Welcome to the Schwimmer Lab!
About Dr. Schwimmmer
Dr. Schwimmer is a pediatric gastroenterologist who has focused on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease research for over two decades. He founded and directs the Fatty Liver Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego. He is also Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) where he leads the Schwimmer Lab -- a clinical and translational research lab of five pediatric gastroenterologists performing studies on NAFLD in children and young adults across the range of epidemiology, clinical phenotype, diagnosis (both histology and non-invasive measures), pathophysiology (genetics and microbiome), and treatment (clinical trials of nutrition and medications). He has over 160 peer reviewed publications focused on NAFLD, obesity, and metabolic health.
NAFLD is a condition in which droplets of fat are inappropriately trapped inside the cells of the liver. This is now the most common cause of liver disease in children and adults. Many people will have steatosis with fat trapped in the liver without other damage. Some people will have steatohepatitis when the fat droplets trigger liver cell damage and inflammation. This can lead to liver scarring. When scar tissue builds up in larger amounts throughout the liver it is known as cirrhosis. Approximately 5 to 10% of all children have NAFLD. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening children for NAFLD with a blood test beginning at age 9.
About Schwimmer Lab
The Schwimmer Lab at UC San Diego is a leader in clinical and translational research on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in children, young adults, and families. Our team includes five pediatric gastroenterologists working with collaborators in many other fields of medicine (endocrinology, pediatrics, psychology, radiology), and science (chemistry, genomics, microbiome, nutrition, public health). Our goal is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of Pediatric NAFLD in order to promote the health and quality of life of children, adolescents, and young adults with NAFLD.
Our team has made many important discoveries about NAFLD in children. We established the prevalence and incidence of NAFLD in children. We discovered the different types of liver injury that can occur in children with NAFLD. We evaluated genes that predisposed to NAFLD and are associated with the severity of the liver injury. We demonstrated the relationship between NAFLD and many other health problems including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, osteoporosis, and depression. We contributed to advances in MRI measurement of liver fat and liver fibrosis. We conducted clinical trials of nutritional interventions as well as medications for the treatment of NAFLD. We will continue to make advances to support improvements in the care and outcomes of children, adolescents, and young adults with NAFLD.