​Hepatology Research Network

The Hepatology Research Network (HRN) is a multi-center collaborative network in Kaiser Permanente Northern California that encourages, enables and executes research in hepatology. Its goals are to support a cooperative platform for the hepatology research community, encourage quality research in hepatology and disseminate evidence-based knowledge to refine current care standards.

​Meet the Steering Committee

E-mail: Varun.Saxena@kp.org
Varun Saxena, MD, MAS is the Director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) Hepatology Research Network (HRN). After graduating from Stanford cum laude, he completed medical school (2008), internal medicine residency (2011), internal medicine chief residency (2012), gastroenterology NIH T32 research fellowship (2015) and American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) sponsored advanced and transplant hepatology fellowship (2016) all at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). He joined the Permanente Medical Group in 2016 and is currently the chief of gastroenterology and hepatology at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco. He is clinically active in the care of patients with any form of liver disease. His research interests include clinical research in any aspect of liver disease with special interest in viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and hepatitis C), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
E-mail: sreepriya.balasubramanian@kp.org
Sreepriya Balasubramanian MD MPH FAASLD is a graduate of the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India and completed her fellowship in gastroenterology and American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) sponsored advanced and transplant hepatology fellowship at the University of California, Davis. She has been with The Permanente Medical Group since 2005, and serves on the regional Liver Transplant Advisory Board, as well as on the sub-regional Hepatobiliary Tumor Board in the greater Sacramento region. Her clinical practice is focused on all aspects of liver disease. Her research interests include viral and other forms of hepatitis, cirrhosis progression, liver cancer screening and hepatocellular cancer. She is particularly interested in health care delivery and attainment of quality of care measures in patients with cirrhosis and has designed a cirrhosis care program in the North Valley that works towards these goals. While involved with all projects of the Hepatitis Research Network, she is currently leading studies looking at predictors of poor outcome in patients listed for orthotopic liver transplantation including, but not limited to, malnutrition, sarcopenia and frailty, as well as studies dealing with reproductive health and access to care in women who have undergone transplantation.
E-mail: nizar.a.mukhtar@kp.org
Nizar A. Mukhtar, MD obtained his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN before moving to San Francisco to complete his internal medicine, gastroenterology, and transplant hepatology training at UCSF. He joined Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center in 2019 as the Director of Hepatology and Associate Program Director of the GI Fellowship Program. His clinical interests are centered on general and transplant hepatology, including management of patients with acute and chronic liver diseases, end-stage liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition to overseeing hepatology services, he leads the Regional Liver Clinic and serves on the Regional Liver Transplant Advisory Board and West-Bay Regional Liver Tumor Board. 

Dr. Mukhtar's academic and research interests are largely centered on identifying and addressing health disparities and inequities in care pertaining to chronic liver disease and liver cancer management. His prior published work focused on characterization of the epidemiologic and metabolic features of hepatitis C infection, as well as understanding the complex interplay of patient, provider, health care system, and societal factors that influence adherence to established guidelines for management of hepatitis B infection. He is currently leading an effort by the recently established KP Hepatology Research Network to evaluate disparities in liver cancer severity and patient outcomes across racial/ethnic, gender and socioeconomic groups.

Dr. Mukhtar has had a longstanding passion for and commitment towards medical education, receiving multiple awards for his teaching and mentoring efforts from students and faculty over the years. He has continually contributed to GI and hepatology initiatives at the local and national level, most recently serving on the San Francisco Liver Cancer Task Force, Medical Advisory Board for the American Liver Foundation, and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
E-mail: brock.a.macdonald@kp.org
Dr. Macdonald completed an undergraduate degree in Human Physiology at McGill University in Montreal, PQ. He followed this by Medical School, Internal Medicine Residency and Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at Columbia University in New York City. Upon completion he headed to San Francisco to do his Gastroenterology Fellowship at UCSF. He has been with The Permanente Medical Group since completion in 2011 based in San Rafael , California. He is a member of the Liver Transplant Advisory Board, the West bay Subregional HCC Tumor Board and the National Transplant Board Liver Transplant Clinical Management Subcommittee. His research interests include portal hypertension, hepatocellular carcinoma and transplant disparities. 
E-mail: suk.i.seo@kp.org
I graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1995 with the BS degree in Biomedical Engineering.  I began practicing medicine after graduating from UCSD Medical School and completing fellowship training in Gastroenterology and Hepatology program at UC Davis Medical School. I have worked as an assistant professor at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA prior to joining Kaiser Permanente in the Diablo Service Area as a staff gastroenterologist in 2008.
E-mail: Joanna.Ready@kp.org
Joanna Ready, MD completed her undergraduate degree at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She graduated from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Alpha Omega Alpha honors and did her internship, residency, and fellowship at the University of Colorado in Denver, Colorado.  Dr. Ready has been employed with The Permanente Medical Group at Santa Clara since 1995. She is the Chief of Gastroenterology at Santa Clara and a Consultant in Gastroenterology and Hepatology for the Northern California Region TPMG.  Dr. Ready’s professional activities include Member of the Northern California Permanente Region Hepatitis C Taskforce, Chair of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Interregional Viral Hepatitis Taskforce; Chair of the Kaiser Foundation Hospital Northern California Liver Transplant Advisory Board: and Chair of the NTS Clinical Management Subcommittee, Liver and Small Bowel Transplant. Dr. Ready’s numerous awards include the Outstanding Achievement in Medicine from the Santa Clara County Medical Association in 2019.  Dr. Ready has been recognized as an outstanding consultant and teacher at Kaiser Permanente.
E-mail: Krisna.P.Chai@kp.org
Dr. Chai graduated from UC Berkeley in 1998 with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 2002, completed his internal medicine training at UC Irvine in 2005, and completed a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  He has been a staff gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Santa Clara with The Permanente Medical Group since 2008.

He is currently the KP Northern California Regional Clinical Lead for Hepatitis B, as well as co-director of the regional Hepatitis B Liver Care Program.  His research interests include population care and improvement of quality in the management of chronic liver disease, especially with regards to chronic hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma.

Physicians Involved in Research

Douglas A. Corley, MD, PhD
Division of Research and San Francisco Medical Center
Benjamin Hassid, MD
Oakland Medical Center
Jeffrey K. Lee, MD, MPH
Division of Research and San Francisco Medical Center
Theodore R Levin, MD
Walnut Creek Medical Center
Anna Lok, MD
University of Michigan Health
Neil Mehta, MD
UCSF Health
Kavita Radhakrishnan, MD
Oakland Medical Center
Amandeep Sahota, MD
KP Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation
Julie A Schmittdiel, PhD
Division of Research
Amit Singal, MD
UT Southwestern
Norah Terrault, MD, MPH
USC Keck School of Medicine