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 received congressional authorization for the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse provides public inquiry response services and health information about digestive diseases to people with digestive diseases and to their families, health professionals, and the public.
Research Updates and News
- NIH-funded team uses smartphone data in global study of physical activity
- Pregnancy diet high in refined grains could increase child obesity risk by age 7, NIH study suggests
- An enzyme deficiency contributes to disease symptoms in Prader-Willi syndrome
- Early-life exposures affect infant health
- NIH awards aim to understand molecular changes during physical activity
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
- Autonomic Nervous System: Role in the Regulation of Peripheral Metabolism and Pathophysiology of Metabolic Disease
- NIH Workshop on Biomarkers of Dietary Intake and Exposure: Exploration with Omics Approaches
Strategic Plans & Reports
- NIDDK Recent Advances & Emerging Opportunities 2018
- NIH Nutrition Research Report 2015 & 2016
- NIDDK Recent Advances & Emerging Opportunities 2017
- NIDDK Recent Advances & Emerging Opportunities 2016
- Opportunities & Challenges in Digestive Diseases Research: Recommendations of the National Commission on Digestive Diseases
Provide Access to Research Resources
NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers.View all Research Resources