University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
Co-directors: Robert Sandler, M.D., M.P.H., David Brenner, M.D.
Administrator: Sandra J. Hall
Intestinal inflammation and its complications have a profound health and economic impact on industrialized nations, developing countries, and the agriculture industry. In the United States alone, direct costs for inflammatory bowel disease were as much as $2.6 billion in 1990. The purpose of the Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease (CGIBD) is to promote multidisciplinary research on mechanisms of inflammation and fibrosis in the liver and intestine as they relate to inflammatory bowel disease. To achieve this purpose the center brings together over 50 clinical and basic science investigators from diverse disciplines and two universities to extend the effectiveness of research related to center themes. Center-based research is enhanced by the existence of five scientific core laboratories listed below. Broad use of these cores significantly improves the productivity and efficiency of center members. An ambitious Pilot/Feasibility Program has provided startup funds to junior investigators and to established investigators wishing to pursue new directions in research. A Scientific Enrichment Program, consisting of seminars, symposia, and workshops, has improved the intellectual climate for gastrointestinal biological research and has promoted collaboration and communication among involved personnel.
Center members have been at the forefront in developing new animal models of granulomatous enterocolitis, sclerosing cholangitis, and pouchitis; cloning and characterizing novel immunosuppressive molecules; exploring the ability of normal intestinal bacteria and bacterial products to induce and perpetuate intestinal and systemic inflammation; determining the molecular basis of fibrosis; developing primary enterocyte cell lines; understanding regulation of epithelial adaptation and repair; and conducting studies of the epidemiology, quality of life, and health care utilization of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Two long-term goals are to determine mechanisms of enhanced host susceptibility to chronic, relapsing enterocolitis and its fibrotic complications and to identify environmental factors that initiate and perpetuate intestinal and hepatic inflammation in the genetically susceptible host.
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Research and Biostatistics
- Gnotobiotic Animal
- Cell Culture