About the Center

The Texas Medical Center Digestive Diseases 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 DDC director is Hashem B. El-Serag, M.D., M.P.H., Margaret M. and Albert B. Alkek Chair of the Department of Medicine, and professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at Baylor. James Versalovic, M.D., Ph.D., professor and vice chair of pathology & immunology at Baylor College of Medicine and pathologist-in-chief and director of the Texas Children’s Microbiome Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, serves as DDC co-director. Dr. Versalovic is also the director of the functional genomics and microbiome core of the DDC. J. Marc Rhoads, M.D., gastroenterology division director and professor of pediatric gastroenterology at The University of Texas Health Science Center joined the center leadership as assistant director in March 2018.   

Basic Science & Clinical Cores

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

Current DDC membership includes 156 members, including 63 full members with approximately $27.3 million in digestive diseases-related research funding as of 2018. The DDC has particular strengths in the areas of gastrointestinal development, infection, and injury.

Enrichment Programs

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 site 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.