About the Center

The Texas Medical Center Digestive Disease Center (TMC DDC) facilitates cutting-edge digestive diseases research, promotes translational collaborative research between basic and clinical areas, develops new projects, nurtures new investigators, and provides GI educational activities. 

The TMC DDC is a federally funded center (NIH P30DK056338) designed to serve basic and clinical scientists at institutions within the Texas Medical Center, including Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The TMC DDC is one of only 18 NIH-funded Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers in the country and the only center in the southeast United States. The Center was founded by Mary K. Estes, Ph.D., emeritus director and professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor. 

The TMC DDC Director is Hashem B. El-Serag, M.D., M.P.H., Margaret M. and Albert B. Alkek Chairman of the Department of Medicine, and professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor College of Medicine. Doug Burrin, Ph.D., director, of the Fellowship Research Training and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, is the TMC DDC co-director. Dr. James Versalovic, M.D., Ph.D., pathologist-in-chief, and head at Texas Children's Hospital and Milton J. Finegold Professor of pathology and immunology at Baylor College of Medicine, will serve as the TMC DDC associate director. Michelle C. Barton, Ph.D., professor of epigenetics and molecular carcinogenesis at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Lenard Lichtenberger, Ph.D., professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center are both assistant directors. J. Marc Rhoads, M.D., gastroenterology division director and professor of pediatric gastroenterology at The University of Texas Health Science Center joins center leadership as assistant director in March 2018.  

The TMC DDC supports three basic science cores: Cellular and Molecular Morphology, Functional Genomics and Microbiome, Integrative Biology; and one clinical core: Study Design and Clinical Research.

Current DDC membership includes 125 members (59 full members and 66 associate members) with approximately $48 million annually in digestive diseases-related research funding as of 2017. The DDC has particular strengths in the areas of gastrointestinal development, infection, and injury.

Enrichment programs include a weekly seminar series, an annual symposium, and research opportunities for young investigators to work with some of the most well-known scientists and clinicians in digestive diseases.

The TMC DDC Pilot/Feasibility Program is offered annually and supports innovative ideas and new investigators in digestive diseases research and fosters collaboration among TMC DDC members.

This website provides information on our mission, facilities, programs, and investigators.

Please Note: All DDC core users must acknowledge the DDC in publications and grant applications, as follows, "This project was supported in part by PHS grant P30DK056338" and publications must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy, including the use of PMCIDs for all publications after April 2008. View more information.