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Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

RESEARCH





 


Research

The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition is based within the research hub of the University of Pittsburgh.  Its fundamental mission is to discover new information about digestive diseases and share its knowledge with the research and patient communities. Division faculty and staff continually evaluate the critical needs of patients with digestive diseases and utilize all available resources to properly diagnose and provide optimal treatment to each patient. The Division's research priorities promote multidisciplinary collaborations between outstanding scientists who are seeking answers to problems that currently have no answers.

The Division is not a freestanding organization. The strengths of the Division include partnership with the UPMC system, which provides state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and ancillary support. The Division's clinical faculty also collaborate with world-class researchers from other divisions and departments who provide unique and complementary perspectives and abilities. The Division's research faculty are fully integrated into the enormous research enterprise of the University of Pittsburgh. However, the primary goal and strength of the Division is uniting the physicians and scientists to purposefully and systematically tackle the toughest problems inherent in complex digestive diseases.

There are a number of important academic GI divisions throughout the United States, each with different strengths and focuses. The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh has chosen to concentrate on complex chronic disorders that involve gene-environment interactions, inflammation, neural maladaptation, and cancer development. Examples of these disorders include liver inflammation and cirrhosis, acute and chronic pancreatitis, motility, inflammatory bowel diseases, and visceral pain. Our integrated programs systematically study the causes and complications of organ dysfunction including inflammation, fibrosis, organ dysfunction, pain, maldigestion and inadequate nutrient absorption, and cancer predisposition, development, prevention, and early treatment.

The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition maintains one of the largest longitudinal patient databases in the U.S. This extensive epidemiological information is fully supported by the Division's genetic and clinical interest in support precision medicine. That is, medicine personalized to a patient's unique characteristics. The Division's GREAT Study (Genomic Resources to Enhance Available Therapy) combines clinical information with genetic information from 1,000 patients with pancreatic diseases for clues regarding what phenotypic or genomic characteristics lead to specific diseases. Researchers review detailed medical histories, tissue and blood samples, as well as patient self reports and look for patterns within that data. This data can lead to follow up studies designed to develop new types of treatment.