Biography

Professor Jacob George is a renowned hepatologist and liver research scientist who studies the causes of and mechanisms for the development of liver disease and liver cancer. He contributes to investigator-initiated and multicentre international clinical trials on therapeutics for liver diseases, and leads a program of research on viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis, host genetics/liver immunology and the epidemiology, prevention and management of liver cancer. His research has a strong translational component, linking laboratory and clinical research. Professor George’s work has made significant contributions to clinical practice. His team first identified the role of interferon lambda 3 gene polymorphisms for predicting treatment response in chronic hepatitis C, and a second gene polymorphism that interacts with interferon lambda 3. These discoveries are considered major advances in the field and the finest examples of ‘personalised medicine’. Professor George was an author on the groundbreaking study of combination telaprevir, pegylated interferon and ribavirin therapy for hepatitis C, which changed the landscape of hepatitis C treatments, heralding the era of direct-acting antivirals. His work identifying insulin resistance as the universal underlying pathophysiological abnormality in fatty liver disease underpins the majority of research on this condition and is the cornerstone of current therapy (lifestyle intervention; exercise; insulin-sensitising agents). He also first described the association between hepatitis C and insulin resistance. Professor George is an advisor to Hepatitis Australia, the Transfusion Related AIDS and Infectious Diseases Service, and at state and national levels, on viral hepatitis. He oversees research for the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of Liver. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease.

Keywords

Liver Disease, Cell biology, Molecular Biology and Host Genetics, Cancer, Hepatitis Virology

Themes

Cancer, Infection and Immunological Conditions, Healthy Ageing

Clinical Specialty

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Research Focus

Professor George’s research broadly covers liver disease and cancer, with specific themes in the fields of viral hepatitis, liver cancer, fatty liver disease, hepatic drug metabolism, and the contribution of host genetics and immunology to liver disease, liver injury and fibrosis. He has particular interests in basic and clinical research on non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and on the role of host genetics in treatment response and disease progression in viral hepatitis.

Professor George leads an international genetics hepatitis C consortium that includes 4,200 patients from Australia, Egypt, Germany, Italy, the UK, Hong Kong, etc. The consortium provides the opportunity to access patients with distinct genetic backgrounds to help identify host factors that are associated with treatment response and/or the development of liver fibrosis and disease progression. His team is attempting to develop diagnostic tests to non-invasively predict liver fibrosis stage, thereby avoiding liver biopsies. Additionally, with the aid of a major grant from the Cancer Council of NSW and the Cancer Institute, NSW, Professor George is undertaking a program of research investigating the epidemiology, pathogenesis and treatment of liver cancer, a malignancy that is rapidly increasing in incidence in NSW. The aim of the work is to develop new preventative and early detection strategies and treatments.

Other Affiliations

Sydney Medical School > Westmead Clinical School > Westmead Clinical School

Awards and Recognition

  • 1983 - Graduated with University Medal; First Class Honours; The British Medical Association William Nathaniel Robertson Medal for best student; The John F. Dunkley Memorial Prize, The Elsie Butler Wilkinson Prize
  • 1990 - NHMRC Medical Postgraduate Research Scholarship
  • 1995 - NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley Fellowship, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Fellowship; Gastroenterological Society of Australia Travel Award, Gastroenterological Society of Australia Grant-in-Aid for overseas study
  • 1996 - American Liver Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
  • 2009 - Westmead Millennium Institute, Science Prize
  • 2010 - Westmead Millennium Institute, Science Prize
  • 2011 - Westmead Millennium Institute, Science Prize
  • 2012 - Westmead Millennium Science Prize
  • 2012 - Cancer Council NSW. Outstanding Service Award – In recognition of commitment and support in the fight against chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer
  • 2013 - Westmead Millennium Science Prize
  • 2013 - Distinguished Professor Award, University of Sydney
  • 2014 - STREP Grant SRP 08-03 awarded by Cancer Council NSW as one of the ten best projects funded by Cancer Council NSW
  • 2015 - NHMRC Award to Sydney Health Partners Advanced Health Research of which Storr Liver Centre is an integral part. Recognised for high quality research internationally

Education

  • MBBS (Medicine) University Medal, University of Queensland
  • FRACP (Gastroenterology and Hepatology) Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • PhD (Hepatology) University of New South Wales