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Research

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Research Activity

The Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology has undergone tremendous growth and expansion since 1997 with the recruitment of a new Division Director and several other faculty of national and international repute. Consequently, in recent years, we have positioned ourselves as one of the strongest and largest academic GI divisions in the Southwestern United States. Research related to digestive health and disease has been a well-recognized and important strength at UTMB. We have a long history of excellence, as evidenced by faculty members who hold offices in national GI associations, serve on editorial boards of prestigious GI journals, and are members of National Institutes of Health study sections. In addition, the chairs of several UTMB departments are GI or GI-related researchers.

Finally, UTMB consistently ranks in the top 10 of all national and international institutions in the number of presentations at the annual Digestive Diseases Week (the largest GI meeting of the year). A significant portion of NIH dollars at UTMB supports research and training related to digestive diseases. Extramural funding related to research in GI health and disease includes many R01 grants, program project grants and training grants.

Under Development
This section is currently unavailable. We hope to have it available in the very near future. Please feel free to come back and visit the Gastroenterology & Hepatology site again soon.

Research Programs within the Division

"Mechano-regulation of gene expression in the gut": Dr. X.Z. Peter Shi

"Mechano-regulation of gene expression in the gut": Dr. X.Z. Peter Shi Many gastrointestinal disorders are associated with mechanical stretch (distention). Among the stretch-related conditions are bowel obstruction, pseudo-obstruction, achalasia, pyloric stenosis, mega-colon, and constipation. They represent great digestive health challenges in adults and children. Dr. Shi and his colleagues have found that mechanical stretch induces marked expression of mechanically sensitive genes such as COX-2 in the gastrointestinal tract. This novel mechanism of mechanotranscription plays a critical role in the pathophysiology of stretch-related conditions such as bowel obstruction, pseudo-obstruction, achalasia, and constipation. Dr. Shi's lab is awarded by NIH funding to investigate mechano-regulation of gene expression in the gut. A further understanding of the signaling mechanism involved in stretch-induced gene expression in the gut will direct novel treatments towards these disorders.

"The secretory function of gut smooth muscle cells": Dr. X.Z. Peter Shi

Gut smooth muscle has long been known as a contractile tissue. Recent studies by Dr. Shi and Dr. Sarna demonstrate that gut smooth muscle cell is not just a "passive" contractile cell; it also "actively" participates in the process of inflammation and visceral sensitization by secreting cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and adhesion molecules. Further study on this novel function of gut smooth muscle cell may lead to new therapeutic targets for the treatments of inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

Under Development
This section is currently unavailable. We hope to have it available in the very near future. Please feel free to come back and visit the Gastroenterology & Hepatology site again soon.

The department of internal medicine is developing evidence based clinical protocols which will be available in EPIC (as order sets) for use when admitting patients with these diagnoses. Their AIM is to standardize care and decrease length of stay and readmission rates.

Currently available protocols are:
  • CAP - Community Acquired Pneumonia Orderset
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis Adult, ICU
  • General Medicine Admission
  • Immunodeficiency Flow Panel
  • MICU/CCU Admission Order Set
  • Oral Analgesic Medicaitons
  • Parenteral Opioids
  • Sepsis, Adult ICU

All protocols can be found in the EPIC order set section.

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The department of Internal Medicine has a large role in the Meaningful Use Initiative. Our participation is key for the success of the initiative. Please visit the meaningful use website for important communication and updates from the Meaningful Use Initiative.

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