Ira J. Fox, MD

Dr. Ira Fox is a Professor of Surgery, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and a member of the Executive Committee of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.  Prior to this, Dr. Fox served as Senior Associate Dean for Research and Development at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine as well as the Charles W. McLaughlin Professor of Surgery (and Pathology and Microbiology) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Fox graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Chemistry and Physics. From there he attended Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he earned his medical degree. He completed post doctorate fellowships first at Harvard Medical School (Immunology Research Fellow) and then at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Transplant Fellow).

Dr. Fox’s primary research interests involve the study of experimental therapies for liver disease, including liver assist devices, liver cell transplantation, liver stem cells, and in vivo reprogramming of injured cells in cirrhosis. Dr. Fox’s laboratory examines the biologic and immunologic barriers to successful transplantation of primary and xenogeneic hepatocytes in rodents and primates. He has developed a model of acute liver failure that mimics the clinical entity in non-human primates and a model of end-stage liver failure resulting from cirrhosis in rodents. With these models he is able to assess the mechanisms responsible for liver failure in these two entities and studies various strategies for hepatic regeneration.

His laboratory also generates pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from normal individuals and patients with various liver diseases, and differentiates these human iPS and embryonic stem cells into liver cells to model diseases such as alpha-1-antitrypin deficiency and familial intrahepatic cholestasis, to study drug metabolism, and to develop source cells for hepatocyte transplantation. He has initiated clinical trials involving extracorporeal liver perfusion to treat patients with acute liver failure, and has demonstrated successful correction of liver-based metabolic deficiencies in newborns and young children by transplantation of isolated liver cells. Several FDA-approved clinical trials of hepatocyte transplantation for treatment of patients with Liver Based Metabolic Disorders, Acute Decompensated Liver Failure, and Phenylketonuria have been initiated that involve a conditioning regimen that is meant to selectively induce donor cell expansion.

Dr. Fox holds five U.S. investigational patents and has authored over 150 peer reviewed publications as well as 20 book chapters.  He is the co-editor of the book, Cell Transplantation Methods (Artech House, May 2011). He has been on the editorial board of Stem CellsCell Transplantation, and Cell Medicine, and is an ad hoc reviewer for many journals, including Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Science, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, Gastroenterology, and Hepatology.

View a list of Dr. Fox’s publications here.