Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

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photo Stephen J.D. O'Keefe, MBBS, MD, MSc


Phone: 412-648-7217

Office: Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition- 200 Lothrop St
UPMC Presbyterian Hospital/ 853 Scaife Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-648-7217
Fax: 412-383-8913
Education and Training
MB BS, Guy's Hospital Medical School, London, England, 1972
MRCS and LRCP, Royal College of Physicians, London, England, 1972
MSc, London University, 1974
MD (by thesis, equivalent to PhD), London University, 1981
Fellowship, Intern. Med. & Nutrition, Harvard Medical School, 1978
Gatroenterology and Hepatology, King's College, London University, 1980
Research Interest
Research areas: Nutrition and disease; nutritional gastroenterology; nutrition, the microbiome and cancer, acute pancreatitis; intestinal rehabilitation and transplantation; nutritional support. Dr. O’Keefe explores the field of nutritional gastroenterology by conducting translational research into the physiological and pathophysiological responses to dietary intake and interventional feeding. He has been awarded NIH R01 grant support for his studies on the physiological effects of feeding on pancreatic enzyme synthesis in humans with and w/o disease, optimal feeding in patients with severe acute pancreatitis, and most recently the role of diet, the microbiome and its metabolites in determining colon cancer risk in extreme risk Alaska Native People, high risk African Americans (AA), and minimal risk rural South Africans (NA). His pivotal study in Nature Communications showed that switching the diets of AA and NA led to profound changes in the microbiome associated with reciprocal changes in their colonic mucosal biomarkers of cancer risk within 2 weeks, supporting the contention that colon cancer can be prevented by a high fiber, low meat and fat diet.
Clinical Interest
Dr O'Keefe's clinical interests are linked to his research interests. He has 40 years experience in nutritional gastroenterology, stimulated by his unique combination of postgraduate degrees in Medicine and Human Nutrition. His theses were in the measurement of the in vivo protein metabolic response in humans by isotope labeling techniques, which though the course of time, were applied to the measurement of protein turnover in a variety of GI diseases, e.g. surgical stress, liver failure, acute and chronic pancreatitis, the short bowel syndrome and intestinal transplantation. These measurements were repeated after nutritional interventional techniques, i.e. enteral and parenteral feeding, to better design nutritional support techniques for malnourished hospitalized patients with these conditions. Dr O'Keefe has played a leadership role in the nutritional support of hospitalized patients, patients with intestinal failure dependent on home IV and enteral feeding, and patients following small bowel transplantation at UPMC. His research into the etiology of colon cancer has added the clinical interest of improving patients diets to prevent colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
Educational Interest
Dr O'Keefe's education effort is focused at the advanced postgraduate and specialist levels, with a focus on international efforts and health disparities. First, the training doctorate and postgraduate students, medical students, and GI fellows. Secondly, his services are in high demand nationally and internationally for lecturing specialists in the areas of nutrition, nutrition support, and more recently, diet and GI cancer. He spent 4 years as vice Chair, and then Chair of the American Gastroenterology Association's Nutrition Section, where his responsibilities were to design educational programs for practicing and academic gastroenterologists, and GI trainees. Working in Africa, he founded the first African Society for Clinical Nutrition - the South African Society of Enteral and Parenteral Nutrition and served subsequently as President. He has served on educational and symposium organization committees for the equivalent American and European Societies, as well as for Experimental Biology (ASN, ASBMB)and the American Association for Cancer Research.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
O'Keefe, S.J., Li, J.V., Lahti, L., Ou, J., Carbonero, F., Mohammed, K., Posma, J.M., Kinross, J., Wahl, E., Ruder, E., Vipperla, K., Naidoo, V., Mtshali, L., Tims, S., Puylaert, P,G,, DeLany, J., Krasinskas, A., Benefiel, A.C., Kaseb, H.O., Newton, K. Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans. Nature Communications. 2015; 6: 6342.
O'Keefe SJ. Diet, microorganisms and their metabolites, and colon cancer. Nature Reviews. 2016; 13(12): 691-706.
Ou, J., Carbonero, F., Zoetendal, E.G., DeLany, J.P., Wang, M., Newton, K., Gaskins, H.R., O'Keefe, S.J. Diet, microbiota, and microbial metabolites in colon cancer risk in rural Africans and African Americans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013; 98(1): 111-20.
Ou, J., DeLany, J.P., Zhang, M., Sharma, S., O'Keefe, S.J. Association between low colonic short-chain fatty acids and high bile acids in high colon cancer risk populations. Nutrition and Cancer. 2012; 64(1): 34-40.
O'Keefe, S.J., Ou, J., Delany, J.P., Curry, S., Zoetendal, E., Gaskins, H.R., Gunn, S. Effect of fiber supplementation on the microbiota in critically ill patients. World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology. 2011; 2(6): 138-45.
O'Keefe, S.J., El Hajj II, Wu, T., Martin, D., Mohammed, K., Abu-Elmagd, K. Endoscopic evaluation of small intestine transplant grafts. Transplantation. 2012; 94(7): 757-62.
Vipperla, K., O'Keefe S.J. Targeted therapy of short-bowel syndrome with teduglutide: the new kid on the block. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology. 2014; 7: 489-95.
Sponsored Research/Activities
Title: Diet and Gastrointestinal Cancer Risk in African Americans and Rural Africans
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute
Grant Number: R01 CA135379
Start Year: 2009
End Year: 2014
Title: Pancreatic Enzyme Supplements to Restore Digestive Function in Malnourished Gastric-Bypass Patients
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Solvay Pharmaceuticals
Grant Number: DRUG
Start Year: 2007
End Year: 2013
Notable Achievements
NCI-NIH Study Sections (special interest groups and programs), 2003 - Present
VC & Chair, Nutrition & Obesity Section, American Gastroenterology Association, 2003 - 2007
South African Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (Founder and First Chairman) 1985 and 1986-1987, 1985 - 1987
Editorial Board Gastroenterology Research and Practice, 2013 - Present
External Advisory Committee, Division of Nutritional Sciences, UIUC, 2015-present
Panel Member of Biology & Medicine Panel, Hong Kong Research Grants Council 2015-8, 2014-2016
Associate Editor: Frontiers in Gastroenterology Physiology and Science, 2010 - Present
Assistant Editor-in-Chief: World Journal of Gastroenterology, 2011 - Present
The Leist Visiting Professorship, Mayo Clinic, Nutrition and the Quality of Life following Small, 2006
Governor’s Award for the Best Scientific Paper, American College of Gastroenterology 2000, 2000