The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition maintains an active research program that includes bench science and clinical studies.
Barry K. Wershil, MD
Dr. Wershil's research interests include the role of mast cells in GI inflammation and homeostasis. This work involves the use of mouse models to investigate mast cells and mast cell mediators in a variety of inflammatory reactions, including allergic, neurogenic, and immune inflammation. The lab is also interested in the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis, and specifically the mediators that influence the pathology of the esophagus.
List of Dr. Wershil's publications. (Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
Estella M. Alonso, MD
Dr. Alonso is a nationally recognized researcher in medical and psychosocial outcomes in children following liver transplantation. The studies she is involved with seek to identify factors and treatments that are associated with better medical outcomes, quality of life and normal growth and development following the transplant process.
List of Dr. Alonso's publications. (Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
Valeria C. Cohran, MD
Dr. Cohran is currently engaged in laboratory research into intestinal stem cell activation and its role in the adaptive process in the intestine after resection. A large number of patients who have undergone an intestinal resection become dependent on total parenteral nutrition (TPN), which can lead to multiple, potentially fatal complications. Dr. Cohran's research could offer new insight into how to enhance the poorly understood intestinal adaptive process and improve the outcomes for these patients.
List of Dr. Cohran's publications.(Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).Mark H. Fishbein, MD
Dr. Fishbein's research includes many feeding issues such as parental stress in pediatric feeding disorders, family quality of life in pediatric feeding disorders, natural history of silent/chronic aspiration in neurologically intact children, and a survey to determine wheatear the State of Illinois are meeting the needs of infants and children with feeding disorders. Dr. Fishbein is actively participating in a study on NASH (Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in pediatric patients with Dr. Whitington.
List of Dr. Fishbein's publications.(Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
Amir F. Kagalwalla, MD
Dr. Kagalwalla is a pediatric gastroenterologist interested in eosinophilic (allergic) gastrointestinal disorders. His current research projects include the following:
- Dr. Kagalwalla is currently engaged in a multi-center study looking at the natural history and mechanisms by which eosinophilic inflammation in the esophagus of patients with eosinophilic esophagitis leads to tissue remodeling and subepithelial fibrosis in eosinophilic esophagitis.
- Dr. Kagalwalla is also a co-investigator in a multi-center study looking at minimally invasive alternatives to repeat endoscopy with biopsy in the evaluation of esophageal inflammation. In this study he will correlate esophageal inflammatory markers measured by the Enterotest String Test with histological findings identifies on esophageal mucosal biopsies.
List of Dr. Kagalwalla's publications. (Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
Maria T. Greene, MD
Dr. Greene is a pediatric gastroenterologist interested in studying gut immunology and autoimmune liver disease. Her current research projects include the following:
- Dr. Greene is currently conducting research on the evaluation of new serologic testing for celiac disease in collaboration with Dr. O'Gorman, director of the Diagnostic Immunology and Flow Cytometry Laboratories at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
- She is also a principal investigator in a study looking at how common small bowel bacterial overgrowth is present in children with functional disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. Small bowel bacterial overgrowth can be easily treated with antibiotics. The results of this research will help gastroenterologists decide to what extent patients with functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome would benefit from the use of antibiotic therapy.
List of Dr. Greene's publications. (Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
Peter F. Whitington, MD
Dr. Whitington and his lab are involved in translational research utilizing animal and cell-based models and molecular approaches to understand the immune mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of neonatal hemochromatosis and biliary atresia. He is also interested in hepatocyte "survival" cell signaling involved in nutrient sensing and fatty liver disease and in the protective response to cholestasis. In addition, Dr. Whitington's team has recently been included in a nationwide clinical study called the Clinical Research Network in NASH. In this study, the very best centers from around the country are banding together with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to improve the care of people with fatty liver disease. The team is engaged in several consortia with other respected and well-established centers to study other significant childhood liver diseases, including biliary atresia, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and cholestatic liver disease.
List of Dr. Whitington's publications. (Available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed online database).
For more specifics on the research activities being conducted in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, please visit the division page on the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute website.