Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Research
Taking a look at the research initiatives of the University of Louisville Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition.
Digestive health issues involve highly significant health conditions such as GI cancer, Hepatitis C, liver cancer, pancreatitis, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (associated with obesity), inflammatory bowel disease, swallowing disorders, GERD, obesity, eating disorders, and a host of other conditions.
There are approximately 4 million Americans with Hepatitis C. Over 25% of adult Americans have abnormal liver enzymes with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease associated with obesity. Most importantly, a growing number of children also have abnormal liver enzymes related to obesity. Alcoholic steatohepatitis has a higher mortality rate than many cancers, including breast and prostate cancers. Colon cancer is a leading cause of death in America. Many of our major diseases are now thought to result from genetic background, environmental factors, and dietary nutrients.
The Division has a highly interactive basic/clinical/translational research program with approximately $6 million in federal research support this year. Division faculty also conduct internal pilot grants and sponsored clinical trials.
► Liver Disease
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Dr. Craig McClain, Dr. Luis Marsano, Dr. Anthony Martin, Dr. Daniell Hill, Dr. Matthew Cave, Dr. Ashutosh Barve, Dr. Richard Redinger, Dr. Robert Tatum, Dr. Shirish Barve, Dr. Swati Joshi-Barve, Dr. Leila Gobejishvili, Dr. Wenke Feng, and Dr. Walter Watson are our liver disease experts focusing on alcoholic liver disease, NASH, viral liver diseases, toxicant-mediated liver disease.
We are home to the NIH-funded University of Louisville Alcohol Research Center (ULARC) which focuses on alcohol-nutrition-environment interactions in the development of alcohol-induced organ injury and potential nutrition-based prevention/intervention.No other existing NIH-funded alcohol center has a research theme relating to nutrition.
► Inflammatory Bowel Disease
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Dr. Dryden conducts NIH-funded research on the effects of green tea polyphenols in the treatment of IBD and has extensive clinical trials in IBD.
We are home to a rodent endoscopy center, one of only a few such facilities in the country, which represents a breakthrough in the conduct of animal (rodent) experiments.
The effects of various therapy’s can be determined without killing the animal, thus making the trial more efficient and humane.
► Swallowing and Motility Center
Dr. John Wo directs the Swallowing and Motility Center, studying patients with GI motility problems. He collaborates with Dr. Cacchione (University Surgical Associates) on gastroparesis patients needing gastric stimulators.
Our nutrition experts are Dr. Stephen McClave, Dr. Craig McClain, Dr. Anthony Martin, Dr. Luis Marsano, Dr. Matthew Cave, Dr. Kristine Krueger, Dr. Wenke Feng, and Dr. Walter Watson. We have Nutrition programs at three different hospitals.
Dr. McClave (Immediate Past President, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) is director at the University of Louisville. Dr. McClain is director at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Marsano is director at Jewish Hospital. Drs. McClain, Marsano and Martin are boarded in Nutrition.
These investigators are leaders in nutrition research in liver disease, pancreatic disease, obesity, and complementary and alternative medicine.
► Pancreatic Diseases
Dr. Kristine Krueger, Dr. Stephen McClave, Dr. Dipendra Parajuli lead our pancreatic program.
Dr. McClave is part of an NIH multicenter trial evaluating early enteral feeding in acute pancreatitis.
► Gastrointestinal Cancer
Dr. Ashutosh Barve, Dr. Shirish Barve, Dr. Gerald Dryden, and Dr. Kristine Krueger are experts in gastrointestinal cancer. We have animal models for many types of cancer.
Dr. Ashutosh Barve conducts trials and directs a Hepatocellular Carcinoma clinic at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
► Rubbertown Project
This program is led by Dr. Craig McClain. It was initiated 35 years ago by the late Dr. Carlo Tamburro when it was noted that several workers exposed to vinyl chloride had hepatic hemangiosarcoma, a rare and rapidly fatal liver cancer.
Our database contains the largest cluster of hemangiosarcoma patients in the world, and includes medical information, demographic data, and blood/liver biopsy specimens. This information has led to recognition of other disease conditions.
► Toxicant-Associated Steatohepatitis (TASH)
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Dr. Matthew Cave has described this newly recognized liver disease in the group of exposed workers from the Rubbertown Project.
He is actively collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency to elucidate the role of environmental chemicals in liver diseases.