Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Welcome to the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. Our mission is to provide high quality clinical care, superior education for trainees and postgraduate physicians, to conduct research with scientific rigor, to publish our findings in high impact medical journals and present at scientific meetings, and participate in the academic goals of the Department of Medicine. We offer excellence in medical care for the spectrum of gastrointestinal and liver diseases, and we are committed to diversity in education, patient care and research.

We continually strive for excellence and to maintain our standing as a highly successful and respected educational institution.

UofL GI experts at the forefront of research into vinyl chloride health issues

Since the 1970s, UofL faculty, including liver specialists Drs. Matthew Cave and Craig McClain, have been working on environmental exposures and liver disease. They identified a form of liver disease, Toxicant Associated Steatohepatitis (TASH), from those samples. Thus, this has been a very important ongoing project between workers, industry and UofL.

This community-identified and joint research/surveillance program with UofL has thrust the university to the forefront nationally in this important emerging area of environmental health. The importance of vinyl chloride is still relevant, as shown from the recent train derailment and vinyl chloride spill in East Palestine, OH. Importantly, grants such as the Hepatobiology & Toxicology COBRE and the Superfund serve as core resources to the country for disasters such as this.


Prevention & Therapies for Hepatitis and Chronic Liver Disease Seminar

Saturday, March 4, 2023 - Clinical & Translational Research Building

This conference will focus on improving outcomes of patients with severe liver disease. Featured expert speakers include Drs. Craig McClain, Ashutosh Barve, Matthew Cave, and Loretta Jophlin.

CME credit is available.

Luis Marsano GI Teaching Award

We take pride in our teaching efforts. Dr. Luis Marsano won the GI Teaching Award so many times that we named the award after him. He has also been honored by his home medical school, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru, for Lifetime Teaching Excellence. Dr. Ashutosh Barve is the 2021 recipient, while Drs. Endashaw Omer and Dipendra Parajuli are recent winners.

Luis Marsano
Dr. Luis Marsano
Ashutosh Barve
Dr. Ashutosh Barve
Endashaw Omer
Dr. Endashaw Omer
Dipendra Parajuli
Dr. Dipendra Parajuli


  • Banrida WahlangCongratulations to Dr. Banrida Wahlang, who is a new junior faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. She has been awarded an NIH NIEHS K01 award to support a 3-year period of intensive, mentored research and career development under the guidance and support of a mentoring team led by Dr. Matt Cave. Her topic is "Evaluating mechanisms of sex differences in environmentally-induced metabolic diseases." This is an important topic and one that has not been previously addressed. Dr. Wahlang received her Ph.D. at UofL in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology. She joins two other GI faculty members with NIH K-awards. Congratulations to Dr. Wahlang!
  • Josiah HardestyJosiah Hardesty, Ph.D., is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. He has been awarded and NIH NIAAA MOSIAC K99/R00 to support a period of intensive, mentored research and career development under the guidance and support of Drs. Irina Kirpich and Craig McClain, as well as scientists from MUSC and Duke. This type of K-award supports mentored research while still a post-doctoral fellow and then transitions to R00 funding as a new faculty member. His topic is "Restoration and preservation of hepatic cardiolipin levels promotes liver regeneration in alcohol-associated hepatitis." Dr. Hardesty received his Ph.D. from UofL in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology. This NIH K-award is the first MOSIAC award at UofL. It is highly competitive and is designed to build a diverse research faculty. Dr. Hardesty's award is the fourth active K-award in the GI Division. Congratulations to Dr. Hardesty.
  • Shirish BarveCongratulations to Shirish Barve, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine in the Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Division and Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology for being honored with the 2022 Grand Challenges Award in Advancing our Health! Dr. Barve is an internationally recognized expert in alcohol, HIV, and aging. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the University of Kentucky and did a post-doctoral fellowship in Molecular Immunology at UK. He received his first NIH funding with a K-21 award on Alcohol, Immunomodulation and AIDS in 1999.  He has had continuous NIH funding since that time. He is a Distinguished University Scholar at UofL. His current research focus is on the gut:liver:brain axis in alcohol-induced organ injury. He is currently funded from the NIH on multiple grants, selected ones include being PI/M-PI on an R01, two P01s and two U01s.
  • Kristine KruegerKristine Krueger, M.D., was awarded the Dean's Distinguished Faculty Award in Service. She has been dedicated to the University of Louisville School of Medicine since she joined the faculty in 2000.  She has served in many capacities—Chief of Staff of ULH, Interim Chair of Medicine, Assistant Dean for Administration, and Chief of Academic and Clinical Affairs for the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, to name only a few.  In each of these roles, Dr. Krueger has represented UofL, the School of Medicine, and the Division with great dignity and honor.
  • Loretta JophlinLoretta Jophlin, M.D., Ph.D., is a new junior faculty member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. She has been awarded an NIH NIDOK K08 award to support a five-year period of intensive, mentored research and career development under the guidance and support of Drs. Craig McClain and Matt Cave. Her research focuses on characterizing interactions between the cellular cytoskeleton and liver fat storage compartments (lipid droplets) as well as understanding human genetic polymorphisms in lipid droplet proteins predisposing to fatty liver disease. The overarching goal of her research is to mechanically deplete fat from hepatic lipid droplets as a novel therapeutic approach to treat fatty liver disease and salvage over-steatotic donor livers for use in transplant.
  • Vatsalya VatsalyaVatsalya Vatsalya, M.D., Pg.D., M.Sc., MS, is a new junior faculty in the Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition. He has been awarded an NIH NIAAA K23 grant which is a mentored clinical grant for 5 years to study Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) intervention using probiotics which will investigate a novel therapeutic mechanism involving the gut:liver:brain axis. This will be a first treatment trial in the field of AUD to use gut:liver:brain axis as a treatment pathway while simultaneously treating the comorbid alcohol-associated liver injury. He will conduct this clinical trial at the University of Louisville, and the Robley Rex Louisville VA Medical Center. His primary mentor for this grant will be Dr. Craig J. McClain.
  • Craig McClainCraig McClain, M.D., was awarded the University of Louisville 2021 Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creative Activity in Career Achievement. Dr. McClain has made many seminal observations in liver injury/liver disease, including increased pro-inflammatory cytokine production in patients with alcohol-associated liver disease; the harmful effects of chronic alcohol consumption and excess Tylenol consumption; the deleterious effects of n-6 polyunsaturated fats in ALD; the importance of gut dysbiosis in liver diseases; and many others. He has been continuously federally funded as PI for his research since 1977.

Center Grant Renewals 2021

McClain COBRE grant renewal 2021The University of Louisville has received a large National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant ($11,356,981) to renew the NIH-funded Hepatobiology and Toxicology Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (H&T COBRE) for another five years. This center is a unique thematic center focused on liver injury/disease and toxicology. This grant funds large research projects for four junior faculty investigators as well as pilot projects and core laboratory facilities Two of the major projects are examining aspects of liver cancer, another project studies non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and the fourth investigates alcohol associated liver disease. The H&T COBRE brings together experienced senior mentors/investigators and promising junior investigators to perform cross-cutting research on the unique topics of Hepatobiology and Toxicology. We address critical barriers in our understanding of the development progression of liver disease and we define targets for prevention/treatment that could transform clinical practice. During the first five years of this grant, four of the funded mentored junior investigators received independent NIH research funding and more than $75M in total new grant funding was received by H&T COBRE members. Thus, this program has been highly successful and will continue to be with the renewal grant.

The University of Louisville Alcohol Research Center (ULARC) has been renewed for another five-year cycle. Funded by the NIH, the ULARC was created to serve as a regional/national resource to foster interdisciplinary collaborative research on the role of nutrition as a co-factor in alcohol induced organ injury and as a possible therapeutic intervention to prevent and treat this organ injury. Both of these aspects of the interactions of nutrition and alcohol represent important unmet research needs. The theme of the center is unique among alcohol centers: the role of nutrition in the development/progression and prevention/treatment of alcohol-induced organ injury Importantly, almost all subjects with alcohol use disorder (AUD) have alterations in nutrition, especially those with alcohol-induced organ injury. Nutrition impacts critical aspects of organ dysfunction ranging from intestinal barrier dysfunction to epigenetics. We explore interactions of nutrition and alcohol abuse in the development of alcohol-induced organ dysfunction, and we evaluate diverse potential nutritional preventive/therapeutic interventions. Indeed, a major goal of the ULARC is prevention/treatment of alcohol-induced organ injury with nutritional agents and products (novel probiotics, edible exosomes, and specific lipids are only some of the agents used by the ULARC investigators).

Martin and Jill Meisenheimer Gastroenterology Fellows' Education Fund

2021 GI Meisenheimer FellowsDr. Martin Meisenheimer, a 1971 graduate of UofL School of Medicine and gastroenterologist, and his wife Jill made a generous donation to the GI Fellowship Program.

Dr. Meisenheimer is an enthusiastic UofL Cardinal fan, and this gift to help support the fellowship program is greatly appreciated.

The first five Meisenheimer GI Fellows recently graduated and are pictured at right with their commemorative Louisville Slugger bats.

We continue to strive to bring previous fellows and alumni such as Dr. Meisenheimer into the GI "fold" and will be working to communicate with alumni on educational endeavors and how to link with UofL.

Our website is a major source of patient care, educational, and social information.

We are committed to improving the understanding of disease states from bench to bedside. Our internationally-renowned faculty maintain a commitment to teaching students, residents, and fellows, and developing the next generation of outstanding gastroenterologists.

Latest News

  • Congratulations to the Research!Louisville 2022 winners from the GI Division!!  The Department of Medicine had eight winners and five of them were from GI. They are:

    Master's Basic Science Graduate Student Award
    •    1st Place: Caitlin Wilkerson - "Alcohol Activates Dgat2 through Alpha-4 Nicotinic Cholinergic Receptors in Hepatocytes"
    Mentor: Walter "Bert" Watson, Ph.D.
    •    2nd Place: Oluwanifemi Esther Bolatimi - "Differential Scanning Calorimetry as a Complementary Diagnostic Tool for Frailty Assessment"
    Mentor: Matthew Cave, M.D.

    Doctoral Basic Science Graduate Student Award
    •    1st Place: Jeffrey Warner - "Bacterial Epoxide Hydrolase Gene Markers are Elevated in Human Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease"
    Mentor: Irina Kirpich, Ph.D.

    School of Medicine Clinical Research Fellow Award
    •    Winner: Sally Condon, M.D. - "ALT Poorly Predicts NAFLD and Fibrosis as shown by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2017-2018 FibroScan Data"

    NCI Cancer Education Program Norbert J. Burzynski Award Undergraduate Student Category
    •    3rd Place: Bana Luulay - "Sex-Dependent Effects Of Vinyl Chloride, A Chemical Carcinogen, On The Hepatic Transcriptome"
    Mentor: Banrida Wahlang, Ph.D.
  • Dr. Richard Redinger, former GI chief and Chair of the UofL Department of Medicine, passes away (10/20/21)
  • Dr. Matthew Cave featured in the cover article of the October 2021 edition of "NIH News In Health" (10/7/21)


UofL receives $11.3 million grant for liver research center


McClain, Kirpich feature UofL's Alcohol Research Center


Abell discusses motility on KET's "Kentucky Health"


UofL Hospital opens new center to treat hepatitis C

Dr. Ashutosh Barve will serve as medical director of UofL Hospital's new hepatitis C clinic.


Cave earns $4 million NIEHS grant

Dr. Matthew Cave is awarded $4.01 million over eight years by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a part of the National Institutes of Health, to explore the long-term effects of environmental chemicals on the liver.


McClain, UofL open NIH-designated Alcohol Research Center

Dr. Craig McClain and his team received a nearly $8 million grant from the NIH that designates them as an NIAAA Alcohol Research Center, one of only 20 in the nation.