Understanding the Biological Processes of Digestive Disease

Disorders of the digestive system are among the most prev­alent and persistent health problems today, yet relatively little is known about their causes. These complex illnesses are best studied through collaborations, where interdisci­plinary information-sharing can lead to transformational research breakthroughs.

In order to foster such a collaborative environment, a grant from Helmsley helped the Rockefeller University establish the Center for Basic and Translational Research on Disorders of the Digestive System (CDDS) in 2012.

Investigators at CDDS are working to advance today’s understanding of digestive disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, infectious diseases, cancer, obesity and metabol­ic disorders. CDDS supports translational research that integrates basic studies in Rocke­feller University laboratories and clinical investigations that often leverage the Rockefeller University Hospital.

The clinical scholars whose training has been supported by Helmsley are well-prepared to embark on careers in translational research as we further enhance our supportive environment so that center scientists can pursue unexplored and unconventional questions about the biology of the digestive system.

Dr. Barry Coller, director of CDDS

Support from Helmsley also provides rigorous training opportunities for future leaders in the field through fellowships for postdoctoral and graduate students, as well as a Clinical Scholars Program for training of physician-scientists.

Helmsley fellows and clinical scholars have carried out a broad range of research projects examining intestinal immunology, hepatitis C, bacterial virulence inhibitors, cancer ther­apies and the microbiome. Several fellows have won prestigious early career grants from the National Institutes of Health after working with CDDS.

Hosting noteworthy lectures, international symposia, seminars and retreats for the biomedical research community, the Rockefeller University has utilized Trust funding to help convene researchers, scientists and clinicians from various fields every year to share ideas and gain fresh insights.

Widely recognized as one of the world’s leading scientific institutions with a research hospital on campus, the Rockefeller University is home to a truly ideal environment for fostering translational science and teaching future researchers about interdisciplinary approaches.