Leadership

Pankaj Jay Pasricha, M.D.

Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology

Vice Chair of Medicine Innovation and Commercialization

Professor of Medicine

Professor of Neuroscience

Professor of Innovation Management, Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business

 

Dr. Pankaj Jay Pasricha received his M.D. degree from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in 1982. Subsequently he trained in internal medicine and pulmonology at Georgetown University-DC General Hospital and Tufts-New England Medical Center, respectively. Thereafter he trained in Gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and then stayed on faculty at Johns Hopkins University, as Director of Therapeutic Endoscopy at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Associate Director of the Marvin Schuster Center for Gastrointestinal Motility.In 1997 Dr Pasricha assumed leadership of the GI Division at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was the Bassel and Frances Blanton Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine until August 2007 prior to assuming position at Stanford as Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

These diverse appointments reflect Dr. Pasricha’s research interests, which span endoscopic, clinical and bench research. He has been a recipient of federal funding for his research since 1995 and currently is principal investigator on several federal grants, in addition to numerous other grants and awards. His laboratory is interested in molecular mechanisms of visceral pain and restoration of enteric neural function with novel strategies including neural stem cell transplants. His clinical interests include GI motility disorders and abdominal pain as well as the development of novel endoscopic procedures and devices. He has consistently been on Castle Connelly list America’s “Top Docs” as well as “Best Doctors” in America. Dr Pasricha is currently the chair of the NIH-funded multi-center gastroparesis consortium. In addition, he served on the National Commission on Digestive Diseases, appointed by the Congress to provide a “roadmap” for progress in gastrointestinal disorders. He is senior editorial advisor for Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Associate Editor for Gastroenterology, Associate Editor for the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and in the past, Associate Editor for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in addition to being on several editorial boards for other journal including Gastroenterology. He has several dozen patents or patent applications related to gastrointestinal diagnostics and therapeutics, and is a consultant to many corporations, in addition to founding two companies. He has authored more than 200 manuscripts and book chapters including contributions to Cecil Textbook of Medicine, Yamada Textbook of Gastroenterology and Goodman and Gilman’s Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics; he has also edited and authored a textbook on visceral pain.

 

In 1997 Dr Pasricha assumed leadership of the GI Division at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was the Bassel and Frances Blanton Distinguished Professorship in Internal Medicine until August 2007 prior to assuming position at Stanford as Chief, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. In 2012, Dr. Pasricha moved back to Johns Hopkins, where he is  Professor of Medicine, Director of Digestive Disorders (Bayview) and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PI in front of his high school, St. Edward’s, in Simla, India where he learnt most of what he knows today!

Research Faculty

Liansheng Liu, M.D.

Research Associate

 

Dr. Liu is interested in understanding the mechanisms of visceral hyperalgesia in functional dyspepsia (FD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic pancreatitis; 1) how visceral disturbances in early life can result in persistent behavioral and emotional abnormalities; 2) how the specific peripheral and central afferents that is sensitized and lead to chronic visceral hypersensitivity; 3) the role of descending from the brain to the spinal cord or gut in visceral hyperalgesia. 4) explore novel approaches of pharmacological treatments for different animal model of functional gastrointestinal disorders and chronic pancreatitis. 

 

 

Qian Li, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

 

Dr. Li has a strong research background in molecular and neuronal pharmacology in the central nervous system, especially in the serotonergic system. Currently, her research interests are the regulation in the brain-gut axis, an important neurocircuitry that plays an essential role for interaction of gastrointestinal system and central nervous system. Specifically, Dr. Li's research is focused on the effects of brain-gut axis on the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal disorders, such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia

 

 

 

Subhash Kulkarni, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine

 

Dr.Kulkarni received his PhD from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and he completed his post-doctoral training in the Gastroenterology Department at Stanford University. His research has been focused on the origin and development of the enteric nervous system and understanding the pathways that can be manipulated to create cell and matrix based transplantational and regenerative therapies of enteric neuronal disorders.

 

 

 

Yaohui Zhu, Ph.D.

Research Associate

 

Dr. Zhu’s research focuses on visceral nociception and gut neuromotility, in which the ion channels are evaluated and characterized.

 

Research Technologists

Jenna Leser, B.A.

Research Technologist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mithra Kumar, M.S.

Research Specialist

 

 

 

 

Mithra completed her Master’s degree in Biotechnology with specialization in Molecular Targets and Drug Discovery Technologies from Johns Hopkins University. She has prior research experience in pharmacognosy, bioassay development, and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics for CNS drugs. Her current research is focused on developing high throughput and high content assays that can be used to screen chemical libraries for compounds that can target signaling pathways in the enteric nervous system. 

Jenna graduated from the Johns Hopkins University in 2015. In addition to her undergraduate studies in biology, she began research in the END-PAIN Laboratory to further her knowledge in developmental and cellular biology. Her skills now include cardiac perfusion, immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. She applies these skills to various projects involving the classification of enteric stem cells, motility of the gut through conditional knock-outs, identification of the gut-brain axis, and the innervation of the pancreas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Research Fellows

Monalee Saha, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow

 

Dr.Saha is interested in mapping out the signaling pathway involved in the regulation of neurogenesis in the adult ENS. She is also investigating the use of induced pleuripotenet stem cells (iPSC) derived enteric neural crest cells (eNCC) to study the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease.

 

 

Shadi Yarandi, MD

Clinical Gastroenterology Fellow

 

Dr. Yarandi received her MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. She then finished her internal medicine residency at Emory University before starting her fellowship in gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University. Before her fellowship, she had completed several studies in the field of gastrointestinal disorders, especially disorders of gastrointestinal motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders. At Emory University, her main focus was on the effects of high fat diet on gastrointestinal motility and alteration in microRNA profile of GI epithelial cell in animals exposed to high-fat diet. In one of her clinical research studies, she has studied the overlap between GERD, IBS and functional dyspepsia in a large population based study. She has also recently presented the results of her study about prevalence of sub-clinical iron deficiency in patients with IBS at American College of Gastroenterology. As a fellow, she is currently working with Dr. Pasricha on the role of circadian genes on intestinal motility and the effects of gut microbiota on expression of circadian genes in the GI tract and CNS.

Graduate Students

Lucas Santos

PhD student, Department of Biomedical Engineering

 

 

 

Lucas is a 2nd-year PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His primary research interests lie in identifying the physiological mechanisms mediating the gut-brain axis, with the aim to develop nerve stimulation therapies for gastrointestinal, psychological, and/or other disorders. Currently, he is investigating a novel experimental nerve stimulation paradigm to stimulate gastric vagus nerves. Furthermore, he is also employing viral tracing techniques to identify the neuronal circuits involved in the gut-brain axis, specifically related to anxiety and depression derived from gastrointestinal origin.

Undergraduate Students

Anna Hasche

Junior, Molecular and Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins University