors to the frail phenotype: the association between resilience and frailty in patients with cirrhosis.
  12. Low Rates of Advance Care Planning (ACP) Discussions Despite Readiness to Engage in ACP Among Liver Transplant Candidates.
  13. Identifying an Optimal Liver Frailty Index Cutoff to Predict Waitlist Mortality in Liver Transplant Candidates.
  14. Multicenter Study of Age, Frailty, and Waitlist Mortality Among Liver Transplant Candidates.
  15. Women who undergo liver transplant have longer length of stay post-transplant compared with men.
  16. Early Kidney Allograft Failure After Simultaneous Liver-kidney Transplantation (SLKT): Evidence for Utilization of the Safety Net?
  17. Insurance Status but Not Race/Ethnicity are Associated with Outcomes in a Large Hospitalized Cohort of Patients with Cirrhosis.
  18. Physical Function, Physical Activity and Quality of Life After Liver Transplantation: A Review.
  19. Association of Karnofsky Performance Status with Waitlist Mortality among Older and Younger Adults Awaiting Kidney Transplantation.
  20. Chronic Kidney Disease in Liver Transplant Candidates: A Rising Burden Impacting Post-Liver Transplant Outcomes.
  21. Changes in frailty are associated with waitlist mortality in patients with cirrhosis.
  22. Aggressive Utilization of Liver Allografts: Improved Outcomes over Time.
  23. Effect of a pedometer-based walking intervention on body composition in patients with ESRD: a randomized controlled trial.
  24. Underutilization of Hospice in Inpatients with Cirrhosis: The NACSELD Experience.
  25. Neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation is associated with worse patient and graft survival following pediatric liver transplantation.
  26. Frailty is Associated with Increased Rates of Acute Cellular Rejection Within 3 Months After Liver Transplantation.
  27. A Comprehensive Review of Outcome Predictors in Low MELD Patients.
  28. Response to "Reply to: 'The decreasing predictive power of MELD in an era of changing etiology of liver disease'".
  29. Gender Differences Among Patients Hospitalized With Cirrhosis in the United States.
  30. Split liver transplantation is utilized infrequently and concentrated at few transplant centers in the United States.
  31. Association Between Liver Transplant Wait-list Mortality and Frailty Based on Body Mass Index.
  32. Sex Differences in the Association Between Frailty and Sarcopenia in Patients With Cirrhosis.
  33. The Differential Impact of Age Among Liver Transplant Candidates With and Without HCC.
  34. Identifying a clinically relevant cutoff for height that is associated with a higher risk of waitlist mortality in liver transplant candidates.
  35. Sarcopenia Predicts Posttransplant Mortality in Acutely Ill Men Undergoing Urgent Evaluation and Liver Transplantation.
  36. Frailty and the Burden of Concurrent and Incident Disability in Patients With Cirrhosis: A Prospective Cohort Study.
  37. Hospitalized women with cirrhosis have more non-hepatic comorbidities and associated complications than men.
  38. Review article: impact of exercise on physical frailty in patients with chronic liver disease.
  39. The Decreasing Predictive Power of MELD in an Era of Changing Etiology of Liver Disease.
  40. A North American Expert Opinion Statement on Sarcopenia in Liver Transplantation.
  41. Barriers to ideal outcomes after pediatric liver transplantation.
  42. Nosocomial Infections Are Frequent and Negatively Impact Outcomes in Hospitalized Patients With Cirrhosis.
  43. Impact of Muscle Gain after Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt Creation on Patients Awaiting Liver Transplantation.
  44. Frailty in liver transplantation: An expert opinion statement from the American Society of Transplantation Liver and Intestinal Community of Practice.
  45. Changes in Simultaneous Liver Kidney Transplant Allocation Policy May Impact Post Liver Transplant Outcomes.
  46. Split-Liver Allocation: An Underused Opportunity to Expand Access to Liver Transplantation.
  47. Targets to improve quality of care for patients with hepatic encephalopathy: data from a multi-centre cohort.
  48. The Range and Reproducibility of the Liver Frailty Index.
  49. Impact of Chronic Kidney Disease on Outcomes in Cirrhosis.
  50. Outcomes in Patients With Cirrhosis on Primary Compared to Secondary Prophylaxis for Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis.
  51. Outcomes After Listing for Liver Transplant in Patients With Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure: The Multicenter North American Consortium for the Study of End-Stage Liver Disease Experience.
  52. Women on the liver transplantation waitlist are at increased risk of hospitalization compared to men.
  53. Deceased Pediatric Donor Livers: How Current Policy Drives Allocation and Transplantation.
  54. Association Between Renal Function Pattern and Mortality in Patients with Cirrhosis.
  55. Frailty Associated With Waitlist Mortality Independent of Ascites and Hepatic Encephalopathy in a Multicenter Study.
  56. Functional status at listing predicts waitlist and posttransplant mortality in pediatric liver transplant candidates.
  57. Report from the American Society of Transplantation on frailty in solid organ transplantation.
  58. Sex hormone levels by presence and severity of cirrhosis in women with chronic hepatitis C virus infection.
  59. How I Approach It: Improving Nutritional Status in Patients With Cirrhosis.
  60. Poor performance of psoas muscle index for identification of patients with higher waitlist mortality risk in cirrhosis.
  61. Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure: Getting Ready for Prime Time?
  62. Beta-blockers and physical frailty in patients with end-stage liver disease.
  63. Patient and Caregiver Attitudes and Practices of Exercise in Candidates Listed for Liver Transplantation.
  64. Determination of Free 25(OH)D Concentrations and Their Relationships to Total 25(OH)D in Multiple Clinical Populations.
  65. Association Between Intestinal Microbiota Collected at Hospital Admission and Outcomes of Patients With Cirrhosis.
  66. "Normal" Creatinine Levels Predict Persistent Kidney Injury and Waitlist Mortality in Outpatients With Cirrhosis.
  67. The Impact of Albumin Use on Resolution of Hyponatremia in Hospitalized Patients With Cirrhosis.
  68. Receipt of a pediatric liver offer as the first offer reduces waitlist mortality for adult women.
  69. Assessment of the spectrum of hepatic encephalopathy: A multicenter study.
  70. Reply.
  71. NACSELD acute-on-chronic liver failure (NACSELD-ACLF) score predicts 30-day survival in hospitalized patients with cirrhosis.
  72. Physical frailty after liver transplantation.
  73. Association of Cardiac Abnormalities to the Frail Phenotype in Cirrhotic Patients on the Waitlist: From the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation Study.
  74. Primary healthcare utilisation among adults with mood and anxiety disorders: an analysis of the New Zealand Health Survey.
  75. A2 liver transplantation across the ABO barrier: Increasing options in the donor pool?
  76. Sex-based disparities in delisting for being "too sick" for liver transplantation.
  77. Prediction of Fungal Infection Development and Their Impact on Survival Using the NACSELD Cohort.
  78. The Liver Frailty Index Improves Mortality Prediction of the Subjective Clinician Assessment in Patients With Cirrhosis.
  79. Opioid and opioid substitution therapy in liver transplant candidates: A survey of center policies and practices.
  80. Liver Transplantation in the Obese Cirrhotic Patient.
  81. Transplant for the very sick: No limitations in donor quality?
  82. Analysis of Liver Offers to Pediatric Candidates on the Transplant Wait List.
  83. Development of a novel frailty index to predict mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease.
  84. Race/ethnicity is associated with ABO-nonidentical liver transplantation in the United States.
  85. Reporting functional status in UNOS: The weakness of the Karnofsky Performance Status Scale.
  86. A multicenter study to define sarcopenia in patients with end-stage liver disease.
  87. Cost-Effectiveness of Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment in Hepatitis C-Infected Liver Transplant Candidates With Compensated Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
  88. Disability in patients with end-stage liver disease: Results from the functional assessment in liver transplantation study.
  89. Frailty is independently associated with increased hospitalisation days in patients on the liver transplant waitlist.
  90. A framework to determine when liver transplantation is futile.
  91. Clinical Liver Disease
  92. Short Physical Performance Battery and all-cause mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis.
  93. Factors Associated with Medication Non-adherence in Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease.
  94. Editorial: Advancing Adoption of Frailty to Improve the Care of Patients with Cirrhosis: Time for a Consensus on a Frailty Index.
  95. Performance-Based Measures Associate With Frailty in Patients With End-Stage Liver Disease.
  96. Acute Liver Failure Secondary to Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis during Pregnancy.
  97. Hepatic Encephalopathy Is Associated With Mortality in Patients With Cirrhosis Independent of Other Extrahepatic Organ Failures.
  98. Underutilization of palliative care services in the liver transplant population.
  99. A Comparison of Muscle Function, Mass, and Quality in Liver Transplant Candidates: Results From the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation Study.
  100. ABO-Nonidentical Liver Transplantation in the United States.
  101. Defining the threshold for too sick for transplant.
  102. Response to clinical assessments of health status as a potential marker to identify patients who are too sick to undergo transplantation.
  103. Functional decline in patients with cirrhosis awaiting liver transplantation: Results from the functional assessment in liver transplantation (FrAILT) study.
  104. Functional impairment in older liver transplantation candidates: From the functional assessment in liver transplantation study.
  105. Outcomes for liver transplant candidates listed with low model for end-stage liver disease score.
  106. Kidney Failure and Liver Allocation: Current Practices and Potential Improvements.
  107. Decision support for organ offers in liver transplantation.
  108. Hepatitis C genotype influences post-liver transplant outcomes.
  109. Total 25(OH) vitamin D, free 25(OH) vitamin D and markers of bone turnover in cirrhotics with and without synthetic dysfunction.
  110. Clinician assessments of health status predict mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation.
  111. Bone Mineral Density, Bone Turnover, and Systemic Inflammation in Non-cirrhotics with Chronic Hepatitis C.
  112. Role of delta-aminolevulinic acid in the symptoms of acute porphyria.
  113. Combined effects of recipient age and model for end-stage liver disease score on liver transplantation outcomes.
  114. The octogenarian donor: can the liver be "younger than stated age"?
  115. Expanded criteria donors.
  116. Frailty predicts waitlist mortality in liver transplant candidates.
  117. A comparison of measured and calculated free 25(OH) vitamin D levels in clinical populations.
  118. Variability in free 25(OH) vitamin D levels in clinical populations.
  119. Reducing infection transmission in solid organ transplantation through donor nucleic acid testing: a cost-effectiveness analysis.
  120. Offer patterns of nationally placed livers by donation service area.
  121. Center competition and outcomes following liver transplantation.
  122. An examination of liver offers to candidates on the liver transplant wait-list.
  123. Recipient-donor race mismatch for African American liver transplant patients with chronic hepatitis C.
  124. Risk of advanced fibrosis with grafts from hepatitis C antibody-positive donors: a multicenter cohort study.
  125. Effects of ethnicity and socioeconomic status on survival and severity of fibrosis in liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C virus.
  126. Patient, center and geographic characteristics of nationally placed livers.
  127. Hepatic steatosis at 1 year is an additional predictor of subsequent fibrosis severity in liver transplant recipients with recurrent hepatitis C virus.
  128. Hepatitis C virus-infected women have a higher risk of advanced fibrosis and graft loss after liver transplantation than men.
  129. Gender differences in liver donor quality are predictive of graft loss.
  130. Height contributes to the gender difference in wait-list mortality under the MELD-based liver allocation system.
  131. Lessons from HIV therapy applied to viral hepatitis therapy: summary of a workshop.
  132. A novel housestaff educational model for quaternary-care patients at an academic health center.
  133. Resource utilization of living donor versus deceased donor liver transplantation is similar at an experienced transplant center.