University of Michigan Medical Center
Director: Chung Owyang, M.D.
Co-directors: John A. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., and John DelValle, M.D.
Administrator: Jeffery L. Cole
Although the concept of chemical messengers regulating gastrointestinal function has been recognized for many years, recent advances in basic research techniques have led to an explosion of information and interest in peptides of the gut. The function of these peptides extends beyond their classical role as hormones to include actions as paracrine effectors, neurotransmitters, growth factors, and cytokines. These peptides not only exert a myriad of actions on the gastrointestinal tract but also have profound influences on the function of most of the body's organ systems.
The wide-spread distribution and myriad actions of gut peptides has led to a broadened base of investigative interest that crosses traditional clinical disciplines and scientific boundaries. Advances in cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology have provided tools with which the genetic or molecular links between peptides and clinical digestive disease states may be identified. However, because of the disparate nature of the demands of clinical and basic science, relatively little progress has been made in approaching some of these questions in a unified and broad-based manner. Thus, it is the purpose of this Center to promote interaction between clinical and basic scientists of many disciplines with the aim of disseminating new information and catalyzing collaborative research efforts directed at elucidating the role of gut peptides in molecular pathophysiology of digestive diseases.
The Center, through its Core laboratories, provides a collective expertise which enables investigators to widen the scope of their research. The seven Cores serve as intellectual resources, house specialized equipment and innovative technology, and perform numerous services for Center investigators. Extensive use of these resources has greatly expanded and enriched the base of investigators who are involved in gastrointestinal research at the University of Michigan. Through Pilot and Feasibility Project funding, investigators have pursued new areas of research as well as developed talented young associates in their laboratories.
In summary, the Center is the fulcrum of activity that galvanizes the research activities of the large and established group of investigators in gut peptides that exists at the University of Michigan with the hope that together the group will approach questions of fundamental importance in the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of digestive diseases in man.
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- In Vivo Studies