University of Michigan Center for Gastrointestinal Research


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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 School.

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 related research.

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.

News & Events


4/08/16 - Deadline for Pilot Feasibility Applications

5/06/17 - Digestive Disease Week in Chicago, IL.

We are one of 17 Silvio O. Conte Digestive Diseases Research Core Centers

Contact Us:

U-M Health System
6520 MSRB1
1150 West Medical Center
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


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