I practice pediatric gastroenterology for children, adolescents and young adults with a special focus on those who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Our goal is to personalize IBD care and prioritize building a strong relationship with the patient and family, which includes explaining the next steps in a way that all will understand. We also strive to be very responsive to the needs of the patient and their family. I factor in how the care model will affect the patient and family and offer a positive outlook to care. My nurse team and I lead by example — we love our jobs and want our patients to see that they can have hope, even when it doesn't seem possible with a chronic illness.
The primary focus of my research is to discover novel biomarkers specific for intestinal inflammation. My colleagues and I want to develop better tools using the latest technology and research to personalize care delivery to patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and prevent future disease-related complications.
With our previous biomarker projects, we have discovered and validated a sensitive and specific pharmacodynamic biomarker, neutrophil CD64, to objectively monitor for gut ulcerations in patients diagnosed with IBD. This biomarker is routinely used for clinical care at our center. Additionally, we have grant support to evaluate protein biomarkers in anti-TNF non-responders to better identify which patients will respond to this type of therapy.
Personally, although growing up in a family with 12 children was a wonderful experience, I am very grateful and “busy enough” keeping up with my family of four kids. Lately, I have been enjoying my Peloton bike, walks with the family, playing sports in the backyard and vacationing on a beach anywhere. I also enjoy the challenges of adventure hikes and outdoor camping, as well as coaching my kids’ sports teams. I have slowly learned to appreciate the beauty of soccer!
Pediatric gastroenterology; biomarkers of treatment response and disease severity in inflammatory bowel disease.
Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics