The Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition has an array of faculty members and fellows who are involved in a wide variety of investigations to improve clinical healthcare. 

The Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Research Program consists of numerous industry-sponsored multi-center as well as single investigator-initiated trials.  Our current trials are focused on the areas of Celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, NASH, and Ulcerative Colitis.    

UK Endoscopy Center is focusing on projects in which endoscopy is the subject under investigation. These include new endoscopic techniques, assessment of endoscopic technologies, and evaluation of endoscopy outcomes.  A variety of active research protocols in endoscopy are currently underway. 

Our research coordinators have over 22 years combined research experience. For more information please call 859-323-6423.

Terrence Barrett, MD Lab:  A major goal in the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the completion of mucosal repair. The failure to heal ulcers is a characteristic finding in IBD and typifies why patients experience weight loss with chronic diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, intestinal obstruction and severe abdominal pain. Unfortunately, many attempts to treat IBD fail to achieve this goal resulting in surgical interventions.

The goal of the Barrett lab is to investigate the cause of non-healing ulceration in IBD. Studies in our lab utilize murine and in vitro models of IBD as well as tissue collected from patients during endoscopic procedures. Our goal is to identify therapeutic targets to allow for enhanced mucosal repair in IBD.

Hep C Research: There are about 3.5 million people in the United States that are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). About 56,000 people infected with chronic HCV live in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Community Access, Retention in care, and Engagement for hepatitis C (CARE-C) study aims to learn what obstacles stop patients from beginning treatment for HCV, and hopes to increase access to HCV care in the Commonwealth. There are four arms to the study – three in person treatment arms (completed) and one telemedicine arm (ongoing).

Two arms of the study randomized subjects 1:1 between a standard of care arm and an enhanced care arm. The standard of care was provided by the HCV care team (consisting of provider, specialty pharmacist, and treatment coordinator) in the UK Medicine Specialties Clinic. The enhanced care arm included the addition of a psychosocial assessment and the help of a patient navigator and a social worker to the standard of care.

The third arm (a “modified” ECHO approach) of the study allowed patients to receive treatment from their local medical provider. Community providers learned how to treat HCV through a training course given by the research group, and their patients only had to be seen one time by the HCV care team at the UK Medicine Specialties clinic.

The fourth arm of the study is a telemedicine arm. Subjects are seen by the HCV care team through a telemedicine approach. The aim is to compare a fully telemedicine approach to HCV care given in a face-to-face manner. Subjects are followed from their first visit through the start of HCV treatment to observe what factors impact treatment start in the telemedicine arm compared to the face-to-face arms.