Digestive diseases are among the leading causes of doctor visits, hospitalizations, and disability in the United States each year. These conditions span a wide spectrum of disorders that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as obesity and other nutrition-related disorders. Some digestive diseases, such as celiac disease, can be triggered by the body’s reaction to certain foods. Digestive diseases can cause serious complications ranging from severe pain to elevated risk of cancer to liver failure.
NIDDK-supported scientists are investigating the complex interactions among the genetic, environmental, immune, microbial, and other factors that contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases and other digestive disorders. This research, in turn, may lead to improved diagnosis and prevention approaches, and catalyze the design of novel therapeutic strategies.
NIDDK also supports research to better understand the genes that predispose individuals to develop celiac disease, which may improve early diagnosis of the disease, before damage occurs. NIDDK-funded scientists are working on how GI microorganisms influence the development and function of the digestive tract and immune and metabolic functions.
NIDDK, along with other NIH, federal, and non-federal partners, is also continuing efforts to address goals for advancing digestive diseases research in the NIH-led National Commission on Digestive Diseases research plan.
In addition, NIDDK has congressional authorization for the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse responds to questions and provides health information about digestive diseases to people with digestive diseases and to their families, health professionals, and the public.
Research Updates and News
- Story of discovery: discoveries moving towards understanding and personalized treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
- Finding a new home—how good (and bad) bacteria colonize the gut
- Primarily home-based cognitive behavior therapy as effective as standard therapy for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome
- Becoming unglued: how a genetic variant may affect the gut barrier and contribute to inflammatory bowel disease
- Uncovering the Genetic Basis for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
What We Do
To achieve its mission, NIDDK supports, conducts, coordinates, and plans research. NIDDK also provides data and samples from NIDDK-funded studies and explains research findings to health professionals and the public.
NIDDK invests in basic, clinical and translational research and training at colleges, universities and other institutions.
- Acute & Chronic Pancreatitis
- Digestive Diseases Clinical Research & Epidemiology
- Digestive Diseases Genetics & Genomics
- Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers
- Endocrine Pancreas
- Gastrointestinal Immunology, Inflammation, & Inflammatory Diseases
- Gastrointestinal Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Coordinate & Plan Research
NIDDK takes multiple approaches to research planning and priority setting.
Meetings & Workshops
- Precision Medicine in Pancreatic Disease: Knowledge Gaps and Research Opportunities
- Workshop on Metabolic Interactions between Folic Acid Excess and Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Alcoholic and Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis: Pathogenesis and Mechanisms of Liver Injury Joint NIAAA-NIDDK Research Workshop
Strategic Plans & Reports
- NIDDK Recent Advances & Emerging Opportunities 2019
- Opportunities & Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases
- The Burden of Digestive Diseases in the United States
- Action Plan for Liver Disease Research
Provide Access to Research Resources
NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers.View all Research Resources