Heather Stevenson-Lerner, MD, PhD, FCAP
Professor, Department of Pathology

Director of Liver and Transplantation Pathology
Associate Director, Pathology Residency Program
Associate Director, NIH/NCATS KL2 Scholars Program
I. Emil Carroll, MD Professorship in Pathology
Ike and Freida Lerner Professorship in Pathology

The University of Texas Medical Branch
712 Texas Ave., Clinical Services Wing - Room 5.506Q
Galveston, Texas 77555-0416
Phone: (409) 772-8554
Email: hlsteven@utmb.edu
Twitter: twitter.com/drhslovesliver

Heather Stevenson-Lerner, MD, PhD

  • Heather Stevenson-Lerner is a tenured professor in the Department of Pathology, Division of Surgical Pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.  Her clinical focus includes liver and transplantation pathology.  Prior to becoming faculty at UTMB in 2014, she completed a fellowship in the Transplant Pathology Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.  Dr. Stevenson-Lerner leads UTMB’s Liver Diseases Diagnostic Management Team, which is well attended by hepatologists, transplant coordinators, fellows, and residents. 

    Dr. Stevenson-Lerner earned her BS from Colorado State University and worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prior to coming to UTMB for her training in the combined MD/PhD program.  She completed residency training at UTMB in 2013 and is board-certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology.

    Dr. Stevenson-Lerner received a University of Texas Rising STARs award and is past-chair of the Executive Committee for Medical School Admissions. She was a past recipient of a career development award from the Institute for Translational Sciences' KL2 (ITS Scholars) program (https://its.utmb.edu/learning) and is now the Associate Director of the program.  Her work has also been the topic of several newspaper articles, including in CAP Today and AASLD News.
  • 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.


    Stevenson-Lerner Laboratory Team:

  • MD-PhD University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston 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

  • Jan 2021-Dec 2021Distinguished reviewer, Annals of Translational Medicine
    July 2021Reviewer of the Month, Annals of Translational Medicine
    December 2018Selected to attend the 2018 AAMC Women Faculty Leadership Development Seminar, Atlanta, Georgia
    September 2018Awarded the I. Emil Carroll Professorship in Pathology, UTMB, Galveston, TX
    August 2018Abstract selected as “Presidential Poster of Distinction,” American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), The Liver Meeting, San Francisco, CA
    July 2018Awarded as Mentor for Emerging Liver Scholar Program, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD). Mentee: Adam Booth. The Liver Meeting, San Francisco, CA
    June 2017Awarded Anatomic Pathology Faculty of the Year by the Pathology Resident/Fellows Training Program, UTMB, Galveston, TX
    September 2016Nominated as UTMB's annual attendee to the nationally recognized Promoting Professionalism program held at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    May 2016Awarded Anatomic Pathology Lecturer of the Year for 2015-2016 by the Pathology Resident/Fellows Training Program, UTMB, Galveston TX
    February 2016University of Texas Systems Rising STARs Award, received prestigious funding award to obtain laboratory equipment, UT Systems, Austin, TX
  • 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)
  • Necrotizing plasma cell-rich aortitis and sudden cardiac death: Late sequelae of COVID-19? Boor PJ, Srinivasan M, Stevenson HL, Gong B, Nyong E, Dong J, Popov V, Sherman M, Bopp N, Felicella MM, Zhao B, Buja M, Nickels J, Aronson JF. Cardiovasc Pathol. 2023 Sep-Oct;66:107558. doi: 10.1016/j.carpath.2023.107558. Epub 2023 Jul 5. PMID: 37419163

    The Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum, salivary factors exacerbate the clinical outcome of Heartland virus disease in a small animal model. Reynolds ES, Wooldridge JT, Stevenson HL, Thangamani S. Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 16;13(1):13304. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-40397-x. PMID: 37587216 Free PMC article.

    Morphologic and immunophenotypic evaluation of liver allograft biopsies with contemporaneous serum DSA measurements. El Hag MI, Kaneku H, Jorgensen D, Zeevi A, Stevenson HL, Yadak N, Hassan M, Du X, Demetris AJ. Clin Transplant. 2023 Aug;37(8):e14997. doi: 10.1111/ctr.14997. Epub 2023 Apr 25. PMID: 37096730

    Liver Metastasis of Thymoma: Case Report and Review of the Literature. Mallick J, Peterson JM, Pina-Oviedo S, Patel N, Venkatesan R, Stevenson HL, Qiu S, Shen Y, Lyapichev KA. Int J Surg Pathol. 2023 Aug;31(5):755-760. doi: 10.1177/10668969221115818. Epub 2022 Oct 19. PMID: 36259324 Review.

    The roles of XJ13 and XJ44-specific mutations within the Candid #1 GPC in Junin virus attenuation. Manning JT, Maruyama J, Wanninger T, Reyna RA, Stevenson HL, Peng BH, Mantlo EK, Huang C, Paessler S. Front Immunol. 2023 Jun 2;14:1172792. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2023.1172792. eCollection 2023. PMID: 37334351 Free PMC article.

    Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Liver Fibrosis in Patients with NAFLD. Sanchez JI, Parra ER, Jiao J, Solis Soto LM, Ledesma DA, Saldarriaga OA, Stevenson HL, Beretta L. Cancers (Basel). 2023 May 23;15(11):2871. doi: 10.3390/cancers15112871. PMID: 37296834 Free PMC article.

    Liver Resection for Cystic Echinococcosis: Emergence of a Non-endemic Disease. Ortiz De Elguea-Lizarraga JI, Koi A, Stevenson HL, Bilek JM, Gosnell J, Wilhelm AB, McLellan S, Kueht ML. Am Surg. 2023 May 13:31348231175491. doi: 10.1177/00031348231175491. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37177876 Free article. No abstract available.

    Isolated volar dislocation of the distal radioulnar joint: a case series and systematic review. O'Malley O, Brown OC, Duncan L, Cheung G, Stevenson HL, Brown DJ. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2023 Mar;105(3):196-202. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2022.0023. Epub 2022 May 26. PMID: 35617051 Review.

    Patients with fibrosis from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis have heterogeneous intrahepatic macrophages and therapeutic targets. Saldarriaga OA, Krishnan S, Wanninger TG, Oneka M, Rao A, Bao D, Arroyave E, Gosnell J, Kueht M, Moghe A, Millian D, Jiao J, Sanchez JI, Spratt H, Beretta L, Stevenson HL. medRxiv. 2023 Feb 23:2023.02.16.23285924. doi: 10.1101/2023.02.16.23285924. Preprint. PMID: 36865099 Free PMC article.

    Pediatric combined hepatocellular-cholangiocarcinoma (cHCC-CC) with neuroendocrine features: distinguishing genetic alterations detected by chromosomal microarray. Wilhelm AB, Cunningham AG, Kassab C, Fitz EC, Dong J, Radhakrishnan RS, Ranganathan S, Tan D, Stevenson HL. Diagn Pathol. 2023 Feb 13;18(1):20. doi: 10.1186/s13000-023-01305-z. PMID: 36782322 Free PMC article.