Transplant Hepatology Fellowship

Candidates for Certification in Transplant Hepatology must have completed a three year ACGME accredited Gastroenterology fellowship, followed by an ACGME-accredited Transplant Hepatology fellowship.

There are currently five full-time faculty members in Hepatology at UC San Diego who will provide supervision of clinical activities. The schedule for supervision of fellows will be based on the hepatology faculty call schedule for its inpatient rotations. Supervision of fellows during outpatient rotations will be distributed according to clinic schedules.

  • Irine Vodkin, MD is the Program Director of the Transplant Hepatology fellowship program. Dr. Vodkin is board certified in transplant hepatology and has been recognized by the GI fellows as an outstanding hepatology clinical teacher. 
  • Yuko Kono, MD is a hepatologist with research expertise in contrast enhanced ultrasonography of the liver and clinical expertise in hepatocellular carcinoma. Dr. Kono directs the weekly Liver Cancer Group (LCG) meetings. Dr. Kono also performs the bulk of outpatient liver biopsies and will be vital to this aspect of the fellow's education.
  • Michel Mendler, MD is an experienced transplant hepatologist with clinical and research interest in complications of cirrhosis such as hepatic encephalopathy and hepatorenal syndrome. He is the Director of Medical Student Education in hepatology.
  • Rohit Loomba, MD, MHSc is the Director of Hepatology and plays a key role in teaching fellows in planning and execution of research and scholarly activities during training. Dr. Loomba is a renowned expert in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and the recipient of several research grants.
  • Veeral Ajmera, MD, MAS is a transplant hepatologist and performs cliical research on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. He is the recipient of multiple research grants and awards as an early career investigator in hepatology. He also has published research on the topics of viral hepatitis and acute l iver failure.
  • Naveen Gara, MBBS is a hepatologist who treats patients with hepatitis C, hepatitis B, fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis. Dr. Gara has expertise in performing endoscopic procedures to diagnose and treat digestive diseases. Dr. Gara's research interests include viral hepatitis and non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis.

In addition to hepatology faculty, other physicians who will play an integral role in the training program:

  • Alan Hemming, MD is the Surgical Director of Abdominal Transplantation and Dr. Jeffrey Haldorsson is the Surgical Director of Liver Transplant at UC San Diego. Dr. Kristen Mekeel is Surgical Director of the Kidney/Pancreas transplant program but also an active liver transplant surgeon and the only transplant surgeon at UC San Diego who is also active faculty at Rady Children's Hospital. The fellow will be invited to attend organ procurement and liver transplant surgeries with these faculty members.
  • Mark Valasek, MD will serve as Hepatology's primary hepatopathologist. He will oversee the weekly hepatology conference and be vital in educating Transplant Hepatology fellows in liver pathology. Six to twelve liver biopsy specimens are reviewed in liver pathology conference every week and include a mixture of native and transplant specimens.
  • Claude Sirlin, MD and Cynthia Santillan, MD are diagnostic radiologists who specialize in hepatobiliary imaging and both review imaging studies for the weekly Liver Cancer Group conference. Dr. Sirlin is also a recipient of NIH grant funding to support clinical research in hepatobiliary imaging.
  • David Wyles, MD is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and has expertise in hepatitis C virus infection therapy (both in mono-infected and in HIV co-infected patients). The fellow will have the opportunity to see patients in co-infection clinic with Dr. Wyles.
  • Steven Rose, MD and Hamed Aryafar, MD are interventional radiologists with expertise in hepatology-specific procedures (cancer therapies, transjugular procedures, and TIPS). They are all active participants in the Liver Cancer Group conference and work closely with the inpatient hepatology team. Fellows will be given opportunity to observe these procedures in interventional radiology.
  • Sanjay Mehta, MD and Saima Asiam, MD are board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases. They attend inpatient transplant rounds for management of transplant-specific issues in infectious diseases and attend outpatient clinics. Fellows will interact with these specialists in the hospital and have opportunity to attend clinics with them, if desired.

Please contact Roslyn Lara, Program Coordinator ( for more information.