A photo of Lee A. Denson.

Director, Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Board Certified

My Biography & Research


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.

Clinical Interests

Inflammatory bowel disease; growth failure; celiac disease

Academic Affiliation

Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

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

Research Divisions

Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Blog Posts

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

My Locations

My Education

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.

My Publications

Achieving Target Infliximab Drug Concentrations Improves Blood and Fecal Neutrophil Biomarkers in Crohn's Disease. Colman, RJ; Tsai, YT; Jackson, K; Boyle, BM; Noe, JD; Hyams, JS; D'Haens, GR A M; van Limbergen, J; Rosen, MJ; Denson, LA; et al. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2021; 27:1045-1051.

Deconvolution of monocyte responses in inflammatory bowel disease reveals an IL-1 cytokine network that regulates IL-23 in genetic and acquired IL-10 resistance. Aschenbrenner, D; Quaranta, M; Banerjee, S; Ilott, N; Jansen, J; Steere, B; Chen, YH; Ho, S; Cox, K; Arancibia-Cárcamo, CV; et al. Gut. 2021; 70:1023-1036.

Real-World Infliximab Pharmacokinetic Study Informs an Electronic Health Record-Embedded Dashboard to Guide Precision Dosing in Children with Crohn's Disease. Xiong, Y; Mizuno, T; Colman, R; Hyams, J; Noe, JD; Boyle, B; Tsai, YT; Dong, M; Jackson, K; Punt, N; et al. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2021; 109:1639-1647.

Quality Improvement Methodology Optimizes Infliximab Levels in Pediatric Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Hellmann, J; Etter, RK; Denson, LA; Minar, P; Hill, D; Dykes, DM; Rosen, MJ. Pediatric Quality and Safety. 2021; 6.

DUOX2 variants associate with preclinical disturbances in microbiota-immune homeostasis and increased inflammatory bowel disease risk. Grasberger, H; Magis, AT; Sheng, E; Conomos, MP; Zhang, M; Garzotto, LS; Hou, G; Bishu, S; Nagao-Kitamoto, H; El-Zaatari, M; et al. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2021; 131.

Mucosal Genomics Implicate Lymphocyte Activation and Lipid Metabolism in Refractory Environmental Enteric Dysfunction. Haberman, Y; Iqbal, NT; Ghandikota, S; Mallawaarachchi, I; Tzipi Braun, ; Dexheimer, PJ; Rahman, N; Hadar, R; Sadiq, K; Ahmad, Z; et al. Gastroenterology. 2021; 160:2055-2071.e0.

Clinical and Host Biological Factors Predict Colectomy Risk in Children Newly Diagnosed With Ulcerative Colitis. Hyams, JS; Brimacombe, M; Haberman, Y; Walters, T; Gibson, G; Mo, A; Mack, D; Griffiths, A; Boyle, B; LeLeiko, N; et al. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2021.

Colonic Epithelial-Derived Selenoprotein P Is the Source for Antioxidant-Mediated Protection in Colitis-Associated Cancer. Short, SP; Pilat, JM; Barrett, CW; Reddy, VK; Haberman, Y; Hendren, JR; Marsh, BJ; Keating, CE; Motley, AK; Hill, KE; et al. Gastroenterology. 2021; 160:1694-1708.e3.

Effect of a Practice-wide Anti-TNF Proactive Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Program on Outcomes in Pediatric Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Lyles, JL; Mulgund, AA; Bauman, LE; Su, W; Fei, L; Chona, DL; Sharma, P; Etter, RK; Hellmann, J; Denson, LA; et al. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2021; 27:482-492.

Whole-genome sequencing of African Americans implicates differential genetic architecture in inflammatory bowel disease. Somineni, HK; Nagpal, S; Venkateswaran, S; Cutler, DJ; Okou, DT; Haritunians, T; Simpson, CL; Begum, F; Datta, LW; Quiros, AJ; et al. American Journal of Human Genetics. 2021; 108:431-445.