Heather Stevenson-Lerner, M.D., Ph.D.

Heather Stevenson-Lerner, M.D., PH.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology
Liver and Transplantation Pathologist

University of Texas Medical Branch
712 Texas Ave., Clinical Services Wing - Room 5.506K
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, TX 77555-0588

Office: (409) 772-8554

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Heather Stevenson-Lerner, M.D., Ph.D.

Professional Education

Degree Institution Graduation Year
M.D., Ph.D. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, 2002-2009. 2002-2009
Resident Anatomic and Clinical Pathology Residency, University of Texas Medical 2009-2013
Fellowship Fellowship, Liver and transplantation pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh 2013-2014

Clinical focus:

Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (AP-CP), Board Certified
Transplantation Pathology (heart, liver, kidney, pancreas, small intestine)
Gastrointestinal Pathology

Membership In Scientific Societies:

Hans Popper Hepatopathology Society (HPHS)
American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
Texas Society of Pathologists (TSP)
College of American Pathologists (CAP)
The United States & Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP)
American Association of Immunologists (AAI)

Selected Honors and Awards:

September 2016 Nominated as UTMB's annual attendee to the nationally recognized Promoting Professionalism program held at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
May 2016 Awarded Anatomic Pathology Lecturer of the Year for 2015-2016 by the Pathology Resident/Fellows Training Program, UTMB, Galveston TX
February 2016 University of Texas Systems Rising STARs Award, received prestigious funding award to obtain laboratory equipment, UT Systems, Austin, TX


Research Interests:

My primary research focus is hepatic immunology and how dysregulation of the immune response leads to fibrosis development. I am also interested understanding how the phenotype of a person's hepatic macrophages determines downstream immune activation and how they respond to liver injury.

My laboratory is currently working on three main projects:

1. We are currently conducting a clinical study to better understand viral hepatitis C infection by collecting blood samples and liver biopsies in patients before and after treatment with the recently developed IFN-free antivirals. We are using multi-spectral imaging to analyze macrophages, lymphocytes, and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, before and after treatment, and will use this technology to see how the various cell phenotypes change in the presence of absence of the virus. These results will be correlated with peripheral blood mononuclear cells and RNA sequencing analysis.

2. We are using the above patient samples to determine why some patients have liver biopsies showing persistent chronic hepatitis, even though they have supposedly been "cured" and have obtained systemic viral resistance (SVR).

3. We are using multi-spectral imaging and digital microscopy to phenotype and quantify lymphocytes, macrophages, and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells in patients with chronic liver disease, including HCV.

Selected Publications:

  1. Pinkaew, D., Chattopadhyay, A., Zhihe, L., Stevenson H.L., Chen, Y., and K. Fujise. Fortilin binds IRE1a and prevents ER stress from signaling apoptotic cell death. Nature Communications. Accepted.
  1. Jung, K., Yoo, W., Stevenson, Heather L., Shen, H., Gagea, M., Yoo, S., Wang, J., Eckols, T.K., Bharadwaj, U., Tweardy, D.J., and L. Beretta. Multi-functional effects of a small-molecule STAT3 inhibitor on NASH and HCC growth. Clin Can Research. Accepted.
  1. Shubhashish S., Popov, V. L., O'Connell, M.L., Stevenson, H.L., Lee, B., Duvalla, R. Obeid, R., Luthra, G., and P. Singh. A novel cancer stem cell biomarker, DCLK1-S, traffics to nuclei of colon cancer cells, and may predict colon cancer risk of patients at time of index colonoscopy. Lab invest. In press.
  1. Stevenson, HL., Moreno-Prats, M. and E. Sasatomi. CD34, smooth muscle actin and glutamine synthetase as markers for chemotherapy-induced hepatic sinusoidal injury in patients with colorectal liver metastases. BMC Cancer. 17(1):35. 2017.
  1. Salameh, H., Johnson, J., Diab, K., Merwat, S., and H.L. Stevenson. Autoimmune hepatitis-induced cirrhosis due to long-term methotrexate therapy for rheumatoid arthritis. Annals clin case reports: Hepatol. (Epub ahead of print). 2016.
  1. Stevenson, H.L., and N. Utay. Hepatic Steatosis in HCV-Infected Persons in the Direct-Acting Antiviral Era. Trop Dis, Trav Med and Vac. 2:21. 2016.
  1. BANFF WORKING GROUP (includes Stevenson, H.L.), 2016 Comprehensive Update of the Banff Working Group on Liver Allograft Pathology: Introduction of Antibody-mediated Rejection. Amer J Trans. (Epub ahead of print). 2016.
  1. Chintamaneni, P., Stevenson, H.L. and S.M Malik, M.D. Bupivacaine Drug-induced liver injury: A case series and brief review of the literature. J. Clin. Anesth. 32, 137-141. 2016.
  1. Cicalese, L., Corsello, T., Stevenson, H.L., Damiano, G. Tuveri, M., Zorzi, D., Montalbano, M., Shakfaran, N., and C. Rastellini. Evidence of absorptive function in vivo in a neo-formed bio-artificial intestinal segment in a rodent model. J Gastrointest Surg. J Gastrointest Surg. 20(1):34-42; discussion 42. 2016.
  1. Yang, Q., Stevenson, H.L., Scott, M., and N. Ismail. Type I IFN regulates non-canonical inflammasome activation and impairs protective immunity during fatal Ehrlichia -induced toxic shock. Am J Pathol. 185(2):446-61. 2015.
  1. Petersen, J.R., Stevenson, H.L., Snyder, N., Kasturi1, K., Naniwadekar, A., Sampson, E., Parkes, J., and R. Cross. Evaluation of the APRI (AST, platelet ratio index) and ELF™ (Enhanced Liver Fibrosis) tests to detect significant fibrosis due to chronic hepatitis C. J Clin Gastroenterol. 48(4):370-6. 2014.
  1. Stevenson, H.L., Amador, A., McCue, J., Ciancio, G., Chen L., Mattiazzi, A., Sageshima, J., Guerra, G., Roth, D., Kupin W., Burke G.W., Pham, S., Tzakis, A., and P. Ruiz. Mannose binding lectin (mbl2) haplotype frequencies in solid organ transplant patients and correlation with MBL protein levels - evaluation of complement-mediated effector pathway deficiency. Trans Immunol. 28(2-3):73-80. 2013.
  1. Crocquet-Valdes P.A., Thirumalapura N.R., Ismail N., Yu X., Saito T.B ., Stevenson H.L., Pietzsch C.A., Thomas S., and D.H. Walker. Immunization with Ehrlichia P28 outer membrane proteins confers protection in a mouse model of ehrlichiosis. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 18(12):2018-25. 2011.
  1. Stevenson, H.L., and M.J. Loeffelholz. Poor positive accuracy of Quickvue Rapid Antigen Tests during the Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 pandemic. J. Clin. Microbiol. 48(10):3729-31. 2010.
  1. Schneider, B., Coffey, L., McGee, C., Stevenson, H.L, Soong, L., and S. Higgs. Aedes aegypti saliva alters leukocyte recruitment and cytokine signaling by antigen-presenting cells during West Nile virus infection. PLoS ONE. 22;5(7):e11704. 2010.
  1. Stevenson, H.L ., Estes, D.M., Thirumalapura, N., Walker, D.H., and N. Ismail. Natural killer cells promote tissue injury and systemic inflammatory responses during fatal Ehrlichia-induced toxic shock-like syndrome. Amer. J. Pathol. 177(2):766-776. 2010.

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NIH Biosketch