Welcome to the Web site for the University of Michigan Center for Gastrointestinal Research (UMCGR). Our Center strives to provide
a physical and intellectual environment conducive to catalyzing
collaborative research efforts amongst clinical and basic
investigators interested in the role of gut hormones in health
and disease. This site will provide an overview of the Center's
goals and organization.
|Chung Owyang, M.D.
History of the Center -
The Center has entered its 30th year of NIH funding and service
to the research community at the University of Michigan as
of December 2014. The University of Michigan established a
reputation many years ago as a leading institution in gastrointestinal
research with the clinical expertise of H. Marvin Pollard
and the investigative talents of Horace Davenport. By the
early 1980's the pool of researchers interested in gastroenterology
had diminished considerably to the extent that no investigators
in the gastrointestinal unit had independent grant funding
from the NIH and no recognizable interdisciplinary collaborative
efforts were ongoing. In the early 1980s, the University committed
major new resources in the form of research space and start-up
funding to gastroenterology and recruited Drs. Tadataka Yamada
and Chung Owyang to rebuild the Division of Gastroenterology.
|Juanita Merchant, M.D., Ph.D.
Because of their specific research in neurohumoral peptides
of the gut, which had broad implications in a wide variety
of systems, they were particularly well suited for establishing
interdisciplinary investigative projects. With this topic
as a focus, it was possible to galvanize a small group of
established scientists at the University of Michigan into
a collaborative proposal for establishment of a Center for
Digestive Diseases at the University of Michigan. This proposal
and a simultaneous proposal for a NIH funded gastrointestinal
research training program were both successfully funded. These
two grants have served as the foundation on which research
interests in digestive diseases were developed and greatly
expanded at the University of Michigan. The remarkable impact
of the Michigan Gastrointestinal Peptide Research Center is
further exemplified by the fact that now, in contrast to the
situation of just a few years ago, funding for research related
to this Digestive Disease Center represents nearly 15% of
the total research base of the University of Michigan Medical
|John A. Williams, M.D. Ph.D.
The Center is comprised of 65 primary Investigators who have
demonstrated a mutual interest in its various activities and
contributed substantially to its research base by participating
in Core laboratories, serving on committees, or engaging in
collaborative interactions with other Center Investigators.
Although the Investigators of the Center have diverse research
goals, a common thread of interest in research ties their
laboratories through a focus on the biochemistry or physiology
of the neurohormonal mediators of communication between different
cells or organs of the body. Some Investigators focus on basic
molecular research while others work on more integrated systems.
Some work primarily on gastrointestinal research problems
with only a peripheral interest in peptide hormones while
others work with gut peptides in non-gastroenteric organs.
Over the course of the previous 5 year funding cycle the Center
has brought its Investigators together in a network of collaboration
that has broadened the horizons of each of the individual
laboratories and moreover expanded interest in digestive disease
|M. Bishr Omary, M.D. Ph.D.
Our Center disseminates new information, provides a forum
for intellectual exchange and helps to identify specific questions
amenable to multilateral collaborative research approaches.
It provides a collective expertise, which can be tapped through
the various Core Laboratories structured within the Center.
The availability of such expertise and Core services enables
investigators to widen the scope of their research. Through
the mechanism of Pilot/Feasibility Project funding, investigators
pursue new areas of research as well as develop talented young
associates in their laboratories. The Center, in short, has
become the fulcrum of activity that galvanizes the efforts
of the large and established group of investigators in gut
peptides that exists at the University of Michigan.