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July 24, 2003


NIH Funds New Digestive Diseases Research Center At Emory University

ATLANTA--A multidisciplinary group of investigators in Emory University School of Medicine will study the biology of digestive diseases in a new Digestive Diseases Research Development Center funded by a five-year, $2.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Emory Epithelial Pathobiology Research Development Center is one of four digestive diseases centers recently designated by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The four new centers are the newest additions to 13 existing centers at universities including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Chicago and Vanderbilt.

Principal investigator of the new Emory center is Vincent W. Yang, MD, PhD, professor and director, Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. Co-Principal investigator is Charles A. Parkos, PhD, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine, Emory School of Medicine. The center includes 15 investigators across four School of Medicine departments, including medicine, pathology and laboratory medicine, biochemistry and physiology.

The research group shares a central research theme of understanding the biology and pathobiology of the digestive system. Specific projects will concentrate on the physiologic, inflammatory and proliferative responses of the intestinal epithelium (the lining of the intestinal wall.) The overall goal of the center is to provide shared resources and facilities for this group of highly focused investigators to enhance research capability, promote new research directions, and foster strong interactions and collaborations among investigators.

The center will have three core facilities: (1) a gene expression analysis core, with the ability to perform cDNA microarray experiments, which analyze the expression of specific genes within tissues (Andrew Neish, PhD, director); (2) Image Analysis Core, which includes a state-of-the-art confocal microscope for sophisticated cell biology research (Asma Nusrat, PhD, director); and (3) a Cell Culture and Monoclonal Antibody Core, with the capability to grow large-scale, cultured epithelial cells for physiologic experiments (Charles Parkos, PhD, director).

"This new center will help us to further foster the development of a strong epithelial biology and pathobiology group at Emory, with a strong research focus on the mission supported by the NIDDK," said Dr. Yang. "We are very excited about the numerous opportunities this center gives us for interdepartmental collaboration and discovery within the School of Medicine."

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