Gastroenterology Faculty Research Activities

  • John Eisses MD, PhD research focuses on understanding the role of epigenetic modifiers in regulating injury and recovery of the pancreas as it relates to pancreatic disease.
    • His interests reside in the epigenetic regulation of the histone deacetylases (HDACs) in pancreatic recovery after injury, focusing on their action in distinct cell types within the pancreas – specifically pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs). Injury and inflammation activate PSCs resulting in the remodeling of the pancreatic microenvironment.
    • Dr. Eisses postulates that an alteration in the epigenetic landscape during injury and subsequent recovery is necessary for the altered gene regulation at specific transcriptional sites within distinct pancreatic cell types. Epigenetic changes during PSC activation are required to allow ECM remodeling and to generate the necessary regenerative signals that allow pancreatic exocrine recovery. Prolonged injury or aberrant regulation of PSCs has been implicated in the development or promotion of several pancreatic diseases including chronic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Ongoing studies aim to understand the important regulators of this process with an aim at developing therapeutic interventions.
  • James Squires, MD, MS remains active in both clinical and research pursuits. He is a co-investigator in the Children Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReN), an NIH funded consortium working to improve the lives of children with rare cholestatic liver diseases. He is also a member of the Society of Pediatric LIver Transplant (SPLIT), a multifaceted organization focused on improving outcomes for children receiving liver transplantation.
    • Current research interests include metabolic liver disease, acute liver failure, and liver transplant.
    • Dr. Squires is also investigating how learning health networks (LHNs) can improve healthcare for children. He is the clinical lead for the Starzl Network for Excellence in Pediatric Transplantation (SNEPT) and has received funding to investigate how LHNs can achieve better outcomes for children with autoimmune liver disease.
  • 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.
  • Arvind Srinath, MD, MS research focuses on subspecialty medical education, in particular curriculum development, in addition to functional gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Veena Venkat, MD is involved with clinical research studies related to pediatric liver disease and liver transplant outcomes.  She is an active co-investigator in iWITH, a clinical trial of immunosuppression withdrawal in stable pediatric liver transplant recipients.  Her focus has been on the long term graft health, safety outcomes and reversibility of rejection during immunosuppression withdrawal. Her clinical work with the liver transplant program has led to publications in challenging pediatric liver transplant populations including primary sclerosing cholangitis, re-transplantation, and strategies to improve patient adherence to the medical regimen.  Dr. Venkat is a co-investigator in the ChiLDReN (Childhood Liver Disease and Research Network) and has worked collaboratively to further understand the natural history and outcomes of children with cholestatic liver diseases such as biliary atresia and Alagille syndrome.   This collaboration includes her role as site lead in PRIME, A Phase I/IIa Trial of Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) Therapy Following Portoenterostomy in Infants with Biliary Atresia.