• Dr. Karn Wijarnpreecha Receives E. Donnall Thomas Award for Outstanding Research at Bassett

    Bassett Healthcare Network

    May 23, 2018

    A doctor completing his medical training at Bassett hopes the results of a recent research study project will enhance the knowledge about nonalcoholic fatty-liver disease (NAFLD) and NAFLD-related advanced fibrosis (scarring) of the liver. Dr. Karn Wijarnpreecha conducted research to try to determine whether sarcopenia (progressive loss of muscle mass and function) is associated with NAFLD (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease) and advanced fibrosis (scarring in the liver.) The study indicated sarcopenia is associated with increased risk of NAFLD and NAFLD-related advanced fibrosis in NAFLD patients and the associations are consistent across all ethnicities.

    Wijarnpreecha is an internal medicine resident in his third year of training at Bassett Medical Center and his research earned him the 2018 E. Donnall Thomas Research Day Outstanding Research Presentation award. His research project and poster were among 12 recently presented as part of the E. Donnall Thomas Research Day. Moreover, this project helped him to achieve Young Investigator Bursary from the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) in 2018.

    “Understanding the pathophysiology or associated risk factors that may prevent NAFLD or NAFLD-associated with fibrosis may help patients,” said Wijarnpreecha. “We can tell patients that they may have a higher risk of NAFLD if they have low muscle mass; and that also in NAFLD patients, if they had low muscle mass, they have higher chance to get scarring in the liver, which is a poor health indicator. So, interventions to strengthen muscle mass may reduce the burden of NAFLD and advanced fibrosis.”

    Wijarnpreecha worked on the study project with Donghee Kim, MD, PhD, division of gastroenterology, Stanford University, and Bassett mentor Dr. Pascale Raymond; and was also supported at Bassett Medical Center by Dr. Edward Bischof, program director, internal medicine, and Melissa Scribani, MPH, statistician.

    Wijarnpreecha earned his medical degree from Chiang Mai University, Thailand. After completing his residency at Bassett in June, he will start a gastroenterology fellowship training at Mayo Clinic Florida and after that begin a hepatology fellowship.

    “I wish to thank the E. Donnall Thomas Research Resident Program for supporting this project, which has been submitted for review,” says Wijarnpreecha. During his residency training at Bassett, Wijarnpreecha has been published 76 times, and was selected to be one of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) Emerging Liver Scholar and Ambassador recipients, which “reflect my interest and love of research in hepatology/gastroenterology.”

    The E. Donnall Thomas award is given annually to a Bassett trainee who has conducted exceptional research while at Bassett Medical Center during residency. The award is named in honor of E. Donnall Thomas, who served as Bassett’s physician-in-chief from 1955 to 1963. He was awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation, which he began at Bassett. Thomas performed the world’s first human bone marrow transplant at Bassett in 1956.

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    Photo caption: Karn Wijarnpreecha, MD, accepts the 2018 E. Donnall Thomas Research Day Outstanding Research Presentation award from Anne M. Gadomski, MD, MPH, director, Research Institute.