Tufts Medical Center is recognized as a leader in digestive disease research. The GRASP Digestive Disease Core Center (our Division’s major research center) has been supported by the NIH for 23 years and is one of a handful of NIH funded centers in the U.S. The Center has more than 30 participating faculty with diversified research interests including microbial pathogenesis, developmental biology, cancer and immunology.
The Division also has a strong focus on both basic and clinical research in the areas of gastronenterology and hepatology. To learn more about our major research programs, please read below.
Joel V. Weinstock, MD
Dr. Joel V. Weinstock is Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Tufts Medical Center. He received his medical training at the University of Michigan and was Chief of the Center for Digestive Disease at the University of Iowa prior coming to this institution.
Dr. Weinstock is a world authority on inflammatory conditions of the intestine. His clinical specialty is in inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. He has active research programs both in clinical studies related to inflammatory bowel disease as well as in basic mechanisms of immune regulation. He developed the “hygiene hypothesis,” and he is exploring how alterations in intestinal flora and fauna affect intestinal inflammation. He is world-renowned for his study of helminths and how they work to modulate host immunity.
Peter Bonis, MD
Dr. Bonis is an internationally-recognized authority in study design and evidence-based medicine. He conducts methodological and translational work in gastroenterology and hepatology. He is a part-time member of the clinical faculty where his focuses on educating the next generation of gastroenterologists and hepatologists. His clinical interests include general gastroenterology and hepatology, and particularly eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders.
Moises Guelrud, MD
Dr. Moises Guelrud is currently working on a number of clinical research projects including endoscopic ablation in gastric intestinal metaplasia, chromoendoscopy in gastric intestinal metaplasia and gastric cancer, endoscopic ablation therapies in Barrett’s esophagus, endoscopic ablation of Schatzki’s ring, and evaluation of a new solution to perform mucosal resection of large colon polyps.
Tasmin Knox, MD
Dr. Tamsin Knox has NIH research support to study the nutrition and gastrointestinal function in HIV infection. Dr. Knox's interests are in HIV, liver disease and cytochrome metabolism. She is also an associate director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC) at Tufts Medical Center supported by the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Tufts-CTSI).
Alan S. Kopin, MD
Dr. Alan Kopin is an internationally renowned authority on the cloning and pharmacologic function of peptide hormone receptors. Dr. Kopin is a recipient of several national and international awards for his research and is regarded as one of the outstanding investigators in gastroenterology.
Joel B. Mason, MD
Dr. Mason’s primary research interests pertain to nutrition in the prevention of cancer. His laboratory focuses on two nutritional factors (B-vitamin intake and obesity) as determinants of cancer risk in the colorectum, breast and prostate. This research program encompasses cell culture studies, animal models of carcinogenesis, as well as clinical trials and studies in human subjects.
Dr. Mason’s group is recognized internationally for elucidating molecular and cellular pathways by which dietary intake of the B-vitamin, folate, protects against colon cancer in laboratory animals and for the translational studies that have examined the relevance of these findings in human subjects.
Andrew Plaut, MD
Dr. Plaut is a staff physician with particular interests in digestive diseases, specifically those patients who have unexplained abdominal pain, diarrhea, abnormal digestion and absorption from the intestine and inflammatory diseases of both the upper and lower intestine, including inflammatory bowel disease.
His major research is in the area of mucosal immunology and microbiology, and he is presently focused on diseases mediated by IgA deposition into tissues, most notably the kidney disease IgA nephropathy (Berger’s disease). This is a leading cause of glomerulonephritis worldwide and the most common cause of kidney failure based on injury to the kidney glomeruli.
Dr. Plaut and his colleague Dr. Jiazhou Qiu are developing bacterial IgA proteases for treatment of these disorders, with the intent to reverse the kidney inflammation that leads to kidney failure. Earlier, Dr. Plaut collaborated with Dr. William Bachovchin at Tufts University’s Department of Biochemistry in developing the DPPIV inhibitory drugs now being used to treat Type II diabetes.
Jatin Roper, MD
Dr. Roper, an Instructor in the Division of Gastroenterology and recent graduate of the Tufts Medical Center Gastroenterology Fellowship, has received a Fellowship to Faculty Transition Award from the AGA Foundation to support his research interests. His work is focused on the identification of signaling pathways and genetic alterations responsible for the transition of normal colonic epithelium to adenoma, and progression of adenoma to cancer.
He uses three unique experimental models developed with Dr. Kenneth Hung: 1) a genetically engineered mouse model for sporadic adenoma and colorectal cancer which recapitulates common genetic mutations found in human colorectal adenomas and cancers; 2) immortalized mouse colorectal cancer cell lines; and 3) a hybrid in vitro-orthotopic transplant mouse model in which mouse colorectal cancer cells are transplanted into the colons of mice. Optical colonoscopy, confocal endomicroscopy, and PET scanning are used to assess tumor growth and/or regression in a longitudinal manner.