News

Researchers Receive Funding to Study Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Eight Stanford Medicine researchers have received grants from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation to investigate inflammatory bowel disease.

Several Stanford Medicine investigators have received new or continuing grants from the Oakland-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation to understand and treat inflammatory bowel disease. The funding is part of the organization’s Synergy Awards program, which supports teams of researchers working on collaborative projects.

Recipients include: read more

OLD Gut, YOUNG Gut: What's the Difference?
Laren Becker wants to know why, as we age, our digestive systems become finicky.

Growing old can be a pain in the neck—or a pain in the stomach. As you age, you’re more prone to constipation, acid reflux, and bowel control problems. Some of that’s due to medications older people are more likely to take, chronic diseases, or inactivity, but it may also be due to changes in the gut, according to Laren Becker, MD, PhD. A physician-scientist in the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and an instructor of medicine, Becker has advised undergraduate and graduate students during their research rotations during the past several years.

Recently, Becker studied the guts of mice, which led him to discover another factor driving gut problems: immune cells change with age and drive inflammation, which in turn, change the function of the GI tract.

“If this is also true in humans, and we could find a way to prevent these changes, we wouldn’t have this overwhelming burden of GI problems in older people,” says Becker, whose research was published in Gut in February 2017. read more

Bedside to Bench: New Pathways to Understanding IBD

As a clinician and researcher, Dr. Aida Habtezion has dedicated her years of medical expertise and Stanford University’s advanced technology to understanding and combating Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). While the Habtezion Lab is uniquely focused in its scientific pursuit, Dr. Habtezion wants to ensure that the research maintains the perspective of those who struggle with the condition every day. She promotes the “bedside-to-bench” approach through an active registry the lab initiated. This registry connects scientists, clinicians and patients to share human data and foster communication across disciplines. read more

Five researchers elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation.

Five faculty members at the School of Medicine have been elected members of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, an honor society for physician-scientists that recognizes their research accomplishments.
Following are the new Stanford members and a brief description of their work:

Ash Alizadeh, Maximilian Diehn, Brian Feldman, Aida Habtezion and Ravindra Majeti were elected to the medical honor society. read more...

Researchers Receive Synergy Award Funding from Kenneth Rainin Foundation

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation has awarded $750,000 for collaborative research projects on inflammatory bowel disease. It designated $200,000 of that amount for Aida Habtezion and Sidhartha Sinha’s project: Secondary Bile Acids Modulate Intestinal Inflammation. Together with Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology, Habtezion and Sinha are researching the effects of secondary bile acids (SBAs) on the inflammation of surgically created rectums that replace diseased colons. Improved understanding of SBAs is necessary for assessing their potential as a new therapeutic target for IBD. read more...

"There’s a lot more work to be done." – Aida Habtezion

Aida Habtezion, MD (assistant professor, gastroenterology and hepatology), focuses her research in gastroenterology. Her clinical interest is immune-mediated diseases of the intestine; in North America the disease that fits this description is typically inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Caused by inflammation of the digestive tract, IBD includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Patients with IBD have severe diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, and pain. Finding therapies to mitigate the symptoms and cure IBD and other immune-mediated diseases is at the root of the Habtezion lab’s research. read more...

Discovery of molecular pathway could lead to pancreatitis treatments

The pancreas is a tricky organ for researchers and surgeons alike because of its sensitivity. Tucked away in a hard-to-reach spot behind the stomach, it’s in charge of secreting enzymes to help digest everything you eat. Even slightly puncturing the pancreas during surgery can cause it to begin digesting itself.

That may be in part why there is so little understanding of what causes pancreatitis, a fairly common and quite painful disorder of the gut.

“We try not to touch the pancreas,” said Aida Habtezion, MD, assistant professor of gastroenterology and hepatology. “That’s one of the reasons the field has not progressed much. We don’t have much access to the pancreas. We especially don’t want to touch it when it is inflamed with pancreatitis.” read more...

Spectrum awards more than $1 million in pilot grants to 30 projects

  • The principal investigators and projects receiving funds are:
  • “Targeted topical therapy to treat inflammatory bowel disease using a novel thermosensitive delivery platform.” Sidhartha Sinha, MD, instructor of medicine; Aida Habtezion, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine. read more...

Employee of the Month - Vishal Sharma

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Texas, Vishal Sharma wanted to explore a career path in research before committing to a PhD program, so he reached out to professors around the world looking for a mentor. He found one at Stanford: gastroenterologist Aida Habtezion.

In May 2013, Vishal moved to the Bay Area and began working as a research assistant in Habtezion’s lab, and he has spent the last three years gaining experience in both day-to-day lab work and the study of immunology. Habtezion says that during this time, Vishal’s been “an integral part of our lab/research.” read more...

Linh Nguyen, Employee of the Month, December 2014

Vishal Sharma, a research assistant in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, wrote in a letter nominating Linh for the Department of Medicine’s Employee of the Month award.

“On my first day, Linh was caring, sweet and helpful. During my first lab meeting Linh presented her research talk and made sure that I understood everything that she discussed and answered every question I had.” Linh’s thoughtful nature stuck with Vishal and countless others, and is one of the many reasons why she is December’s Employee of the Month. read more...