Principal Investigators: Pradeep K. Dudeja, PhD; Barbara Jung, MD; Waddah A. Alrefai, MD
Pradeep K. Dudeja, PhD
Dr. Dudeja is a Professor of Physiology in the Department of Medicine, and is the Director of Scholarly Activity for the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Dr. Dudeja is also a Senior Research Career Scientist in the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and the director of the Intestinal Transport Group at University of Illinois at Chicago and affiliated Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. The research of Dr. Dudeja is focused on studying ion transport mechanisms (Na+, Cl-, SCFA-) in the human intestine with special emphasis on their roles in the pathophysiology of GI disorders. Dr. Dudeja’s work has made seminal contributions by delineating the molecular basis for diarrheal diseases and establishing the platform for development of better therapeutic interventions for diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel diseases and infection. His other interests include examining host-microbial interactions, pathophysiology of IBD, colonic short-chain fatty acid absorption, and the role of probiotics as potential anti-diarrheal agents. He has more than 220 peer reviewed publications in top tier journals and many review articles and book chapters to his credit. The research of Dr. Dudeja has been continuously funded by both the NIH and VA for almost two decades. Dr. Dudeja has an impressive track record of successful mentoring and at least four of his trainees are currently members of the faculty at UIC and are leading their independent and federally funded research programs. Since he joined UIC in 1991, Dr. Dudeja has mentored many undergraduate, graduate students as well as post-doctorate MD and PhD fellows and junior faculty. Dr. Dudeja is committed for training the next generation of academic scholars in Gastroenterology.
Barbara Jung, MD
Dr. Jung is the Thomas J. Layden Endowed Professor of medicine and the Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dr. Jung is a physician scientist with a clinical focus on familial colorectal cancers and a research focus on the inflammatory cytokine activin, a member of the TGFF-beta superfamily. Dr. Jung was the first to show that disruption of activin signaling through mutation, loss of heterozygosity or promoter hypermethylation of activin’s primary receptor leads to increased local colon tumor growth, and decreased migration in colon cancer cells. Her current efforts are focusing on exploring the interaction between the TGF-beta and activin signaling pathways in colorectal cancer and investigating the roles of activin signaling in the tumor stromal environment in tumor metastases of colorectal cancer. Her laboratory has also observed increased activin levels in inflammatory GI diseases including acute pancreatitis and alcoholic hepatitis in human subjects and inhibition of activin signaling as a novel therapeutic approach. In addition, Dr. Jung is committed to understanding the basis for the racial disparities in colorectal cancer and pancreatitis to provide better healthcare options for the diverse patient population at UIC. Over the past 15 years of Dr. Jung’s career in academic medicine, she has mentored more than 15 post-doctoral trainees and co-mentored 14 faculty members and published with many of her mentees. Dr. Jung uses the Socratic method to stimulate critical thinking, and her teaching philosophy is that any moment can be a teaching opportunity.
Waddah A. Alrefai, MD
Dr. Alrefai is a Professor of Medicine and the Director of Collaborative Research at the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Dr. Alrefai is also a Research Career Scientist at the VA. Dr. Alrefai’s research currently focuses on investigating intestinal bile acid and cholesterol absorption with emphasis on understanding their roles in the maintenance of cholesterol homeostasis and in mediating gut- liver crosstalk. Dr. Alrefai’s group has recently developed innovative methods to measure the activity of the bile acid transporters in real time. Using this novel approach, cellular bile acid uptake by different type of cells could be measured directly in living mice and in real time. Studies in Dr. Alrefai’s laboratory are also centered on investigating the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the regulation of cholesterol absorption. Also, the research is currently focusing on development of methods suitable for precision medicine to identify individuals who will respond to blockers of cholesterol absorption in the course of treating hypercholesterolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. Dr. Alrefai is actively engaged in the teaching curriculum of medical students and is currently a co-director of the Digestion and Homeostasis II course of the College of Medicine. He has is currently a primary advisor for MD/PhD students and is highly committed to the mentoring and training the next generation of physician scientists of gastroenterologists.
Office Phone: 312-355-0105
Main Phone Number 312-966-6651