Research in Pediatric Gastroenterology

Funded gastroenterology research spans a wide range of important areas in both basic science and clinical investigation. Hepatology, both basic and clinical, comprises the most active area of investigation.

  • Andrew Feranchak, M.D., is recognized internationally for his innovative approaches to elucidating the basic mechanisms regulating bile formation and signaling within the liver. More specifically, his laboratory is investigating the basic mechanisms of bile formation and hepatobiliary transport, and the regulatory role of purinergic signaling in biliary secretion and mechanisms of fatty liver disease. Dr. Feranchak’s research is pivotal, since it is very likely that therapeutic interventions for cholestatic liver disease will emerge by targeting the signaling pathways in the liver.
  • Charina Ramirez, M.D., is conducting a novel trial evaluating the effects of specialized diets in the treatment of childhood fatty liver disease. Dr. Ramirez's research focus is on metabolic liver disease, including Niemann-Pick type C and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
  • Norberto Rodriguez-Baez, M.D., is the principal investigator at our site for a national, multicenter, NIH-supported study examining the causes for fulminant hepatic failure in children. Dr. Rodriguez-Baez’s second group of studies involves treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C.

The second general area of active clinical research involves inflammation in the GI tract.

  • Brad Barth, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Therapeutic Endoscopy at Children's, is studying therapeutic interventions for complex childhood hepatobiliary and pancreatic disorders.
  • Edaire Cheng, M.D., is dedicated to investigating the mechanisms underlying eosinophilis esophagitis (EoE) and improving the care of patients with this disease. Dr. Cheng has developed novel cell and mouse models, which are providing new insights into this disease, as well as uncovered the mechanisms of eosinophilic infiltration and tissue remodeling in the esophagus.
  • Ashish Patel, M.D., is the site leader for the multicenter collaborative, known as Improve Care Now. He has been instrumental in the development of a nutritional management algorithm, and is leading treatment trials in patients with IBD.
  • Rina Sanghavi, M.D., an expert in neurogastroenterology, is exploring new therapies for constipation, motility disorders, and aerodigestive disorders in children. Studies are underway exploring the contribution of the intestinal microbiome to GI motility.
  • Luis Sifuentes-Dominguez, M.D., is working to understand the molecular basis of early-onset inflammatory bowel disease with support from Dr. Ezra Burstein in the Department of Internal Medicine's Division of Gastroenterology. Using cutting edge genomic and proteomic approaches, together they have identified novel genes that play a role in early-onset IBD. 
  • David M. Troendle, M.D., is pioneering research in advanced endoscopic training and interventional endoscopic approaches for the treatment of pancreatic disease. He is also evaluating educational and training approaches in advanced therapeutic endoscopy for pediatric practitioners.

Learn more about the research interests for our Division faculty and current fellows.