A photo of Lee A. Denson.

Lee A. Denson, MD


  • Director, Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
  • Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

About

Biography

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.

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Publications

MULTICENTER COHORT STUDY OF INFLIXIMAB PHARMACOKINETICS AND THERAPY RESPONSE IN PEDIATRIC ACUTE SEVERE ULCERATIVE COLITIS. Whaley, KG; Xiong, Y; Karns, R; Hyams, JS; Kugathasan, S; Boyle, BM; Walters, TD; Kelsen, J; LeLeiko, N; Shapiro, J; et al. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2022.

Patient-Reported Outcomes Correlate With Microbial Community Composition Independent of Mucosal Inflammation in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Hellmann, J; Ta, A; Ollberding, NJ; Bezold, R; Lake, K; Jackson, K; Dirksing, K; Bonkowski, E; Haslam, DB; Denson, LA. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2022.

The Simplified MR Index of Activity Score in Pediatric Small Bowel Crohn Disease: An Interreader Agreement and Responsiveness Study. Dillman, JR; Ata, NA; Towbin, AJ; Anton, CG; Smith, EA; Zhang, B; Imbus, R; Tkach, JA; Denson, LA. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2022.

MRI-Based Characterization of Intestinal Motility in Children and Young Adults With Newly Diagnosed Ileal Crohn Disease Treated by Biologic Therapy: A Controlled Prospective Study. Dillman, JR; Tkach, JA; Imbus, R; Towbin, AJ; Denson, LA. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2022; 1-10.

Bowel wall MRI T1 relaxation estimates for assessment of intestinal inflammation in pediatric Crohn's disease. Mahalingam, N; Tkach, JA; Denson, LA; Dillman, JR. Abdominal Radiology. 2022; 47:2730-2738.

Ultrasound shear wave elastography in pediatric stricturing small bowel Crohn disease: correlation with histology and second harmonic imaging microscopy. Abu-Ata, N; Dillman, JR; Rubin, JM; Collins, MH; Johnson, LA; Imbus, RS; Bonkowski, EL; Denson, LA; Higgins, PD R. Pediatric Radiology. 2022.

Velocity-Encoded Phase-Contrast MRI for Measuring Mesenteric Blood Flow in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Small-Bowel Crohn Disease. Ata, NA; Dillman, JR; Gandhi, D; Dudley, JA; Trout, AT; Imbus, R; Towbin, AJ; Denson, LA; Tkach, JA. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2022; 219:132-141.

Eicosatetraynoic Acid and Butyrate Regulate Human Intestinal Organoid Mitochondrial and Extracellular Matrix Pathways Implicated in Crohn's Disease Strictures. Jurickova, I; Bonkowski, E; Angerman, E; Novak, E; Huron, A; Akers, G; Iwasawa, K; Braun, T; Hadar, R; Hooker, M; et al. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2022; 28:988-1003.

Nutritional deficiency in an intestine-on-a-chip recapitulates injury hallmarks associated with environmental enteric dysfunction. Bein, A; Fadel, CW; Swenor, B; Cao, W; Powers, RK; Camacho, DM; Naziripour, A; Parsons, A; LoGrande, N; Sharma, S; et al. Nature Biomedical Engineering. 2022.

Targeted Assessment of Mucosal Immune Gene Expression Predicts Clinical Outcomes in Children with Ulcerative Colitis. Clarkston, K; Karns, R; Jegga, AG; Sharma, M; Fox, S; Ojo, BA; Minar, P; Walters, TD; Griffiths, AM; Mack, DR; et al. Journal of Crohn's and Colitis. 2022.

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
BlogRare and Complex Conditions

A Promising Early Research Study for IBD Treatment

By Lee A. Denson, MD4/28/2016

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