Jennifer Lai, MD


Dr. Jennifer C. Lai is a general and transplant hepatologist who specializes in caring for patients with chronic viral hepatitis, autoimmune disorders, and cirrhosis, particularly those awaiting liver transplantation. She is also actively engaged in patient-oriented clinical research within three major areas: integrating core principles of geriatrics (e.g., frailty, disability, palliative care, multi-morbidity) to patients with cirrhosis, investigating disparities in organ allocation and distribution as well as assessing the impact of liver donor quality on outcomes.

As the principal investigator for the NIH-funded Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation (FrAILT) study, Lai aims to apply measures of frailty and functional status to patients with end-stage liver disease awaiting liver transplantation. Her research lays the groundwork for therapeutic interventions aimed at "pre-habilitating" patients awaiting liver transplantation to improve their outcomes and quality of life.

Lai earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and combined MD/MBA degrees from Tufts University. She completed residency at the New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and gastroenterology and advanced/transplant hepatology fellowships at UCSF. She is a member of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Society of Transplantation, American Gastroenterological Association, and American College of Gastroenterology. She has been recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP). Lai is board certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology, and Advanced/Transplant Hepatology.


Liver Disease and Liver Transplant
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 300
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-2318
Fax: (415) 353-2407

Hours: Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Liver Transplant Program
400 Parnassus Ave., Seventh Floor
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 353-1888
Fax: (415) 353-8917

Hours: Pre-Liver Transplant Clinic Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Hours: Post-Liver Transplant Clinic Tuesday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Thursday 1-4 p.m.

Board Certification

Gastroenterology, American Board of Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
Transplant Hepatology, American Board of Internal Medicine

Academic Title

Assistant Professor

More about Jennifer Lai


Tufts University School of Medicine 2005


New York Presbyterian Hospital 2008

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Spengler EK, O'Leary JG, Te HS, Rogal S, Pillai AA, Al-Osaimi A, Desai A, Fleming JN, Ganger D, Seetharam A, Tsoulfas G, Montenovo M, Lai JC. Liver Transplantation in the Obese Cirrhotic Patient. Transplantation. 2017 Oct; 101(10):2288-2296.
  2. Lai JC, Covinsky KE, Dodge JL, Boscardin WJ, Segev DL, Roberts JP, Feng S. Development of a novel frailty index to predict mortality in patients with end-stage liver disease. Hepatology. 2017 Aug; 66(2):564-574.
  3. Ge J, Roberts JP, Lai JC. Race/ethnicity is associated with ABO-nonidentical liver transplantation in the United States. Clin Transplant. 2017 Aug; 31(8).
  4. Wang CW, Lai JC. Reporting functional status in UNOS: The weakness of the Karnofsky Performance Status Scale. Clin Transplant. 2017 Jul; 31(7).
  5. Salazar J, Saxena V, Kahn JG, Roberts JP, Mehta N, Volk M, Lai JC. Cost-Effectiveness of Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment in Hepatitis C-Infected Liver Transplant Candidates With Compensated Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Transplantation. 2017 May; 101(5):1001-1008.
  6. Carey EJ, Lai JC, Wang CW, Dasarathy S, Lobach I, Montano-Loza AJ, Dunn MA. A multicenter study to define sarcopenia in patients with end-stage liver disease. Liver Transpl. 2017 May; 23(5):625-633.
  7. Samoylova ML, Covinsky KE, Haftek M, Kuo S, Roberts JP, Lai JC. Disability in patients with end-stage liver disease: Results from the functional assessment in liver transplantation study. Liver Transpl. 2017 Mar; 23(3):292-298.
  8. Sinclair M, Poltavskiy E, Dodge JL, Lai JC. Frailty is independently associated with increased hospitalisation days in patients on the liver transplant waitlist. World J Gastroenterol. 2017 Feb 07; 23(5):899-905.
  9. Clinical Liver Disease. A framework to determine when liver transplantation is futile. 2016; 8:137-9.
  10. Pavasini R, Guralnik J, Brown JC, di Bari M, Cesari M, Landi F, Vaes B, Legrand D, Verghese J, Wang C, Stenholm S, Ferrucci L, Lai JC, Bartes AA, Espaulella J, Ferrer M, Lim JY, Ensrud KE, Cawthon P, Turusheva A, Frolova E, Rolland Y, Lauwers V, Corsonello A, Kirk GD, Ferrari R, Volpato S, Campo G. Short Physical Performance Battery and all-cause mortality: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2016 Dec 22; 14(1):215.
  11. Kuo SZ, Haftek M, Lai JC. Factors Associated with Medication Non-adherence in Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease. Dig Dis Sci. 2017 Feb; 62(2):543-549.
  12. Lai JC, Volk ML, Strasburg D, Alexander N. Performance-Based Measures Associate With Frailty in Patients With End-Stage Liver Disease. Transplantation. 2016 Dec; 100(12):2656-2660.
  13. Lai JC. Editorial: Advancing Adoption of Frailty to Improve the Care of Patients with Cirrhosis: Time for a Consensus on a Frailty Index. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016 Dec; 111(12):1776-1777.
  14. Giard JM, Decker KA, Lai JC, Gill RM, Logan AC, Fix OK. Acute Liver Failure Secondary to Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis during Pregnancy. ACG Case Rep J. 2016 Aug; 3(4):e162.
  15. Bajaj JS, O'Leary JG, Tandon P, Wong F, Garcia-Tsao G, Kamath PS, Maliakkal B, Biggins SW, Thuluvath PJ, Fallon MB, Subramanian RM, Vargas HE, Lai J, Thacker LR, Reddy KR. Hepatic Encephalopathy Is Associated With Mortality in Patients With Cirrhosis Independent of Other Extrahepatic Organ Failures. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017 Apr; 15(4):565-574.e4.
  16. Kathpalia P, Smith A, Lai JC. Underutilization of palliative care services in the liver transplant population. World J Transplant. 2016 Sep 24; 6(3):594-8.
  17. Wang CW, Feng S, Covinsky KE, Hayssen H, Zhou LQ, Yeh BM, Lai JC. A Comparison of Muscle Function, Mass, and Quality in Liver Transplant Candidates: Results From the Functional Assessment in Liver Transplantation Study. Transplantation. 2016 Aug; 100(8):1692-8.
  18. Lai JC. Defining the threshold for too sick for transplant. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2016 Apr; 21(2):127-32.
  19. Lai JC, Covinsky KE, Hayssen H, Lizaola B, Dodge J, Roberts JP, Terrault NA, Feng S. Response to clinical assessments of health status as a potential marker to identify patients who are too sick to undergo transplantation. Liver Int. 2016 Apr; 36(4):611.
  20. Lai JC, Roberts JP. ABO-Nonidentical Liver Transplantation in the United States. Am J Transplant. 2016 Aug; 16(8):2430-6.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.