• Research Faculty

  • A photo of Jorge Bezerra.

    Jorge A. Bezerra, MD Director, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    investigates the genetic, cellular and molecular basis of biliary atresia and other cholangiopathies in children. His studies use animal models of disease to identify causes of tissue injury and to develop new therapies to stop progression of liver disease.
    Visit the Bezerra Lab.


    A photo of Maisam Abu-El-Haija.

    Maisam A. Abu-El-Haija, MD Medical Director, Pancreas Care Center

    is a clinical gastroenterologist who has clinical and translational research interests in pediatric pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis GI related diseases. Her main research focus is on the clinical presentations of pancreatitis, different management trends, and outcomes of pediatric pancreatitis. As part of the pancreatic center at Cincinnati Children's, Dr. Abu-El-Haija is working on establishing a database and registry for pediatric pancreatitis. This patient cohort will help determine the epidemiology and potential etiologic factors pancreatitis in children. They hope to study complications and outcomes of therapeutic interventions for pancreatitis, to be able to implement effective therapies with favorable outcomes in the future. The long-term goals are to find effective treatment for pancreatitis.


    A photo of Akihiro Asai.
    A photo of William Balisteri.

    William F. Balistreri, MD Dorothy M. M. Kersten Professor of Pediatrics

    His multicenter studies include assessing the safety and efficacy of new direct acting anti-virals in the treatment of children with chronic hepatitis C and examining the safety and efficacy of these drugs in inducing clearance of HCV and/or HBV (loss of HBeAg) in chronically infected children.


    A photo of John Bucuvalas.

    John C. Bucuvalas, MD Director, Integrated Solid Organ Transplant Program

    has focused his research on improving outcomes for pediatric liver transplant recipients. He is currently working to determine if regulatory cell DNA patterns predict suppressor activity, to conduct an immunosuppression withdrawal trial of transplant recipients, to define an objective marker of non-adherence in transplant recipients and to identify a subgroup of who will respond to immunomodulatory therapy and avoid liver transplantation.

    Visit the Bucuvalas Lab.


    A photo of Kathleen M. Campbell.

    Kathleen M. Campbell, MD Member, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    is interested in the care of patients both before and long after pediatric liver transplantation, with a particular interest in risk factors for, and prevention of, chronic renal dysfunction following transplantation.


    A photo of Conrad Cole.

    Conrad R. Cole, MD, MPH, MSc Clinical Director, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    is interested in intestinal rehabilitation and neonatal nutrition. His research focuses on (1) the prevention of blood stream infections and improving nutritional and developmental outcomes in children with short bowel syndrome and intestinal failure and (2) the epidemiology and prevention of micronutrient malnutrition and its consequences in preschool children especially within minority and low income populations.


    A photo of Lee Denson.

    Lee A. Denson, MD Medical Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    is interested in discovering pathogenic mechanisms which regulate both growth and mucosal inflammation in children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He is currently performing studies to define the role of inherited and acquired loss of function in the innate immune system in IBD pathogenesis, with a view towards development of new diagnostics and therapeutics targeting these pathways.
    Visit the Denson Lab.


    A photo of Dana Dykes.

    Dana (Chelly) Dykes, MD

    is working to improve outcomes and healthcare value using personalized tracking, electronic visits, and e-communication.


    A photo of Michael Farrell.

    Michael K. Farrell, MD

    is interested in general pediatric gastroenterology problems such as gastroesophageal reflux, chronic abdominal pain, celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. He is also interested in all nutritional problems of infants, children and adolescents. A particular interest of Dr. Farrell is providing care as close to their community as possible.


    A photo of Yael Haberman Ziv.

    Yael Haberman Ziv, PhD

    investigates pathogenesis of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She aims to detect the widest range of microbial shifts and host gene expression, present in the actual lining of the gut using high-throughput approaches. More accurately classifying the type of IBD that a patient has and predicting the likelihood of patients to achieve remission is one of her ongoing interests.


    A photo of Xiaonan Han.

    Xiaonan Han, PhD

    has a laboratory currently focused on intestinal barrier dysfunction in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). They have generated intestinal epithelial cell signals transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) 5 deficient mice. Specifically, they are working to identify whether STAT5 signaling in enterocytes protects intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) barrier function in response to gut injury.


    A photo of James Heubi.

    James E. Heubi, MD Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training

    pursues a variety of patient-oriented projects that relate to liver disease and nutrition. He is investigating the pathogenesis of inborn errors of bile acid metabolism, including peroxisomal disorders, and participates in the Childhood Liver Disease Research and Education Network (ChiLDREN) funded by NIH to study rare cholestatic liver diseases. He is also interested in fat absorption and has been lead PI on industry sponsored trials of novel pancreatic enzyme replacement treatments. He is also the director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training.


    A photo of Stacey Huppert.

    Stacey S. Huppert, PhD

    investigates the cellular contribution and molecular factors required for assembly of the three-dimensional hepatic architecture, during liver development, homeostasis and regeneration. Defining the critical elements involved in formation and repair processes of the liver are necessary not only to understand biology, but also to identify the cellular and molecular targets involved in congenital and chronic liver diseases.

    Visit the Huppert Lab.


    A photo of Ajay Kaul.

    Ajay Kaul, MD Director, Neurogastroenterology and Motility Disorders

    is interested in evaluating gastrointestinal motility disorders especially in children with neurodevelopmental delay. He is currently investigating clinical outcomes after combined endoscopic pyloric Botox injection and balloon dilation in children with gastroparesis and the development of rumination syndrome in this cohort.


    A photo of Samuel Kocoshis.

    Samuel A. Kocoshis, MD Medical Director, Intestinal Care Center

    is investigating ways to minimize intestinal dysfunction following transplantation and also collaborating to better characterize immunologic factors contributing to graft versus host disease and severe acute cellular rejection in intestinal transplantation. Dr. Kocoshis is also interested in identifying biomarkers that predict the development of parenteral nutrition-associated cholestasis.


    A photo of Rohit Kohli.

    Rohit Kohli, MBBS, MS Director, Liver Transplant Program

    is researching the pathogenesis of obesity related fatty liver disease and his laboratory has developed a novel diet-induced murine model to study this disease. He is also working to determine how obesity and fatty liver disease respond to weight loss after bariatric surgery and to understand what role bile acids and bile acid recycling play in the weight-independent benefits of various bariatric procedures.

    Visit the Kohli Lab.


    A photo of Mike Leonis.

    Mike A. Leonis, MD, PhD

    investigates the mechanisms of hepatic tumorigenesis. The long term goal of his research is to define the role of the Ron receptor tyrosine kinase in liver pathophysiology, focusing primarily on the role of Ron gain-of-function in hepatic tumorigenesis. A second research interest involves understanding the clinical characteristics and outcomes of pediatric patients with acute liver failure.


    A photo of Daniel Mallon.

    Daniel Mallon, MD Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    studies the impact of quality improvement programs involving collaboration and enhanced communication between primary care providers and subspecialtists, with special interest in innovative asynchronous, online educational experiences.



    Ethan A. Mezoff, MD

    works to understand and stimulate the adaptive response to intestinal resection promise novel treatment paradigms aimed at improving the lives and the cost of care of those suffering from the short bowel syndrome. Ethan A. Mezoff, MD, investigates the contribution of the microbiome to this process and explores the effects of passive and active microbial community modulators, such as FUT2 secretor status and antimicrobial use.


    A photo of Alexander Miethke.

    Alexander G. Miethke, MD

    is interested in susceptibility factors for neonatal liver injury, including biliary atresia. He focuses on the interaction between the maturing adaptive immune system and hepatic immune responses to infectious insults during the early neonatal period.


    A photo of Sean Moore.

    Sean R. Moore, MD, MS Member, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition

    investigates interactions of undernutrition and gut infections, with the goal of elucidating mechanisms and optimizing therapies to break the vicious diarrhea-malnutrition cycle in developing countries. This work encompasses clinical studies in Brazil's developing Semi-Arid region; laboratory models of human undernutrition, infection, and immunization; and systems approaches in intestinal epithelial cells.


    A photo of Joseph Palermo.

    Joseph J. Palermo, MD, PhD Medical Director, TPIAT Program

    is interested in focusing on disorders of the bile ducts. He has developed an animal model to investigate the causes of immune mediated cholangiopathies. Additionally, he is exploring the use of decision analytic modeling to improve outcomes for patients with biliary atresia. Dr. Palermo is also investigating how to utilize state of the art imaging techniques to improve the diagnosis and management of cystic fibrosis liver disease.


    A photo of Scott Pentiuk.

    Scott P. Pentiuk, MD Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    has clinical interests in feeding disorders and general gastroenterology. He is working on outcomes, quality of life, and the use of pureed by gastrostomy tube feedings in children with feeding disorders. Additionally, Dr Pentiuk has a strong interest in medical education and curriculum design for gastroenterology at the resident and fellowship levels.


    A photo of Philip Putnam.

    Philip E. Putnam, MD Director, Endoscopy Services

    is interested in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. He is the medical director of the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders. He is also taking part in the Aerodigestive and Sleep Center, a multidisciplinary group including ENT, pulmonary medicine, and pediatric surgery, which evaluates and treats children who have complex disorders involving the airway and gastrointestinal tracts.


    A photo of Michael J. Rosen.

    Michael J. Rosen, MD, MSCI Attending Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

    and his laboratory study mechanisms of inflammation in pediatric chronic colitis. 50,000 children in the US suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and 25% of patients with IBD are diagnosed as children. Dr. Rosen focuses on the contribution of Type 2 inflammation to chronic colitis. His laboratory pairs patient-based studies with studies animal models to identify molecular mechanisms underpinning chronic inflammation in human IBD.


    A photo of Shehzad Saeed.

    Shehzad Ahmed Saeed, MD, FAAP, AGAF Clinical Director, Schubert–Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    is interested in the epidemiology of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Specifically, he studies the genetic and phenotypic correlations as well as risk stratification for surgery in children with IBD. Additionally, Dr. Saeed will focus on outcomes of patients with IBD.


    A photo of Pranavkumar Shivakumar.

    Pranavkumar Shivakumar, PhD

    investigates how inflammatory natural killer (NK) and CD8 T-cells work in concert to initiate and propagate acute inflammatory injuries to bile ducts in biliary atresia. He also investigates the role of complement activation in a mouse model of experimental atresia and how complement activation products contribute to epithelial injury and inflammatory cell recruitment.


    A photo of Kris Steinbrecher.

    Kris A. Steinbrecher, PhD

    is interested in cell signaling events and transcription factors that regulate intestinal epithelial cell responses to infection and inflammation. His laboratory is focused on understanding the role of guanylate cyclase proteins and NF-κB in experimental colitis and enteric bacterial infections.

    Visit the Steinbrecher Lab.


    A photo of Takanori Takebe.

    Takanori Takebe, MD

    investigates the development of a complex organoid (or organ bud) model using human pluripotent stem cells by studying endoderm organogenesis and promoting applications towards modern human development, disease model and therapeutic transplantation.


    A photo of Cynthia Wetzel.

    Cynthia C. Wetzel, PhD Program Manager, Digestive Health Center

    is the program manager of the Digestive Health Center (DHC) which is one of only 17 Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers in the nation supported by the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The DHC, located within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is the only center dedicated to pediatric digestive diseases research. Visit the DHC website.


    A photo of Stavra Xanthakos.

    Stavra A. Xanthakos, MD, MS Director, Steatohepatitis Center

    is focused on identifying the biologic determinants of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), including potential gene-environment interactions with dietary intake during childhood and adolescence. One of her long-term research goals is to develop and apply mechanistically based therapies through clinical trials for NASH in childhood and adolescence.


    A photo of Chunyue Yin.

    Chunyue Yin, PhD

    studies the cellular and molecular basis of liver development and disease pathogenesis. She focuses on hepatic stellate cells, the key cell type responsible for hepatic fibrogenesis. She utilizes the zebrafish model to investigate the regulation of hepatic stellate cells during liver development and alcoholic liver injury, and their function in liver regeneration. Research in congenital biliary diseases is a second lab focus.

    Visit the Yin Lab.