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Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers

Bringing together basic and clinical investigators to enhance the impact of their digestive and/or liver diseases research.

NIDDK Program Staff

  • Peter Perrin, Ph.D. Gastrointestinal Host-Microbial Interactions, Basic Mucosal Immunology and Inflammation

Funding for Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers (DDRCC)

NIDDK funds Digestive Diseases Centers via P30. Please see the DDRCC Application Resources for required tables and addition documentation.

View the DDRCC current schedule of review for funded centers.

Resources and Services Available from Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers

Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers generate investigative resources that can be made available to the broader research community. Centers also often support pilot and feasibility programs that fund small grants to generate preliminary data to include in larger grant applications and offer enrichment activities.  

Information about Digestive Disease Research Center Sites

The NIDDK aims to integrate, coordinate, and foster interdisciplinary cooperation between groups of established investigators that conduct high-quality research on digestive and/or liver diseases. An existing base of outstanding digestive and/or liver disease-related research is a prerequisite for the establishment of a Center. Research in these Centers focuses on the etiology, treatment, and prevention of digestive and/or liver diseases. Each Digestive Diseases Research Core Center has its own individual theme, which reflects the research projects and interests of the Investigators constituting its membership. A Center’s theme serves to focus its activities to meet the needs of its members and facilitate a defined area of NIDDK-related digestive or liver diseases science. Further information about the Centers can be found on the individual centers’ websites.

Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Research Aims: The scientific focus of the Center revolves host-environmental interactions in digestive and liver disease research from bench to bedside. Research amongst Center Investigators includes the molecular regulation of cellular processes in the digestive tract and liver, how they are integrated with the immune system, and their responses to environmental exposures such as diet and the microbiota. The Center is divided into three thematic areas: Intestinal Biology, Liver Biology, and Microbiology/Immunology. Center resources include four scientific cores to support research in both model systems and human subjects, a pilot project program, weekly seminar series, an annual retreat, and various enrichment programs.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Molecular Pathology & Imaging Core (MPIC)
      • Host-Microbial Analytic and Repository Core (H-MARC)
      • Genetically-modified Mouse Core (GMMC)
      • Biomedical Data Sciences Core (BDSC)
    • Pilot & Feasibility Project
      • Encompasses molecular studies on the biology or disease of the digestive tract and liver.
Center for the Study of IBD (Massachusetts General Hospital)
  • Research Aims: CSIBD has advanced the understanding of inflammatory bowel disease through the study of relevant basic biological processes and the directed study of the diseases themselves.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Human Genetics and Microbiome Core
      • Morphology Core
      • Clinical Core
      • Immunology Core
      • Genetic Animal Models Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Young investigators (senior fellows* or junior faculty) working in areas that will improve our understanding of basic processes relevant to inflammatory bowel disease
      • Established investigators initiating a new area of research in their laboratories relevant to mechanisms underlying inflammatory bowel disease
Cincinnati Digestive Health Center (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center)
  • Research Aims: Fosters pediatric digestive disease research and strives to make significant discoveries to restore digestive health.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Gene Analysis Core
      • Integrative Morphology Core
      • Pluripotent Stem Cell and Organoid Core
      • Clinical Component
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Applications will be considered in all areas of digestive disease research with particular emphasis on the following Digestive Health Center (DHC) focus areas:
      • Liver Disease and Modeling
      • Digestive Disease and Immunity
      • Digestive Disease and Obesity
      • Translational Embryology (as it relates to digestive organs)
Cleveland Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (Case Western Reserve University)
  • Research Aims: Cross-institutional and multi-disciplinary program between Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center (UHCMC), the Cleveland Clinic (CCF), and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center (LSVAMC). The center’s two major themes are digestive inflammation and intestinal tumorigenesis, both of which represent well-established areas of collaborative investigation at CWRU.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Biorepository Core
      • Histology/Imaging Core
      • Mouse Models Core
      • Clinical Component
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Promote the development of independent research programs of junior investigators with an interest in digestive disease research by providing pilot resources;
      • Develop new research initiatives that will lead to competitive grant applications; and
      • Attract talented, established investigators in other fields to apply their research skills and expertise to digestive disease-related investigations.
Gastrointestinal Hormone Research Core Center (University of Michigan)
  • Research Aims: Investigate signal transduction mechanisms regulating homeostasis and GI disorders. Our approach includes studies on genetics and gene regulation, cellular signaling pathways, receptors,and ion channels.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Protein Localization, Identification, and Folding Core
      • In Vivo Animal and Human Studies Core
      • Molecular Biology Core
      • Microbiome and Metabolomics Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
Harvard Digestive Diseases Center (Harvard University)
  • Research Aims: The Harvard Digestive Disease Center (HDDC) is a community of scientists focused on understanding the cellular, immune, and microbial biology of mucosal surfaces lining the alimentary tract: this is the Center’s Theme. We aim to elucidate the integrated cell and molecular biology of the epithelial, immune, neuronal, mesenchymal, and microbial cell types that comprise the complex ecosystem of the gut.

    Our work has impact on the inflammatory and non-inflammatory diseases of the stomach, intestine, and colon; on basic tissue and organ physiology; and on the gut microbiome and its interface with the host including effects on metabolism.

    The HDDC includes scientists in 4 major areas of research that are basic to understanding the mechanisms of normal digestive tract function and the pathogenesis of disease:

    • Cell, Developmental, and Stem Cell Biology of the Alimentary Tract
    • Innate and Adaptive Mucosal Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis
    • Gut Microbiology and Metabolism
    • Clinical and Translational Research on the Alimentary Tract
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Core B: Microscopy and Histopathology Core
      • Core C: Epithelial Cell Biology and Mucosal Immunology Core
      • Core D: Gnotobiotic, Microbiology, and Metagenomics Core
      • Clinical and Translational Research Program
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The HDDC is focused on the study of epithelial cell function and mucosal biology in inflammation, host defense, and cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and related mucosal surfaces. Pilot & Feasibility projects will be considered for support if they relate directly or indirectly to this mission.
Hopkins Conte Digestive Diseases Basic & Translational Research Core Center (Johns Hopkins Medical Institution)
  • Research Aims: Research theme:
    • Regulation of Epithelial Function, especially via changes in signal transduction, trafficking, and development. 
    • The major areas being studied include:
      1. Epithelial Transporter Function and Regulation, including trafficking, protein-protein interactions, and bioinformatics.
      2. Inflammation, fibrosis, and cancer development, including infectious diarrheal diseases, inflammatory bowel diseases, fatty liver, alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, obesity, eosinophilic esophagitis, and pancreatitis.
      3. Epigenetic Aspects of GI Cancer.
  • Activities & Services
Mayo Clinic Center for Cell Signaling in Gastroenterology (Mayo Clinic)
  • Research Aims: The mission of the Center is to provide a facilitative infrastructure that supports meaningful interactions among multidisciplinary scientists investigating cell signaling mechanisms in gastrointestinal cells and therapeutically exploiting these pathways to improve the health of patients with digestive diseases.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Clinical Core
      • Epigenomics Core
      • Optical Microscopy and Microfluidics Core
      • Pilot & Feasibility Program
        • Supports both new investigators just beginning their careers in digestive diseases research and innovative research proposals from experienced investigators who plan to change their area of research to digestive diseases.
MUSC Digestive Disease Research Core Center (Medical University of South Carolina)
  • Research Aims: The mission of the Medical University of South Carolina Digestive Disease Research Core Center (MUSC DDRCC) is to enhance research infrastructure and expand research capacity to enable outstanding, collaborative biomedical research in digestive and liver diseases.
  • Activities & Services
  •  Pilot & Feasibility Program
    • Through Pilot and Feasibility project funding, attract and support junior investigators into the field. The P & F project additionally is expected to attract those who are not currently involved in digestive disease research to apply their expertise to this important area and help translate basic research discoveries to the clinical arena.
San Diego Digestive Diseases Research Center (SDDRC) draws on the ever-expanding biomedical research enterprise in the San Diego area, and the opportunity to select a unique subset of academic investigators for Center membership, whose work complements the thematic focus of the Center on "Inflammation in the Digestive Tract." Center investigators conduct outstanding research related to inflammation, immunity, and host-microbial interactions in both gastrointestinal tract and liver. Topics range from basic mechanisms governing inflammation, the role of infection, immune and inflammatory responses in preclinical studies, to translational studies and clinical trials with human tissues and well-defined patient populations.
  • Research Aims: The aim of the research training program is to develop independent investigators who will devote their career to research on fundamental aspects of digestive diseases and train individuals from the adult and pediatric GI programs.
  • Activities & Services 
  •  Pilot & Feasibility Program 
    • The SDDRC Pilot and Feasibility Program provides financial and mentoring support to facilitate and accelerate the development of innovative ideas in digestive disease research.
Pittsburgh Liver Research Center(University of Pittsburgh)
  • Research Aims: The Pittsburgh Liver Research Center (PLRC) is a multidisciplinary center that builds on the existing strengths of UPMC, a leader in the delivery of innovative and cutting-edge clinical care, and the University of Pittsburgh, a leader in research, discovery, education, and innovation. Serving as a point of convergence for timely research in liver health and disease, the PLRC bridges the intellectual exchange between clinicians and researchers in the hope of improving the clinical care of liver patients. The PLRC is committed to providing a platform to enhance, enrich, and synergize scientific interactions and collaborations among various investigators in the field of liver pathobiology in three major areas - Regenerative Medicine, Chronic Liver Injury and Tumorigenesis. Specifically, the PLRC supplies research funding, scientific core facilities, unique scientific and clinical resources, opportunities to network and collaborate, education.
  • Activities & Services
  •  Pilot & Feasibility Program  
    • The Pittsburgh Liver Research Center sponsors Pilot and Feasibility grants every year. Dr. Gavin Arteel Dr. Paul Monga serve as Co-Directors of the PLRC Pilot and Feasibility Program.
Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases Center (Baylor College of Medicine) UNC Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease (University of North Carolina)
  • Research Aims: The mission of the CGIBD is to promote and enhance multidisciplinary research to reduce the burden of digestive diseases.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Advanced Analytics
      • Biostatistics and Data Management
      • Gnotobiotic
      • Large Animal Models
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Proposed research must relate to digestive diseases.
UCSF Liver Center (University of California San Francisco)
  • Research Aims: The goal of the Center is to integrate bench science with clinical investigation, in support of its mission to understand and cure human liver diseases.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Cell Biology Core
      • Clinical & Translational Core
      • Immunology Core
      • Pathology & Imaging Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Early-stage investigators and senior trainees in the field of hepatology research
      • Established investigators from other disciplines with new liver-related projects
      • Existing Center members with new ideas completely divergent from their established expertise
University of Chicago Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Inflammatory Intestinal Disorders (University of Chicago)
  • Research Aims: To foster and facilitate interdisciplinary and innovative, patient-oriented, research in the field of complex inflammatory digestive diseases, to understand and therapeutically exploit discoveries to improve the health of patients with digestive diseases.
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Integrative Clinical and Biospecimen Core
      • Host-Microbe Core
      • Tissue Engineering and Cell Models Core
      • Multiparametric Host Cell Analysis Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Program aimed at funding early stage investigators (principal target group), established faculty outside of gastrointestinal research who wish to extend their investigations into the mission of the C-IID and faculty conducting research in digestive health and diseases. Proposals that involve studies of inflammatory bowel diseases and related areas of intestinal inflammation, the gut immune system, the gut microbiome, host-microbe interactions, microbiome-based biotherapeutics, hepatic and digestive functions, host-microbe metabolism, and epithelial biology/developmental regulation of the gut will be given special consideration.
USC Research Center for Liver Disease (University of Southern California)
  • Research Aims: To provide essential services and collaboration to advance the understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of liver digestive diseases
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Cell Separation and Culture (CSC) Core
      • Cell Tissue Imaging (CTI) Core
      • Liver Histology (LH) Core
      • Analytical-Metabolic-Instrumentation (AMI) Core
      • Translational/BioRepository/Bioinformatics/Biostatistics (T3B) Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • The Pilot/Feasibility (P/F) Project Program is a magnet that pulls investigators into the Liver Center and has helped sustain a robust cadre of investigators. The emphasis has been to fund young investigators, who are more likely to stay in digestive disease research if their P/F project is successful. The research potential of P/F project holders is markedly enhanced by the Core facilities of the Liver Center, which enable investigators to utilize research methodology that would otherwise be unavailable or unaffordable.
Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center (Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
  • Research Aims: The DDRC is a multidisciplinary center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center developed to serve the following purposes:
    • Promote digestive diseases-related research in an integrative, collaborative and multidisciplinary manner
    • Develop and implement programs for attracting, training, and retaining young investigators in digestive disease-related research
    • Enhance the basic, translational, and clinical research capabilities of the VDDRC members
    • Facilitate the transfer of basic research discoveries to improvements in prevention and/or clinical care
    • Attract investigators not involved in digestive disease-related research to pursue these lines of investigation
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Mass Spectrometry/Proteomics Core
      • Cell Imaging Core
      • Flow Cytometry Core
      • Preclinical Models of Digestive Disease
      • Biostatistics Component
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • Provides Vanderbilt investigators the opportunity to explore nascent, meritorious hypotheses related to digestive diseases with the ultimate goal being acquisition of external funding.
Washington University Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (Washington University at St. Louis)
  • Research Aims: The overarching mission of the Center is to promote collaborative, multidisciplinary research focused on interactions between host and environment in digestive disease. Our Center seeks to advance the health of patients with digestive diseases by supporting enabling technology and promoting the basic and translational research interests of its Full and Associate members, while nurturing the career development of junior investigators. Interests are organized around three major themes:
    • Host-microbial interactions, inflammation and mucosal immunity
    • Stem cells, epithelial renewal, paligenosis and cancer;
    • Metabolic homeostasis, nutrient transport and enterohepatic signaling
  • Activities & Services
    • Cores
      • Administrative and Resource Access Core
      • Advanced Imaging & Tissue Analysis Core
      • Biobank Core
      • Precision Animal Models and Organoids Core
    • Pilot & Feasibility Program
      • This program hopes to encourage young investigators and more established investigators in other field to approach problems which are relevant to our understanding of normal intestinal, liver and pancreatic function and to digestive diseases. We are particularly interested in projects that address issues in mucosal immunity, epithelial injury/repair, microbial interactions with intestinal, hepatic and pancreatic tissues. We would like to encourage efforts addressing intestinal motility and the application of novel genetic models (e.g. C. elegans, Drosophilia, etc) to address questions in GI tract development.

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