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Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center

The Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center promotes digestive disease-related research in an integrative, collaborative, and multidisciplinary manner through the provision of Shared Resource Cores, a seminar enrichment series, and a Pilot and Feasibility Program targeting junior investigators. The mission of the Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center (VDDRC) is to provide support for center members and to foster new investigator interest in the study of gastrointestinal biology and disease.

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The overall theme of the center is the study of the molecular and cellular basis for digestive diseases in an attempt to reveal new mechanisms and novel therapeutic targets. In an era when biomedical science now has access to the DNA sequence of the human genome and that of various animal and developmental models used to study digestive diseases, the VDDRC is poised to take advantage of these phenomenal resources and provide support for cutting-edge research. To support our current members and provide a framework for development of young investigators, our center is focused around four themes:

  •  Growth, proliferation and apoptosis 
  •  Epithelial integrity
  •  Gastrointestinal development and function
  •  Gastrointestinal physiology, obesity, and metabolism


  • Identification of oxidized lipids by GC/MS 
  • Quantitation of prostaglandins & thromboxanes by isotope dilution GC/MS 
  • Molecular weight determination of proteins & peptides by MALDI/TOF analysis 
  • Microsequencing of proteins and peptides by capillary ESI/LC/MS & MALDI/TOF 
  • Determination of postranslational modifications of proteins & peptides by ESI/LC/MS & MALDI/TOF 
  • Quantification of micronutrients in physiologic fluids by GC/MS and ESI/LC/MS 
  • Development of novel analytical methods using mass spectrometry 
  • Interpretation & analysis of mass spectrometry data 
  • Education & training in mass spectrometry principles & operation

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  • high-quality cDNA, oligo, and Affymetrix microarrays for gene expression analysis from human, mouse, or rat samples. 
  • extraction of RNA, labeling and hybridization of cDNA targets to microarrays, data capture, and archiving of microarray data. RNA quality assessment using an Agilent Bioanalyzer. 
  • aid to investigators in the analysis and interpretation of microarray data. 
  • ustom microarrays from unique clone and oligo sets developed for DDRC researchers. 


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    • Novel Cell Line Development Subcore
      • Utilizes the Immortomouse as a source of a conditional immortalizing gene in crosses with other transgenic mouse models that are relevant to a particular digestive disease. 
      • Establishes conditionally-immortalized epithelial cell lines from gastrointestinal mucosa, pancreas or liver.
      • Fully characterizes these cell lines with respect to their epithelial phenotype, the presence of the specific genetic mutation of interest and the presence of tissue-specific markers. 
      • Has established a “bank” of early passage cells for use by DDRC investigators.
    • Tissue Morphology Subcore
      • Assistance in procurement of human and animal tissues. 
      • Mechanisms for histopathologic characterization and quality assurance of specimens, database management, and specimen distribution. 
      • Centralization of histologic services under the supervision of a surgical pathologist with a dedicated interest in human gastrointestinal pathology and rodent models of gastrointestinal disease. 
      • Expertise in correlation of animal models with human disease, tissue characterization, immunohistochemistry, and laser microdissection. 

Customized tissue array block construction.

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  • Access to and technical support for confocal laser scanning microscopy for studies on cell lines, polarized cells and tissues from the digestive tract.
  • Support and UNIX based workstations with graphics systems for the display and analysis of massive data sets required for the images obtained.


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  • Training, acquisition and analysis on our state-of-the-art cytometers for experiments that include up to 17 different fluorochromes simultaneously
  • High-speed sorting with up to nine different fluorochromes simultaneously with the ability to sort and or clone into any plate or dish
  • Soluble protein measurement from a variety of biological or experimental samples that can be multiplexed up to 30 different analytes concurrently
  • Blood processing and storage to separate and collect cells, serum or plasma for subsequent studies
  • Staining for subsequent flow cytometric acquisition and analysis of patient samples
  • Expert consultation and troubleshooting and experimental design guidance


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Full Members Associate Members
Abumrad, Naji N., M.D.
Andl, Claudia, Ph.D.
Bader, David M., Ph.D.
Beauchamp, Daniel R., M.D.
Bradshaw, Alan, Ph.D.
Buchowski, Mac, Ph.D.
Burk, Raymond F., M.D.
Caprioli, Richard M., Ph.D.
Coffey, Robert J., Jr., M.D.
Cone, Roger D, Ph.D.
Correa, Pelayo, M.D.
Cover, Timothy L., M.D.
Crowe, James E. M.D.
Dai, Qi, M.D., Ph.D.
Datta, Pran, Ph.D., M.S.
Denton, Jerod S., Ph.D.
Dhawan, Punita, Ph.D.  
El-Rifai , Wael, M.D., Ph.D.
Fingleton, Barbara, Ph.D.
Gannon, Maureen, Ph.D., M.S.
George, Alfred L., M.D.
Goldenring, James R., M.D., Ph.D.
Gorden, Lee, M.D.
Gu, Guogiang, Ph.D., M.S.
Haase, Volker, M.D.
Hasty, Alyssa, Ph.D.
Hawiger, Jacek J., Ph.D.
Hiebert, Scott W., Ph.D.
Huppert, Stacey, Ph.D.
Ikizler, Alp, M.D.
Jerome, Gray W., Ph.D. 
Lacy, Dana Borden B., Ph.D.
Lee, Ethan, Ph.D.
Magnuson, Mark A., M.D.
Manning, Henry C., Ph.D.
McClain, Mark, Ph.D.
McGuinness, Owen P., Ph.D.
Moses, Harold L., M.D.
Murff, Harvey J., M.D., M.P.H.
Niswender, Kevin D., M.D., Ph.D.
Peek, Richard M., M.D.
Piston, David W., Ph.D.
Reese, John, M.D.
Reynolds, Al, Ph.D.
Russell, William E., M.D.
Schneider, Claus, Ph.D.
Shiota, Masakazu, Ph.D.
Singh, Amar, Ph.D.
Skaar, Eric, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Southard-Smith, Michelle E., Ph.D.
Spiller, Benjamin, Ph.D.
Stein, Roland W., Ph.D.
Tabb, David L., Ph.D.
Tyska, Matt, Ph.D.
Van Kaer, Luc, Ph.D.
Wagner, Conrad, Ph.D.
Walker, Lynn S., Ph.D.
Washington, M. Kay, M.D., Ph.D.
Wasserman, David H., Ph.D.
Wilson, Keith T., M.D.
Wright, Christopher V.E., D. Phil.
Yan, Fang, M.D.
Zaika, Alexander, Ph.D.
Zhang, Bing, M.D., Ph.D.
Zhang, Ming-Zhi, M.D.
Zheng, Wei, M.D., Ph.D.
Acra, Sari, M.D., M.P.H.
Algood, Holly M., Ph.D.
Anderson, Julia, M.D.
Chaturvedi, Rupesh, Ph.D.
Coburn, Lori, M.D.
Ellacott, Kate L.J., Ph.D.
Epplein, Meira, Ph.D.
Flynn, Robb C., Ph.D.  
Franklin, Jeff, Ph.D.
Friedman, David, Ph.D.
Hachey, David L., Ph.D.
Hajri, Tahar, Ph.D.
Herline, Alan, M.D.
Higginbotham, James, Ph.D.
Israel, Dawn, Ph.D.
Labosky, Patricia A., Ph.D.
Liu, Eric, M.D.
Loh, John, Ph.D.
Martinez, Andres, M.D.
Means, Anna L., Ph.D.
Merchant, Nipun, M.D.
Ness, Reid M., M.D., M.P.H.
Olivares-Villagomez, Danyvid, Ph.D.
Pearson, Scott A., M.D.
Piazuelo, Blanca M., M.D.
Rice, Todd W., M.D., MSc
Rosen, Michael, M.D., M.S.C.I.
Scheving, Lawrence A., M.D.
Schneider, Barbara G., Ph.D.
Schwartz, David, M.D.
Seidner, Douglas L., M.D.
Shi, Chanjuan, M.D., Ph.D.
Shrubsole, Martha J., Ph.D.
Stafford, John M., M.D., Ph.D.
Tamboli, Robyn, Ph.D.
Thomsen (King), Kelly, M.D.
Vaezi, Michael, M.D.
Weitkamp, Hendrik, M.D.
Wells, Sam K., Ph.D.
Williams, Christopher, M.D., Ph.D.
Wise, Paul E., M.D.
Yachimski, Patrick S, M.D., M.P.H.
Yin, Dengping, M.D., Ph.D.
Yin, Huiyong, Ph.D.
Zhou, Weisong, Ph.D.

Contact Information
2215 Garland Avenue
1030C Medical Research Building IV
Nashville, TN 37232
Phone: 615-322-5200
Fax: 615-343-6229