Lisa Beth VanWagner

  • Source: Scopus

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Personal profile

Research Interests

My laboratory utilizes human population-based approaches, large electronic health record data analysis and health services research methods to define and characterize cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction, prevention and treatment approaches in patients with chronic liver disease. We recently derived and validated the first liver-transplant specific CVD risk assessment tool for clinical use (calculator available at: We were also the first to establish that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is independently related to increased poor CVD outcomes after liver transplantation and is an independent risk factor for subclinical changes in myocardial dysfunction and declines in early brain health on a population level. As a practicing transplant hepatologist, I see patients with CVD after liver transplant and recognize gaps in our knowledge of the epidemiology and pathobiology of CVD in this growing population. I am trained in risk prediction modeling, obesity and cardiovascular epidemiology and advanced longitudinal statistical analyses. I am committed to translating research into clinical practice through use of mixed methods research and implementation science principles to improve cardiovascular outcomes care among patients with liver disease. I have a strong academic record as demonstrated by several research awards, and I have demonstrated my ability to complete projects and disseminate research findings through national presentations and peer-reviewed publication, and to leverage funding to obtain additional support from multiple organizations.

I see patients with a variety of liver diseases both before and after life-saving liver transplantation. My clinical focus in particular is among patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is an obesity-related liver condition. I currently co-lead the Northwestern University Fatty Liver Clinic alongside Dr. Mary Rinella. I am also particularly interested in seeing patients with liver disease due to a variety of heart conditions, including patients with a history of congenital heart disease and adults with heart failure. As a staff hepatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and member of the Digestive Health Center and Kovler Organ Transplant Center, I serve on the inpatient hepatology and hepatology consult services, conduct ambulatory clinic sessions and perform endoscopy sessions monthly.

Dr. VanWagner is board certified in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Transplant Hepatology and holds active medical licensure in the state of Illinois. She received her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 2007. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, IL in 2010 and then served as Chief Medical Resident from 2010-2011. She also obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Investigation from the Northwestern University Graduate School in 2011. Dr. VanWagner completed her Gastroenterology & Hepatology training at Northwestern in 2014 followed by a Transplant Hepatology Fellowship in 2015 before joining the Northwestern faculty.

Training Experience

2010Internship, Northwestern University, McGaw Medical Center (Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
2011Residency, Northwestern University, McGaw Medical Center (Northwestern Memorial Hospital)
2014Fellowship, Northwestern University, McGaw Medical Center
2015Fellowship, Northwestern University, McGaw Medical Center

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

MSc, Northwestern University

… → 2011

MD, University of Virginia

… → 2007

Research interests

  • Liver Disease / Pathobiology
  • Obesity
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Transplantation


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