Maisam A. Abu-El-Haija, MD
Medical Director, Pancreas Care Center
Maisam A. Abu-El-Haija, MD, 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.
Akihiro Asai, MD, PhD
Akihiro Asai, MD, PhD's, goal is to discover a new treatment to treat genetic liver diseases including progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis, bile acid synthesis defects, Zellweger spectrum disorder, Wilson disease, and other rare genetic disorders. The gene mutations of these disorders can cause a liver injury during their developmental stages and result in severe fibrosis. Currently, a liver transplant is the only effective treatment. Because the rodent models do not recapitulate the phenotypes of human genetic liver diseases, they developed novel methods based on the patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The iPSCs are cells in an embryonic status, generated from patient's peripheral mononuclear cells by the “Yamanaka” reprogramming. By mimicking the embryonic niche of the liver bud formation, they have established the unique method to induce effective hepatic differentiation of iPSCs in 3D liver organoids. Further, they demonstrated that the iPSCs become mature hepatocytes when transplanted into immunodeficient mice. To study the molecular biology of the patients’ cells, they have successfully established a method to edit the genome of iPSCs by “knocking-out” the genes related to the liver diseases. These methods allowed them to investigate the molecular mechanism of the cholestatic injury in hepatocytes during the process of human liver development, which has been technically impossible in the past. They will identify molecular pathways to intervene in the progression of the liver injury.
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.
Kathleen M. Campbell, MD
Medical Director, Liver Inpatient Unit
Kathleen M. Campbell, MD, 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.
Conrad R. Cole, MD, MPH, MSc
Medical Director, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Conrad R. Cole, MD, MPH, MSc, 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.
Lee A. Denson, MD
Director, Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
Lee A. Denson, MD, and his research program's goal is to discover mechanisms driving chronic inflammation and mucosal healing in patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Next generation sequencing (NGS) is being used to define the intestinal microbial community and global pattern of gene expression in large prospective pediatric IBD inception cohorts, in order to inform the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics.
Visit the Denson Research Lab.
Michael K. Farrell, MD
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.
Chandrashekhar R. Gandhi, MSc, PhD
The Gandhi laboratory investigates the mechanisms of acute liver injury of various etiologies and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The goals of these programs are (1) to identify mechanisms by which stellate cells orchestrate inflammatory or immune cell-mediated liver damage, and (2) to discover mechanistic link between augmenter of liver regeneration protein deficiency/anomaly and predisposition to develop aggressive form of NASH.
Visit the Gandhi Research Lab.
Yael Haberman Ziv, MD, PhD
Yael Haberman Ziv, MD, PhD, uses state-of-the-art sequencing approaches and patients samples to detect the widest range of microbial shifts and changes in host gene expression possible, present in the actual lining of the gut. These analyses are used to better characterize inflammatory bowel disease phenotype and pathogenesis with an ultimate goal to identify key disease driving pathways for future interventions.
Xiaonan Han, PhD
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.
James E. Heubi, MD
Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training
James E. Heubi, MD, has a longstanding interest in pediatric cholestatic liver disease including inborn errors of bile acid metabolism. His research has focused on bile acid and cholesterol absorption and metabolism and fat absorption.
Ajay Kaul, MD
Director, Neurogastroenterology and Motility Disorders Center
Ajay Kaul, MD, 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.
Samuel A. Kocoshis, MD
Medical Director, Intestinal Care Center
Samuel A. Kocoshis, MD, 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.
Daniel Mallon, MD, MSHPEd
Assistant Program Director, Pediatric Residency Training Program
Daniel Mallon investigates best practices in education to support primary-specialty care collaboration and quality improvement. He also conducts Quality Improvement work to improve the care of children with celiac disease, especially those who also have type 1 diabetes.
Marialena Mouzaki, MD, MSc
Medical Director, Advanced Nutrition Services
Marialena Mouzaki, MD, MSc, investigates the role of the intestinal microbiota in the development of pediatric non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, she conducts clinical research in the field of pediatric nutrition.
Joseph J. Palermo, MD, PhD
Director, Gastroenterology Center of Excellence
Joseph J. Palermo, MD, PhD, 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.
Scott P. Pentiuk, MD, MEd
Director, GI Fellowship Program
Scott P. Pentiuk, MD, MEd, 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.
Anna L. Peters, MD, PhD
Anna L. Peters, MD PhD, investigates cellular and molecular mechanisms of pediatric liver transplant rejection. The goal of her research is to provide new insights into the pathogenesis of liver transplant rejection in order to develop better predictors of transplant rejection and response to therapies as well as targeted anti-rejection therapies to promote long term liver transplant recipient and allograft health.
Philip E. Putnam, MD
Director, Endoscopy Services
Philip E. Putnam, MD, 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.
Michael J. Rosen, MD, MSCI
Medical Director, Schubert-Martin Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
Michael J. Rosen, MD, MSCI, investigates the role of mucosal type 2 immune response in the pathogenesis of pediatric ulcerative colitis and the interaction between type 2 cytokines and the intestinal epithelium. Dr. Rosen also studies determinants of response to anti-TNF therapy in children with acute severe ulcerative colitis.
Pranavkumar Shivakumar, PhD
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.
Kelli L. VanDussen, PhD
Dr. VanDussen investigates intestinal epithelial cell function in health and disease, with a particular focus on inflammatory bowel disease. At the mucosal interface, intestinal epithelial cells directly interact with environmental factors (e.g., bacteria, dietary components) and host factors (e.g., cytokines, hormones). Defects in intestinal epithelial cell function are widely thought to contribute to inflammatory bowel disease pathogenesis, but these defects need to be better defined in order to support the development of therapeutic approaches. The VanDussen lab uses a highly translational research approach, including mouse models, mouse and human primary epithelial cell culture, and analysis of human clinical specimens and data to investigate intestinal epithelial cell interactions. A major research focus is to determine the environmental and/or host-derived factors that drive Crohn’s disease-associated defects in the microvilli of intestinal epithelial cells and an associated gene signature.
David S. Vitale, MD
Attending Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition; Pancreas Care Center
David S. Vitale, MD, has a focus in clinical research of pancreaticobiliary disease, along with therapeutic and advanced endoscopic techniques in children. The goal of his research is assessing feasibility, safety and outcomes of children undergoing advanced endoscopic procedures such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). He has an additional research focus on the clinical presentation, risk stratification and care for children with acute recurrent and chronic pancreatitis.
Cynthia C. Wetzel, PhD
Manager, Digestive Health Center
Cynthia C. Wetzel, PhD, is the 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.
Stavra A. Xanthakos, MD, MS
Director, Steatohepatitis Center
Stavra A. Xanthakos, MD, MS, 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.