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Faculty Research Activities

David Keljo, MD, PhD, has a longstanding interest in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He currently has a study to evaluate the bone mineral density in pediatric patients’ IBD. It is thought that children with IBD are at risk for developing osteoporosis and its complications. Dr. Keljo is directly testing this impression by measuring bone density and markers of bone absorption in a cohort of newly diagnosed IBD patients over time. Together with this study, Dr. Keljo maintains a clinical registry of patients with IBD. This registry will be helpful in conducting outcomes research in pediatric IBD.

Mark Lowe, MD, PhD, has a longstanding interest in the mechanism behind the digestion of dietary fat. An important focus of his laboratory is defining the role of specific lipases at various ages. Through animal models, Dr. Lowe has demonstrated that a different lipase mediates dietary fat digestion in newborns compared to adults. The lab also studies the relationship between dietary fat digestion and appetite regulation. His laboratory has developed a mouse with a deficiency of procolipase, a pancreatic protein with an important role in both dietary fat digestion and appetite regulation. Finally, his laboratory has recently taken a new direction to understand the pathophysiology of pancreatitis and indomethacin-induced gastric injury. These studies center on a newly described protein, integral transmembrane protein 1 (Itmap1). Using a mouse model of Itmap1 deficiency, Dr. Lowe and his collaborators have shown that Itmap1 protects the mouse from pancreatitis and indomethacin-induced gastric injury. Ongoing studies aim at understanding the biology and function of Itmap1.

David Perlmutter, MD, who holds the Vira I. Heinz Endowed Chair in Pediatrics and is chair of the Department of Pediatrics, works on the pathogenesis of liver injury in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency and on the mechanisms by which cells respond to the accumulation of aggregated proteins. His laboratory uses mouse and cell culture models to investigate the role of the unfolded protein response, autophagy and mitochondrial injury in protecting from or promoting liver injury in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Robert Squires Jr., MD, participates in two multicenter studies to define the epidemiology and outcome of acute liver failure in children and the pathogenesis of biliary atresia. Dr Squires is the principal investigator of the acute liver failure study. He heads the local project in the NIH consortium for biliary atresia.

Eva Szigethy, MD PhD, directs a randomized trial to study effects of cognitive behavioral intervention (CBI) in depressed adolescents with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Depression is known to be a costly co-morbidity in physically ill populations. The early identification and treatment of depressive disorders in children and adolescents with chronic physical illness is an understudied area. Given the significant risk of emotional and physical harm to physically ill adolescents who are depressed, the development and implementation of effective preventive interventions is crucial. Dr. Szigethy’s study examines the effects of a cognitive behavioral intervention in adolescents with IBD and sub-syndromal depression. The early data shows promising effects in improving depressive symptoms and global functioning in adolescents with co-morbid IBD and clinically significant depression.

Last Update
February 20, 2012
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Last Update
February 20, 2012