5 Questions

A Conversation With Ashwani K. Singal, MD, MS, FACG

Ashwani K. Singal

In this issue, HCV Next asks five questions of Ashwani K. Singal, MD, MS, FACG, associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Singal attended the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, India for his medical degree. From there he worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, after he which he moved to the United States, in 2005, for a residency at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bronx Program. Singal completed fellowship training in Gastroenterology as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Sciences at the University of Texas-Medical Branch in Galveston before moving on to an AASLD-sponsored advanced fellowship in Transplant Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he received an assistant professorship.

As an active faculty member, Singal treats patients with a cross-section of liver diseases, include those in the transplant setting or not in the transplant setting. Steatohepatitis from alcohol and non-alcohol causes and porphyria cutanea tarda are his two main areas of clinical and research interest.

Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

There have been some great teachers from my school days onward. For example, I would always remember great teaching imparted to us in PGI Chandigarh, the premier institute of India. The instructors there provided me with great bedside manners and thorough case discussion. Within the U.S., during my residency at Mount Sinai, I fondly remember Mark Korsten, MD, professor of Gastroenterology and Scott Friedman, MD, professor of Medicine in the Department of Liver Disease and director of the Mount Sinai Alcoholic Liver Disease Research Center, for their constant motivation and encouragement for research activities besides daily clinical exposure. During my GI fellowship, Don Powell, MD, director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and program director of the General Clinical Research Center at UT Galveston, an astute clinician and researcher, imbibed a great sense of patience and an active sense of learning and appreciating the big picture in every situation. At the Mayo clinic during my transplant hepatology fellowship and later, regular mentoring and advice of Vijay Shah, MD, professor of Medicine and Patrick Kamath, MD, of the Departments of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Liver Transplant Program.

What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Academic medicine with patient care, research and education have always attracted me. After completing my post-graduate training in India, I joined a private practice by default. The defining moment which made me realize what I wanted to do was when I organized an international hepatitis B conference which became hugely successful with the release of two books on hepatitis B, co-edited by myself. I decided to step out of India and come to the U.S. for better academic opportunities, which always has been one of the best decisions in my life.

What area of research in hepatology most interests you right now?

Although I love hepatology and taking care of any liver disease, clinical and translational research attracts me the most. Research allows me to answer relevant clinical questions and practice evidence-based medicine. My research interests include alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, porphyria and renal injury in cirrhosis. The division at UAB allows me to tailor my clinics to meet with my research interests and help recruit patients for studies.

Have you been fortunate enough to witness or to been part of medical history?

Although many new discoveries have happened since I joined the medical profession, the one which I think has made most impact to lives of people with liver diseases, and for which I will always remain proud to be part of the history, is the development of potent direct acting antiviral drugs for the management of hepatitis C virus infection.

What’s up next for you?

Continuing to put in efforts to advance and succeed in academic practice with better patient care, cutting edge translational research, and education of students, nurses, and physicians both at the regional and national level.

Disclosure: Singal reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Ashwani K. Singal

In this issue, HCV Next asks five questions of Ashwani K. Singal, MD, MS, FACG, associate professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Singal attended the University College of Medical Sciences in Delhi, India for his medical degree. From there he worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, after he which he moved to the United States, in 2005, for a residency at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bronx Program. Singal completed fellowship training in Gastroenterology as well as a Master’s degree in Clinical Sciences at the University of Texas-Medical Branch in Galveston before moving on to an AASLD-sponsored advanced fellowship in Transplant Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he received an assistant professorship.

As an active faculty member, Singal treats patients with a cross-section of liver diseases, include those in the transplant setting or not in the transplant setting. Steatohepatitis from alcohol and non-alcohol causes and porphyria cutanea tarda are his two main areas of clinical and research interest.

Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

There have been some great teachers from my school days onward. For example, I would always remember great teaching imparted to us in PGI Chandigarh, the premier institute of India. The instructors there provided me with great bedside manners and thorough case discussion. Within the U.S., during my residency at Mount Sinai, I fondly remember Mark Korsten, MD, professor of Gastroenterology and Scott Friedman, MD, professor of Medicine in the Department of Liver Disease and director of the Mount Sinai Alcoholic Liver Disease Research Center, for their constant motivation and encouragement for research activities besides daily clinical exposure. During my GI fellowship, Don Powell, MD, director of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and program director of the General Clinical Research Center at UT Galveston, an astute clinician and researcher, imbibed a great sense of patience and an active sense of learning and appreciating the big picture in every situation. At the Mayo clinic during my transplant hepatology fellowship and later, regular mentoring and advice of Vijay Shah, MD, professor of Medicine and Patrick Kamath, MD, of the Departments of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the Liver Transplant Program.

What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Academic medicine with patient care, research and education have always attracted me. After completing my post-graduate training in India, I joined a private practice by default. The defining moment which made me realize what I wanted to do was when I organized an international hepatitis B conference which became hugely successful with the release of two books on hepatitis B, co-edited by myself. I decided to step out of India and come to the U.S. for better academic opportunities, which always has been one of the best decisions in my life.

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What area of research in hepatology most interests you right now?

Although I love hepatology and taking care of any liver disease, clinical and translational research attracts me the most. Research allows me to answer relevant clinical questions and practice evidence-based medicine. My research interests include alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, porphyria and renal injury in cirrhosis. The division at UAB allows me to tailor my clinics to meet with my research interests and help recruit patients for studies.

Have you been fortunate enough to witness or to been part of medical history?

Although many new discoveries have happened since I joined the medical profession, the one which I think has made most impact to lives of people with liver diseases, and for which I will always remain proud to be part of the history, is the development of potent direct acting antiviral drugs for the management of hepatitis C virus infection.

What’s up next for you?

Continuing to put in efforts to advance and succeed in academic practice with better patient care, cutting edge translational research, and education of students, nurses, and physicians both at the regional and national level.

Disclosure: Singal reports no relevant financial disclosures.