Department of Medicine

Gastroenterology and Hepatology Research Awards/Grants

Master
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2022

Terms

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Drs. RJ Sealock and Jordan Sparkman recieved Grant to Provide GI Genius Artificial Intelligence Modules

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June 24: Dr. RJ Sealock and Dr. Jordan Sparkman have received a combined grant from the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Medtronic, and Amazon Web Services to provide three GI Genius Artificial Intelligence Modules which are designed to enhance the detection of neoplastic lesions during colonoscopy.

Natalia

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Dr. Natalia Khalaf receives grant funding from Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

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June 20: Dr. Natalia Khalaf, assistant professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, has received grant funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s Diagnostic Excellence Initiative for her project entitled, “Measuring Missed Opportunities in the Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Cancers.” ($500,000 for 18 months). 

Jason

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Dr. Jason Mills Receives Outstanding Mentor Award

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May 22: Dr. Jason Mills, Herman Brown Endowed professor, gastroenterology, was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Mentor Award from the American Gastroenterology Association at the Digestive Disease Week annual meeting.

Yongji

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Dr. Yongji Zeng awarded National Cancer Center postdoctoral fellowship

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April 22: Dr. Yongji Zeng was awarded the National Cancer Center postdoctoral fellowship for his study entitled, “The role of regulation of the Hippo Pathway in paligenosis.” ($50,000, years: 2022-2023)
 

Theresa

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Dr. Theresa Nguyen awarded Faculty Development Award

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April 22: Dr. Theresa Nguyen was awarded the inaugural Department of Medicine Physician-Scientist/Investigator Faculty Development Award for the study entitled, “An Electronic Trigger Tool to Detect Missed Opportunities for Barrett's Esophagus Screening." ($207,906 for 2 years).
 

Fasiha

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal Receives I-VCALD Grant

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April 20: Dr. Fasiha Kanwal has been awarded a VA Health Services Research & Development Merit Review (Investigator Initiated Research, IIR) grant titled, "Integrating Veteran-Centered Care for Advanced Liver Disease." ($1,513,109 for four years).

Mimi

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Dr. Mimi Tan Receives NIH K23 Award

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April 19: Dr. Mimi Tan was awarded an NIH K23 award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) for her project titled, "Development and Validation of an Automated Algorithm for Real-time Detection of Neoplasia in Barrett's Esophagus using a Low-cost, Portable Microendoscope". ($993,595 for five years).

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Dr. Maya Balakrishnan Receives Award

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Feb. 18: Dr. Maya Balakrishnan receives the American College of Gastroenterology Health Equity Research Award for her project, "Improving outcomes among Mexican and Central American Patients with NAFLD." ($47,033 for 1 year) 

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Dr. Hashem El-Serag Receives CPRIT Funding

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Feb. 16: Dr. Hashem El-Serag received funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) award for his project, "Novel Metabolomics and Radiomics for Predicting HCC Risk." ($1,995,127 for 4 years)

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Dr. Sumimasa Arimura Receives TMC-DDC Funding

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Feb. 3: Dr. Sumimasa Arimura received grant funding from TMC Digestive Diseases Center for his pilot feasibility grant. ($50,000, year: 2022)

Dr.

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Dr. Charles Cho Receives DoD CDMRP Funding

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Jan. 3: Dr. Charles Cho received grant funding from the Department of Defense office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) for his project entitled, “The Role of Key Paligenosis Gene IFRD1 in Gastric Carcinogenesis.” ($399,999, years: 2022-2025).

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2021

Terms
Natalia

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Dr. Natalia Khalaf Receives SWIFT Program Award

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Dec. 10: Dr. Natalia Khalaf has received the SWIFT program awardee at IQuESt for this fiscal year. (Funding amount: $50,000 . Funding period: 1 year).

Natalia

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Dr. Natalia Khalaf Receives HSR&D Grant Funding

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Oct. 19: Dr. Natalia Khalaf has received grant funding from the VA Health Services Research & Development Program for her Career Development Award project entitled, “Health informatics approaches to reduce missed opportunities in diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.” (Funding amount: $1.1million. Funding period: five years.)

The goal of this project is to: identify what signals of pancreatic cancer and/or delays in diagnostic evaluation are missed in clinical practice; develop electronic trigger tools to identify these signals automatically from EHR data; and assess acceptability and feasibility necessary for implementing these strategies into routine clinical practice in future work. The central long-term goal of this foundational project is to improve the timing of pancreatic cancer diagnosis within the VA healthcare system.

Jason

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Dr. Jason Mills Receives 2022 Cellular & Molecular Gastroenterology Section Research Mentor Award

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Oct. 1: Dr. Jason Mills, professor, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, is the recipient of the 2022 Cellular & Molecular Gastroenterology Section Research Mentor Award, which is issued by the American Gastroenterological Association Institute Council to recognize achievements as an outstanding mentor in a specific area of research.

Ru

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Dr. Ru Chen’s Pilot Award Selected for Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Grant

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Oct. 1: Dr. Ru Chen’s pilot award entitled, “Role of mucosa-adherent microbiota in colitis-associated colorectal cancer” was selected for funding by the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center (DLDCCC) Grant Review Committee. Funding Amount: $50,000 Funding Period: 1 year

The goal of this pilot project is to study if gut microbiota contribute to the development of IBD associated colorectal cancer

Mohamed

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Dr. Mohamed Othman Receives AbbVie Sponsorship

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Sept. 13: Dr. Mohamed Othman recently received sponsorship from AbbVie on his study M21-432 entitled, “A Phase 4 Study to Assess Symptoms of Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency in Subjects with Cystic Fibrosis or Chronic Pancreatitis treated with Creon® (Pancrelipase) with an Alternate Source of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient.”

Jason

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Dr. Jason Hou Receives PCORI Grant Funding

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July 28: Dr. Jason Hou has received grant funding from PCORI for his project entitled, “Treat-to-Target of Endoscopic Remission in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in Symptomatic Remission: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial.” (co-PIs, Jason Hou and Siddharth Singh. Funding amount. $6,3 million. Funding period: 5 years).

The goal of this project is to compare the effectiveness and safety of a strategy of switching to an alternative treatment to treat to a target of endoscopic remission vs. continuing index treatment in IBD patients who are in symptomatic remission using a 104-week pragmatic, open-label, randomized clinical trial within a learning health system conceptual framework.

Dr.

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Dr. Ayse Mindikoglu Receives Roderick D. MacDonald Research Fund Grant

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April 9: Dr. Ayse Mindikoglu, associate professor of gastroenterology and hepatology, received a $50,000, one-year grant from the Roderick D. MacDonald Research Fund. This will fund research on the effect of human plasma collected from subjects who fasted from dawn to sunset for four weeks on preventing hepatocellular carcinoma growth in a mouse model.

Fasiha

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal Receives National Cancer Institute Funding

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March 18: Dr. Fasiha Kanwal has received R01 funding from the National Cancer Institute (NIC) for her study entitled, “Multi-level Evaluation of Racial/ethnic Disparities in Liver Disease Outcomes" (MPI: Fasiha Kanwal, Amit Singal; total funding: $2.3 million; duration five years). 

The goal of this study is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of multilevel factors hypothesized to play important roles in causing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in three key measures of cirrhosis prognosis: Hepatic decompensation, including HCC; Liver-related hospitalization; Overall survival. 

Drs. El-Serag, Kramer, Badr, White and Oluyomi are co-investigators on this project.

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2020

Terms
Dr.

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Dr. Ayse Mindikoglu and Team Receives MacDonald Research Fund Grant

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Dec. 7: Dr. Ayse Mindikoglu and her team have received $31,000 grant funding by the MacDonald Research Fund. The project awarded is entitled, “The Effect of Four-Week Intermittent Fasting from Dawn to Sunset on Leukocyte Proteome in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome.” 
 
The proteomic profiling of leukocytes induced by 4-week intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset (dusk) will improve our understanding of molecular mechanisms of leukocyte function in inflammation and tumor surveillance during fasting that can result in the development of new cancer drugs, vaccines, and implementation of intermittent fasting from dawn to sunset as an adjunct treatment to chemotherapy
 

Dr.

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Dr. Natalia Khalaf Receives TMC Digestive Diseases Center Funding

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Dec. 7: Dr. Natalia Khalaf has received $38,000 grant funding from TMC Digestive Diseases Center for her Pilot Project entitled, “Predicting Risk of Long-term Complications of Acute Pancreatitis in a U.S. Veteran Population.” The aim of the project is to develop accurate, automated prediction models for risk of recurrent acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer among acute pancreatitis patients. 

fasiha-kanwal/

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal Receives $2 million CPRIT Grant

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Aug. 24: Dr. Fasiha Kanwal has received over $2 million grant funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas for her study entitled, “Reducing Disparities in the Risk of Hepatocellular Cancer.”

The primary objective of this study is to identify the multi-level factors that explain racial and ethnic disparities in HCC risk/incidence and tumor stage at diagnosis, as well as a set of potentially actionable (identifiable, preventable or treatable) determinants of HCC disparities in Texas. Drs. El-Serag, Amos, White, and Oluyomi are co-investigators.

Dr.

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Dr. Mimi Chang Tan Receives Caroline Weiss Law Fund

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July 1: Mimi Chang Tan, M.D., M.P.H, received a grant from the Caroline Weiss Law Fund for Research in Molecular Medicine for her work to create an automated software algorithm for the real-time prediction of neoplasia in Barrett's Esophagus imaging with confocal high-resolution microendoscopy. 

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2019

Terms
Dr.

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Dr. Mimi Chang Tan Receives P30 grant

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Dec. 1: Mimi Chang Tan, M.D., M.P.H, received funding from the P30 DK056338 grant for her work on predicting risks of gastric intestinal metaplasia. 

Jason

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Dr. Jason Hou Receives Merit Review Grant from VA

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May 9: Dr. Jason Hou received his first VA Merit Review Grant as a principal investigator. The grant is entitled, "Effectiveness, Safety, and Patient Preferences of Infliximab Biosimilar Medications for Inflammatory Bowel Disease."

The goals of this multi-center grant are to compare rates of adverse events in inflammatory bowel patients continued on anti-TNF-originator to those switch to biosimilar, predict medication related adverse events related to anti-TNF, and to elicit patient preferences for biosimilar use. This is a major achievement; it marks Dr. Hou's successful transition from his current NIH-funded career development award to independent federal funding.

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GI and Hepatology Excel at 2019 Department of Medicine Housestaff Symposium

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April 15: The Section of Gastroenterology and Hepatology had a strong showing at the annual Department of Medicine Housestaff Research Symposium. Fourteen posters authored by nine GI fellows and mentored by 13 faculty were presented. Special thanks to Dr. RJ Sealock - who led the mentoring pack with five posters. Mentorship of the housestaff is vital to foster GI interest among residents and to build even stronger applicants. Dr. Fasiha Kanwal was one of the featured keynote speakers with her talk “Quality of care in patients with cirrhosis” and two faculty served as poster judges (Drs. Natalia Khalif and Ellie Jarbrink).

Dr. Tariq Hammad's poster "Missed Opportunities for Screening and Surveillance of Barrett's Esophagus in Veterans with Esophageal Adenocarcinoma", mentored by Drs. Hashem El-Serag, Aaron Thrift and senior mentor Dr. Nisreen Husain won 3rd prize in the Clinical Research category.

Fellow participants included Drs. Mazen Shobassy, Rehman Sheikh, Syed Tasleem, Euqene Kligman, Tariq Hammad, Vinshi Khan, Jordan Sparkman, Joe Krill and Rollin George.

Faculty participants included Drs. El-Serag, Li Jiao, Mohamed Othman, Stephan Pappas, Manreet Kaur, Thrift, Husain, Sealock, Fasiha Kanwal, Ruben Hernaez, Maya Balakrishnan, Hou and Richa Shukla.

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Baylor Ranks 20th in Nation in Latest NIH Funding Report

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March 21: The Blue Ridge Institute of Medical Research has announced its listing of grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. Baylor is ranked 20th among the nation’s medical schools in funding from the NIH and the College is ranked first in Texas for the 12th year in a row. In all, 13 Baylor departments ranked within the top 30. The Department of Medicine ranked number 27.

Fasiha

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Dr. Fasiha Kanwal Receives Department of Defense Grant

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March 8: Dr. Fasiha Kanwal, professor and chief, has received funding from the Department of Defense (DoD) for her project, "Risk of Hepatocellular Cancer After Virological Cure with Direct Acting Antiviral Agents in Individuals with Hepatitis C." Other Baylor investigators included Drs. Jennifer Kramer and Aanand Naik. Congratulations to Dr. Kanwal and team.