Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseVisit this Center

The Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (CSIBD) is a multidisciplinary program whose goal is to define fundamental mechanisms underlying Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Our center is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The center encompasses one hundred and one investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Broad Institute, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, and the Whitehead Institute, all pursuing research in a broad spectrum of basic science relevant to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Since its establishment in 1991, the CSIBD has advanced our understanding of IBD through the study of relevant basic biological processes and the directed study of the diseases themselves.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD is a general term that refers a family of diseases, the major forms of which are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. More than a million individuals in the United States have a form of IBD. These diseases have no known cause, but significant progress is underway in understanding the underlying mechanisms of these disorders.
Our current model of IBD is based on a combination of increased genetic risk and an immune system that overreacts to environmental and microbial stresses. We believe that IBD affects people who have inherited genetic risk factor(s) that makes them predisposed to get the disease. When a person with this predisposition is exposed to some environmental factor, the disease is triggered.


The overall goal of this Center is to promote research that will yield insights into the cause(s) and pathogenesis of IBD and lead to improved therapeutic approaches. The specific goals of the Center derive from the conviction that understanding the mechanisms of IBD will depend on progress in relevant areas of basic research and extension of these findings to explore their importance in the context of IBD. It is our further conviction that these goals can only be achieved through an increase in the number of investigators studying IBD. The latter should be achieved both through increased interest in the laboratories of basic investigators and the scientific development of investigators focused on IBD. We believe all of these goals are achieved through the scientific and material resources provided via the organizational framework of this Center. In addition we believe that in further fostering the numerous collaborative interactions among members of the Center whose expertise spans a continuum from basic laboratory to creative clinical investigation, the CSIBD serves to integrate progress from the laboratory to clinical application.
The Center goals are as follows:

  • Fostering research in basic science areas relevant to better understanding of mucosal immune function and epithelial biology in IBD
  • Furthering the study of the pathogenesis of IBD
  • Facilitating interactions among scientists exploring diverse fields which share relevance to IBD
  • Promoting translational IBD research
  • Providing an environment and mechanism to foster development of young investigators focused on IBD