George K. Michalopoulos, MD, PhD

Dr. George Michalopoulos is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh, serving in this position since 1991. Dr. Michalopoulos received his medical doctoral degree at Athens University School of Medicine, Athens, Greece, in 1969. A residency in Anatomic Pathology and a PhD study in Oncology were completed at the Wisconsin Medical Center in Madison in 1977. Dr. Michalopoulos moved to Duke University as an Assistant Professor in 1977 and stayed at Duke University until 1991. He then moved to Pittsburgh and joined the University faculty in April of 1991. In addition to his current appointment, Dr. Michalopoulos also served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Interim Dean of the School of Medicine from November of 1995-1998. In 2012, he was honored with the title, University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Professor.

The laboratory of Dr. Michalopoulos is investigating the mechanisms of liver regeneration and carcinogenesis in human and rodent liver. The studies focus on signaling from growth factors and cytokines that trigger the regenerative process. Other signals associated with integrins and extracellular matrix are involved in termination of hepatocyte proliferation, and many of these signals are deleted in human liver cancer. Most recent studies identified the liver growth factor receptors MET and EGFR as essential for liver regeneration, and for the transcriptional activation of hepatocyte proliferation genes. Augmentative hepatomegaly, induced by xenobiotic mitogens by compounds activating CAR, is also dependent on MET and EGFR for the associated proliferative response. Based on these studies, EGFR (but not MET) has been identified as a key regulator for hepatic lipid metabolism and in control of most transcription factors associated with NAFLD. The dramatic elimination and/or reversal of NAFLD associated with inhibition of EGFR opens the possibilities for pharmacologic management of NAFLD by using EGFR inhibitors already established in human pharmacology.

Review publications representing work by Dr. Michalopoulos and that of liver regeneration in general are shown below:

1.) Michalopoulos GK, Bhushan B. Liver regeneration: biological and pathological mechanisms and implications. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2021 Jan;18(1):40-55. doi: 10.1038/s41575-020-0342-4. Epub 2020 Aug 6. PMID: 32764740.
2.) Michalopoulos GK. Hepatostat: Liver regeneration and normal liver tissue maintenance. Hepatology. 2017 Apr;65(4):1384-1392. doi: 10.1002/hep.28988. Epub 2017 Mar 6. Review. PubMed PMID: 27997988.

View a list of Dr. Michalopoulos’ publications here.