U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Theo Heller

 Contact Info

Tel: 301-402-7147
Email: theoh@intra.niddk.nih.gov

 Select Experience

  • Hepatology FellowshipLDB, NIDDK, NIH2003
  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology FellowshipUniversity of Maryland Medical Systems2000
  • Postdoctoral FellowshipHepatitis Viruses Section, NIAID1997
  • Internal Medicine ResidencyGeorgetown University Hospital1993
  • M.D.University of the Witwatersrand1989
  • B.S.University of Cape Town1983

 Related Links

  • Clinical Research
  • Translational Research
Research Summary/In Plain Language

Research in Plain Language

A variety of clinical and laboratory researchers are involved in the study of liver disease, as many questions remain unanswered about hepatic—liver-related— biology and how liver disease begins.

Our laboratory tests hypotheses, in clinical situations, with patients. The results can then be adapted into laboratory projects that may lead to fundamental biologic insights and better disease management. We believe it is often better to study human disease through real-life clinical observations than through models.

Human disease is a window into biology. Thus, by studying diseases—some rare—researchers can use the concepts learned to gain a better understanding of far broader biologic principles.

Our laboratory focuses on the connections between the innate immune system and liver-related damage and repair. The clinical focus is on noncirrhotic portal hypertension, which is when a person’s blood pressure rises above normal levels in the hepatic circulation of the liver for other reasons than the liver disease called cirrhosis. We also study patients with chronic granulomatous disease, sickle cell disease, Turner syndrome, sporadic nodular regenerative hyperplasia, hepatitis D, acute hepatitis C, and congenital hepatic fibrosis.