Department of Surgery

Billiar Lab

Research Overview

Dr. Billiar has had a long-standing interest in the mechanisms involved in acute cellular and organ injury in inflammatory states such as shock, trauma, and sepsis. His laboratory focuses research in two main areas. The first area investigates innate immune mechanisms leading to activation of inflammation following acute cellular and organ damage. There is a special emphasis on damage associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs) and pattern recognition receptors (PRR) in this response. Model systems include organ ischemia and reperfusion, as well as systemic insults such as shock and tissue trauma. Analysis includes markers of inflammation, the immunological consequences of injury and inflammation, mechanisms of organ injury and genome wide studies.

The second area of investigation includes examining pathways leading to cell death in hepatocytes. This work stems from Dr. Billiar’s long-standing interest in the actions of nitric oxide in the liver, and has led to an interest in understanding how cells such as hepatocytes regulate responses to both protective and damaging stimuli. The work involves both in vitro and in vivo systems. Dr. Billiar is also credited with initially cloning the human nitric oxide synthase gene.

Dr. Billiar’s laboratory is currently funded by the NIH to investigate both research areas, including a trauma center grant and a T32 training grant. Dr. Billiar’s lab is a prime example of a productive and well-funded lab with both PhDs and MDs working together in a coordinated fashion for the pursuit of knowledge and the advancement of science. He also holds seven U.S. patents associated with his research. The goal of all his research is to define mechanisms and identify therapeutic targets.

Resilience Plans

Lab Members


NW607 UPMC Montefiore


Publications from the Billiar Lab can be viewed through PubMed.