Cholestatic-liver diseases (CLDs) arise from diverse causes ranging from genetic factors to drug-induced cholestasis. The so-called diseases of civilization (obesity, diabetes, metabolic disorders, non-alcoholic liver disease, cardiovascular diseases, etc.) are intricately implicated in liver and gall bladder diseases. Although CLDs have been extensively studied, there seem to be important gaps in the understanding of human disease. Despite the fact that many animal models exist and substantial clinical data are available, translation of this knowledge towards therapy has been disappointingly limited. Recent advances in liver cell culture such as in vivo-like 3D cultivation of human primary hepatic cells, human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived hepatocytes; and cutting-edge analytical techniques such as 'omics' technologies and high-content screenings could play a decisive role in deeper mechanistic understanding of CLDs. This Topical Review proposes a roadmap to human biology-based research using omics technologies providing quantitative information on mechanisms in an adverse outcome/disease pathway framework. With modern sensitive tools, a shift in paradigm in human disease research seems timely and even inevitable to overcome species barriers in translation. Advanced human in vitro models, e.g. primary cells or those derived from hiPSC maintained in 3D, will provide high content and data rich 'omics' information and biomarkers for diagnosis; and could be used in screening for new therapy options and personalized medicine.