I am a gastroenterologist who specializes in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) clinical care and research. In addition to serving as director of the Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Cincinnati Children’s, I hold the M. Susan Moyer Chair in pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases.

My research interests include the pathogenesis and treatment of IBD, with a focus on microbial targeted therapies. Our lab aims to improve healing and length of remission for patients with IBD — and ultimately provide a cure.

For example, using both murine and patient-based approaches, we’re working to define mechanisms that link neutralizing GM-CSF autoantibodies to neutrophil dysfunction and more severe small bowel Crohn’s disease. Our goal is to develop diagnostic biomarkers that may lead to novel targeted treatments.

We’ve also sought to determine the molecular basis for alterations in growth hormone signaling in IBD. Normal growth and development are dependent upon the ability of growth hormone to regulate IGF-1 expression. Evidence from studies in children with IBD, and mouse models of colitis, indicates that inflammatory cytokines, which are up regulated in this setting, may cause an acquired resistance to growth hormone. Consequences may include growth failure, altered body composition and impaired mucosal healing.

We’ve used complementary experimental and patient-based approaches to investigate regulation of growth hormone signaling in mouse models of colitis and in children with Crohn's disease. This includes down-regulation of the growth hormone receptor and up-regulation of a family of post-receptor inhibitory proteins, the Suppressors of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS). These studies should lead to the development of more effective therapies for children with IBD and other chronic inflammatory conditions.

I’ve received numerous awards and appointments throughout my career. These include the Sherman Prize and a Cincinnati Children’s Faculty Mentor Award.

MD: Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA, 1993.

Residency: Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT, 1993-96.

Certification: Pediatrics, 1996 and 2002.

Fellowship: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 1996-99.


Inflammatory bowel disease; growth failure; celiac disease

Services and Specialties

Gastroenterology GI, Colorectal Disorders, Inflammatory Bowel Disease IBD, Autoimmune Liver Disease

Research Areas

Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Insurance Information

Cincinnati Children's strives to accept a wide variety of health plans. Please contact your health insurance carrier to verify coverage for your specific benefit plan.

View Insurance Information


Progression of Pediatric Crohn's Disease Is Associated With Anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor Timing and Body Mass Index Z-Score Normalization. Geem, D; Hercules, D; Pelia, RS; Venkateswaran, S; Griffiths, A; Noe, JD; Dotson, JL; Snapper, S; Rabizadeh, S; Rosh, JR; et al. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2024; 22:368-376.e4.

P067 Volumetric Assessment of Treatment Response in Newly Diagnosed Crohn Disease: A Pilot Study. Derinkuyu, BE; Bard, A; Naim, I; Tkach, JA; Denson, LA; Dillman, JR. Journal of Crohn's and Colitis. 2024; 18:i337.

Monogenic deficiency in murine intestinal Cdc42 leads to mucosal inflammation that induces crypt dysplasia. Zhang, D; Tang, W; Niu, H; Tse, W; Ruan, HB; Dolznig, H; Knösel, T; Karl-Heinz, F; Themanns, M; Wang, J; et al. Genes and Diseases. 2024; 11:413-429.

Self-Management assistance for recommended treatment (SMART) IBD app randomized control trial in adolescents with IBD: Design and methodology. Roberts, CM; Plevinsky, JM; Gamwell, KL; Noser, AE; Denson, LA; Hommel, KA. 2024; 2:100031.

Reduced LHFPL3-AS2 lncRNA expression is linked to altered epithelial polarity and proliferation, and to ileal ulceration in Crohn disease. Sosnovski, KE; Braun, T; Amir, A; BenShoshan, M; Abbas-Egbariya, H; Ben-Yishay, R; Anafi, L; Avivi, C; Barshack, I; Denson, LA; et al. Scientific Reports. 2023; 13:20513.

Longitudinal DNA methylation profiling of the rectal mucosa identifies cell-specific signatures of disease status, severity and clinical outcomes in ulcerative colitis cell-specific DNA methylation signatures of UC. Venkateswaran, S; Somineni, HK; Matthews, JD; Kilaru, V; Hyams, JS; Denson, LA; Kellamayer, R; Gibson, G; Cutler, DJ; Conneely, KN; et al. Clinical Epigenetics. 2023; 15:50.

Microbiota-derived butyrate dampens linaclotide stimulation of the guanylate cyclase C pathway in patient-derived colonoids. Velez Lopez, A; Waddell, A; Antonacci, S; Castillo, D; Santucci, N; Ollberding, NJ; Eshleman, EM; Denson, LA; Alenghat, T. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2023; 35:e14681.

Identifying high-impact variants and genes in exomes of Ashkenazi Jewish inflammatory bowel disease patients. Wu, Y; Gettler, K; Kars, ME; Giri, M; Li, D; Bayrak, CS; Zhang, P; Jain, A; Maffucci, P; Sabic, K; et al. Nature Communications. 2023; 14:2256.

Acute pancreatitis is associated with gut dysbiosis in children. Dike, C; Ollberding, N; Thompson, T; Kotha, N; Minar, P; Vitale, D; Lin, T; Nasr, A; Denson, L; Haslam, D; et al. Pancreatology : official journal of the International Association of Pancreatology (IAP) ... [et al.]. 2023; 23:e3-e4.

Integrative –‘Omics and Machine-Learning-Based Image Analyses of Environmental Enteric Dysfunction Reveal an Immunologic and Metabolic Pathogenesis of Intestinal Failure. Zulqarnain, F; Zhao, X; Setchell, K; Sharma, Y; Fernandes, P; Srivastava, A; Ehsan, L; Jain, V; Raghavan, SS; Moskaluk, C; et al. 2023.

From the Blog

Our 2019 Research Annual Report
Genomics and Development

Our 2019 Research Annual Report

Lee A. Denson, MD, John Hogenesch, PhD ...2/4/2020

A Promising Early Research Study for IBD Treatment
Blog Rare and Complex Conditions

A Promising Early Research Study for IBD Treatment

By Lee A. Denson, MD4/28/2016

Patient Ratings and Comments

All patient satisfaction ratings and comments are submitted by actual patients and verified by a leading independent patient satisfaction company, NRC Health. Patient identities are withheld to ensure confidentiality and privacy. Only those providers whose satisfaction surveys are administered through Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center are displayed. Click here to learn more about our survey

Overall Patient Rating