Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Clinical Research

With the full scope of tertiary and quaternary expertise within the Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (GHN) section at Texas Children’s Hospital, our mission has always been to provide the highest quality of care to our patients. 

While expert opinion and experience are invaluable, we have weaved our dedication to clinical research into the patient care mission in hopes of optimizing diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life for all our patients. Opportunities abound in our GI and Liver clinics in both the Medical Center and community campuses for families to engage in our 'learning from every patient' model or receive access to state-of-the-art diagnostics or therapeutics through research pathways. 

Consistent with our historical mission, our section has long been part of diverse multi-center research networks ranging from quality improvement in children with inflammatory bowel disease through Improve Care Network (ICNDr. Seema Walsh and Dr. Richard Kellermayer) and observational/natural history studies in children with liver disease such as the Childhood Liver Disease Research Network (ChiLDReNDr. Benjamin Shneider), The Clinical Research Network in Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASHDr. Tamir Miloh), the Cystic Fibrosis Liver Disease Network (CFLDDr. Daniel Leung) and the Immunosuppression Withdrawal for Stable Pediatric Liver Transplant Recipients (iWITHDr. Ryan Himes). 

That self-imposed purpose has continued as our faculty have also helped pioneer new pediatric research networks such as The International Study Group of Pediatric Pancreatitis: In Search for a Cure (INSPPIREDr. Douglas Fishman) and the Very Early Onset Inflammatory Bowel Disease Consortium (VEO-IBDDr. Lina Karam).  Since 2015, our Research Program has grown by 20% annually in its protocols with funding now totaling approximately $4 million. Study protocols range from exploratory microbiome studies and fecal microbiome transplantation for medically refractory Crohn’s disease; expanded access to neurogastroenterology devices for gastroparesis and specialized intravenous lipids for children with short gut syndrome; and novel biomarkers, blood tests, and imaging to screen for liver disease.

Our investigators are very active in multi-national and multi-center industry–sponsored clinical trials in several orphan areas which allow our patients access to novel pediatric treatments for GERD, viral hepatitis B and C, short bowel and irritable bowel syndrome, cholestasis, fatty liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Back row: Laurel Cavallo (Research coordinator), Christina Banks (Research coordinator), Shannon Orlando (Research coordinator),
Diego Olvera (Research coordinator), Cynthia Tsai (Clinical research manager), Alicia Lawson (Research coordinator)
Front row: Chandra Kovvali (Research coordinator), Benjamin Shneider (Division head),
Daniel Leung (Director of clinical research), Vanessa Thyne (Research coordinator)

Recent research news

Genetic disorder means 4-year-old girl lives with insatiable itch
(ABC 13 - 02/02/19) Imagine an insatiable itch that scratching won't satisfy. For 4-year-old Makenna Brown, that was the case.

A new treatment regimen for adolescents with chronic Hepatitis C virus infection identified
(TCH Blog - 01/30/19) A study led by Dr. Daniel Leung, associate professor and director of the Viral Hepatitis Program at Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine reports a new treatment for adolescents affected by chronic Hepatitis C infections (HCV).