Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Faculty Obtain New Research Grants

June 28, 2022

David Levinthal, MD, PhD, was awarded a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) R21 grant for his study entitled “Characterization of Gastric Evoked Potentials.”

This grant provides two years of funding and will support Dr. Levinthal in using non-invasive methods of brain stimulation that can influence stomach function via the “brain-gut connection.” Results from this study may provide a scientific foundation for future lines of work that could use transcranial magnetic stimulation-based methods of neuromodulation to treat a wide variety of chronic stomach disorders.

Anna Evans Phillips, MD, MS, received a National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) R01 grant, which will support her study entitled “Pancreatic Quantitative Sensory Testing (P-QST) to Predict Treatment Response for Pain in Chronic Pancreatitis.” 

Dr. Phillips will evaluate the ability of P-QST to predict responses to invasive treatment for painful chronic pancreatitis, and she will work to develop a predictive model for individualized prediction of treatment responses.

Jami Saloman, PhD, was awarded a $250,000 National Pancreas Foundation grant to support her study entitled “Neuronal Checkpoint Signaling in Pancreatic Cancer Pain.” Her research will investigate whether the expression of checkpoint proteins in nerves modulate inflammation-mediated sensitization of nerves and pain-inducing nerve activity. 

Dr. Saloman and her team will use cell culture studies to assess the role of checkpoint proteins in neuro-immune interactions as well as neuronal sensitization and signaling. They will also use animal behavioral assays to assess the impact of these proteins on tumor-associated pain behaviors. The results of the studies will help determine whether immune checkpoint signaling is a viable analgesic target to treat pancreatic cancer pain.

Learn more about the work being done within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.