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Stanford Report, September 6, 2000

Digestive Disease Research Center receives $5 million, 5-year grant  

The Stanford Digestive Disease Research Center will become one of thirteen Silvio O. Conte Digestive Disease Research Core Centers of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, beginning in January 2001.

The overall goal of the core centers is to encourage multidisciplinary collaboration for research on digestive diseases and related disorders through grants that provide support for shared resources within each center. Stanford will receive $5 million over five years to support the center's research focus on the molecular pathogenesis of digestive diseases.

"The center brings together an accomplished group of investigators, creates a highly interactive environment and makes available state-of-the-art technologies to address important digestive diseases," said Harry Greenberg, MD, professor of medicine and director of the Stanford research center. Greenberg is also the School of Medicine's senior associate dean for research. Bishr Omary, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and division chief of gastroenterology, and Anson Lowe, MD, professor of medicine, will serve as co-directors.

The center, consisting of 29 investigators from several clinical and basic science departments, has two main areas of research: host-pathogen interactions, and the cell and molecular biology of digestive epithelia.

Four research "cores" will provide services for collaborative research at the Stanford Center: the Flourescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS)/ Immunoprobe Core, directed by Eugene Butcher, MD, professor of pathology; the Cell Imaging Core, directed by Stanley Falkow, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology; the Microarray/DNA Sequencing Core, directed by David Relman, MD, assistant professor of medicine; and the Cell Biology and Signaling Core, directed by James Nelson, PhD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology.

A fifth administrative core, directed by Greenberg, will fund one-year pilot and feasibility studies; establish a collaborative trainee program that specifically funds trainees who work with two or more center investigators; and establish a Named Investigator Program to provide two-years of support for a promising junior faculty member.

The first Named Investigator to be selected, Seung Kim, MD, PhD, assistant professor of developmental biology, will study the development of the pancreas and the relationship of its developmental program to pancreatic cancer and diabetes. The first years' recipients of pilot and feasibility study funding include Kim; Jeff Glenn, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine; Eric Sibley, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics; and Kenneth Drazan, MD, assistant professor of surgery. SR