The Overall Goal of the CURE:DDRCC is to promote disciplinary research in the molecular adn cell biology, physiology and pathophysiology of the digestive system, foster collaboration and facilitate training, education and recruitment of new investigators.  The Pilot and Feasbility Program has also been enhanced by partnering with the UCLA Center for Translational Science (CTSI).  The specific aims of the Pilot and Feasbility Program are :

1. To provide funds for innovative research relevant to the CURE:DDRCC research program leading to extramural funds.

2. To foster the career development of junior investigators in digestive disease research,

3. To recruit individuals from different areas of research non-related to gastroenterology but with expertise that can be applied to digestive diseases research and benefit the CURE:DDRCC members,

4. To facilitate and promote collaboration between CURE:DDRCC members and PFS awardees.

Pilot and Feasibility Awardees


Jill Hoffman, PhD
“The role of CRHR2 signaling in enteric glial cell function during colitis.”

Elaine Hsiao, PhD
“Dissecting Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms for Communication Across the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis”

Marina Koutsioumpa, PhD
“Characterization and therapeutic targeting of ING3 chromatin pathway in pancreatic cancer”

David Padua, MD, PhD
“The Role of the Long-Noncoding RNA, CKDN2B-AS1, in Inflammatory Bowel Disease”

2017 - 2018 Special Call
Hui-Hua Chang, PhD
"FFARs-mediated regulation of YAP activity in obesity-promoted pancreatic cancer"




Kyriaki Bakirtzi, PhD
“Identification and characterization of IBD-associated exosomes; horizontal gene transfer between the adipose and intestinal tissues”

Jonathan Jacobs, MD, PhD
“The effect of an inflammatory bowel disease associated enterotype and metabotype on colitis in humanized gnotobiotic mice”

Leanne Jones, PhD
“Characterizing the role of Tricellulin in intestinal disease”

Swapna Joshi, PhD
“Colonic mucosal micro RNA and gene expression associated pathways and their correlation with dysbiosis in colonic mucosa in Irritable bowel Syndrome”

DeChen Lin, PhD
“Identification and Characterization of Super-Enhancer Driven transcripts in Esophageal cancer through functional genomic approaches”

Claudio Scafoglio, MD, PhD
“Combination treatments with sodium-glucose transporter 2 inhibitors in pancreatic cancers”

Elizabeth Volkmann, MD
"Integrative analysis of the colonic microbiota and gastrointestinal dysfunction in systemic sclerosis"



John Colicelli, PhD
"Regulation of RAB5 GTPase Activity During Listeria monocytogenes Infection"

Alexandra Drakaki, MD
"Molecular mechanisms and targeting of miR-9 in hepatocellular oncogenesis"

Maria Hatziapostolou, PhD
"Targeting colon cancer metabolism through a long-non coding RNA"

Yoko Kidani, MD, PhD
"Investigating the effect of lipid metabolism on Th17/Treg balance in gut immunity"

Claudia San Miguel, MD, PhD
"The role of adipokines as moderators and mediators of brain structure/activity signatures and their association with ingestive behaviors and weight loss after bariatric surgery”

Ali Sedarat, MD, PhD
"Randomized controlled study of patients with severe refractory or recurrent peptic ulcer bleeding"

Heloisa Soares, MD, PhD
"Negative Feedback loops by MEK/ERK and P13K/AKT/mTOR in pancreatic cancer"

Iina Tuomenin, PhD
"Determining the functional role of Stard3nl in liver fibrosis"


Cynthia Hong, PhD
"Regulation of Intestinal Lipid Metabolism by IDOL"

Kai Fang, PhD
"Regulation of colitis by miR-221-5p and miR-222 3p-neurokinin receptor interactions"

Thomas Vallim, PhD
"Central Rol eof FXR-MAFG in Bile Acid Homeostasis and Inflammation"

Stavroula Baritaki, PhD
"Effects of corticoptrophin releasing hormone receptor 2 (CRHR2) in modulating colon cancer immunoscape through Fas/FasL regulation"

Haofeng Ji, PhD
"Neuroregulation in Hepatic Ischemia/Reperfusion Ijury in Orthotopic liver Transplantation: Immunomodulation via PKA-CREB-KRL4 Pathway"


Timothy Donahue, MD
"Targeting micro RNA 21 in human pancreatic cancer"

Katrin Hacke, PhD
"A novel chemoselection strategy for hematopoetic stem cell transplantation in IBD"

Kathleen Hertzer, MD
"Understaning the link between diet, inflammation and pancreatic cancer"

Christos Polytarchou, PhD
"the role of miR021 expression in ulcerative colitis-associated colorectal cancer initation and progression"

Martin Martin, MD
"Peptidomic survey of regulated hormone secretion from human small intestinal mucosa derived from a sugject with a germ-line mutation of PCSK1"

Guisheng Zhou, PhD
"The molecular mechanism underlying the positive regulation of PDX-1 expression by Notch 1 activation"

Elizabeth Marcus, MD
"Exploitation of Helicobacter pylori adaptive responses to chronic acid exposure to identify novel eradication targets"