What we do

The Center for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Nutrition Innovation (GENI) aims to address the causes and consequences of the growing epidemic of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes through research into contributions from genetics, environment, nutrition, and lifestyle. A prime focus is the relationship of weight issues beginning in childhood that lead to the development of serious liver disorders, cardiovascular disease, and cancers in young adults. New findings suggest that there are ways to intervene, which require sophisticated, interactive approaches with newly available technologies. Our goal is to identify children at risk for these disorders, develop new diagnostic and treatment approaches, and change the life trajectories of these children toward a healthier future.

How we do it

Our current research goals include:

  • Stratify future risk in diverse longitudinal clinical cohorts of well and diseased children with a focus on metabolic wellness
  • Multi-omics and clinical phenotyping as a basis of risk stratification by discovering diet, microbial or host-derived serum biomarkers of future disease
  • Incorporation of guidance from an adult specialist for early identification of preventable adult diseases
  • Develop guidance for transition of adolescent patients with metabolic, endocrine, or congenital liver and GI disorders to adult health care.
  • Focused pre-clinical modeling and testing
  • Therapeutic target discovery and molecular interventions

Who we help

Current targeted populations and conditions include:

  • Metabolic Syndrome: Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) risk; Diabetes risk; cardiovascular risk
  • Congenital GI & Liver Disorders: Short Gut; Biliary Atresia and Cholestatic Diseases
  • Children with endocrine disorders:Type 2 Diabetes with microvascular complications (T2DM+)
  • Children with chronic conditions: Nutritional optimization to reduce future risk