The overall goal of our Digestive Health Center (DHC): Bench-to-Bedside Research in Pediatric Digestive Disease is to promote research that will yield insights into the fundamental processes and pathogenic mechanisms of digestive disease in children and generate innovative treatment to restore digestive health. The first award period of the DHC was very successful, with Core services that evolved to meet the scientific needs of innovative investigators, a remarkable growth of the research base to 85 investigators and $35.7 million of extramural digestive disease-related funds. Pilot and Feasibility (P/F) Awards that transitioned to R01 grants, and a dynamic enrichment series. This trajectory of success will be pursued in future years by fostering research and promoting interdivisional and interdepartmental collaboration to maintain a solid critical mass in digestive disease research, with a focus on translational research. Specifically, our long term goals are to improve child health through better diagnosis, treatments and outcomes for our four key targeted focus areas and diseases: 1) Chronic liver disease, 2) Inflammatory and diarrheal diseases, 3) Obesity and the digestive system, and 4) Development and digestive diseases. Each focus area brings opportunities of potential impact on digestive health for children, helps advance the national research agenda, and creates a unique environment to integrate research into patient care. The focus areas are linked by three highly innovative Biomedical Research Cores (1. Gene and Protein Expression, 2. Bioinformatics, and 3. Integrative Morphology) and by a Clinical Component of the Administrative Core to facilitate patient-based research. Collectively they form a powerful infrastructure that fosters the development of personalized and predictive medical approaches based on the genetics and molecular basis of Gl diseases, and of therapies that take into account basic mechanisms of disease. Our working model promotes laboratory discoveries to generate translational research opportunities that lead to validation in patient samples and is followed by clinical trials. In addition to advancing the understanding of pediatric digestive disease, the goals of our DHC include the recruitment of established investigators to the field by enhancing collaboration among DHC investigators and investigators from other disciplines, by funding highly promising P/F Projects for junior investigators, and by sponsoring a dynamic enrichment program of seminars, workshops and symposia. These features and a strong institutional commitment will enable the DHC to catalyze translational research in pediatric digestive disease.

Public Health Relevance

The Digestive Health Center (DHC) is the Silvio O. Conte Digestive Disease Research Core Center in Cincinnati. The Center aims to support research that yields insight into pathogenic mechanisms and new therapeutic targets for digestive diseases in children. The DHC advances research by the delivery of state of-the-art services from Biomedical Cores, a dynamic enrichment program of seminars and workshops, and a strong Pilot and Feasibility Program to foster growth of digestive disease research relevant to child health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1-GRB-8 (J1))
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Podskalny, Judith M,
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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
United States
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