Harvard Digestive Diseases Center : NIDDK

Harvard Digestive Diseases Center

Children's Hospital, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center,
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and
Center for Blood Research, Boston, MA

Director: Marian Neutra, Ph.D.
Associate Directors: Richard Blumberg, M.D., Ph.D., Wayne Lencer, M.D., Arthur Mercurio, Ph.D.
Administrator: Peter Hague

Center Focus

The Harvard Digestive Diseases Center (HDDC) represents a consortium of 60 investigators engaged in basic research relevant to digestive diseases. The scientific focus of the HDDC is epithelial structure and function. Four broad areas are represented: (1) epithelial cell function in digestion, absorption, and malabsorption; (2) epithelial-microbial interactions in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases; (3) epithelial cell interactions involved in host defense and vaccine development; and (4) epithelial cell growth, differentiation, and carcinogenesis. Members' laboratories are located primarily in Harvard Medical School and three affiliated hospitals: Children's Hospital Medical Center (CHMC), Beth-Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital; seven neighboring institutions are also represented. The HDDC began its 15th year in September of 1998 under the Directorship of Dr. Marian R. Neutra with the Administrative core located at CHMC. In 1998, the research base for active members totaled over $15.5 million annually, and HDDC members are training 256 postdoctoral fellows and 37 predoctoral students. Twenty-six associate members, defined as young investigators not yet independently funded, are also involved.

Four newly revised scientific cores support the research of Center members and their trainees: an Imaging Core for electron microscopy, light and epifluorescence microscopy, and confocal microscopy; an Epithelial Cell Function Core for polarized epithelial cell culture, electrophysiology, and heterologous gene expression; a Biochemistry/Biophysics Core for protein and lipid biochemistry, peptide libraries, and membrane fractionation and analysis; and an Immunology and Microbiology Core for bacterial strains and culture, vectors, lymphocyte isolation and analysis, and immunoassays. The HDDC funds Pilot and feasibility grants targeted to young investigators and competitive mini-sabbatical awards to foster new collaborations and the acquisition of new technologies. An Enrichment Program includes four seminar series focused on epithelial cell biology, mucosal immunology, microbiology, and adult and pediatric gastroenterology and two annual half-day mini-symposiums focused on recent advances in basic research relevant to digestive disease. These HDDC program works coordinately to address the long-term objective of the HDDC, which is to enhance our understanding and knowledge of digestive disease and thereby improve the care of patients with these conditions.


Core Facilities

  • Imaging
  • Epithelial Cell Function
  • Lipid and Protein Biochemistry/Biophysics
  • Immunology and Microbiology

For further information, visit the Harvard DD Center homepage (under construction).

Page last updated: November 25, 2008

General inquiries may be addressed to: Office of Communications & Public Liaison
Building 31. Rm 9A06
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
For information about NIDDK programs: 301.496.3583

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