The Center for Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Nutrition Innovation (GENI) aims to address the causes and consequences of the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, and resulting metabolic impairments like type 2 diabetes, through research into contributions from genetic, environmental, nutritional, and lifestyle factors. A prime focus is the relationship of weight issues beginning in childhood that can lead to the development of a large portion of society with serious liver disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and early-onset cancers as young adults. These issues also contribute to affecting outcomes and response to therapies for a variety of childhood disorders. 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.

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 genetic, social, 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 healthcare
  • Pre-clinical disease modeling and therapeutic testing
  • Therapeutic target discovery and molecular interventions