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Liver disease study earns University of Alberta's Dr. David Lim the A.S.P.E.N. Vars Award

American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.)

David Lim, MD, CM, of the University of Alberta has been named the winner of the 2015 Harry M. Vars Award by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.). The award is for his research on parenteral nutrition associated liver disease (PNALD) in infants, which was presented at A.S.P.E.N.'s Clinical Nutrition Week conference in Long Beach, California, February 14 to 17.

"Dr. Lim's research greatly advances the science and practice of clinical nutrition and metabolism, and we are pleased to formally recognize his important work," said Debra Ben Avram, CEO of A.S.P.E.N.

Parenteral nutrition associated liver disease occurs in 40-60 percent of infants with intestinal failure and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The peptide hormone, glucagon-like peptide-2 (GLP-2), is being advanced as therapy for intestinal failure because of its intestinotrophic properties. The effect of GLP-2 on PNALD was previously unknown.

Dr. Lim and his colleagues recently determined that exogenous GLP-2 therapy in a preclinical model of neonatal PNALD improves bile flow and serum markers of cholestasis and studied the mechanisms underlying the improved clinical phenotype. They hypothesized that bile acid metabolic pathways, including synthesis, composition and transport, are altered in PNALD and ameliorated with GLP-2 therapy.

The results from the study have provided insight regarding how bile acid metabolism is altered in PNALD and with GLP-2 treatment. Such treatment is associated with alterations in FXR signaling, a key regulator of bile acid homeostasis, as well as the increased expression of key bile acid transporters, which is beneficial in the setting of cholestasis.

Dr. Lim's research also earned him a Research Trainee Award from A.S.P.E.N., which was also presented to him at the Clinical Nutrition Week conference. A copy of his research abstract is available here:


The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (A.S.P.E.N.) is dedicated to improving patient care by advancing the science and practice of nutrition support therapy and metabolism. Founded in 1976, A.S.P.E.N. is an interdisciplinary organization whose members are involved in the provision of clinical nutrition therapies, including parenteral and enteral nutrition. With more than 6,000 members from around the world, A.S.P.E.N. is a community of dietitians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physicians, scientists, students, and other health professionals from every facet of nutrition support clinical practice, research, and education. For more information about A.S.P.E.N., please visit

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