The Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) research team at Indiana University School of Medicine is lead by some of the best board certified physicians in internal medicine and gastroenterology. The program started in 2010 with a single registry study. In 2012, the first research coordinator was hired and the program expanded to include three pharmaceutical clinical trials. In July 2013, Dr. Sashidhar Sagi joined the team, and one year later Dr. Matthew Bohm joined as well. In 2015, Dr. Monika Fischer took over as the IBD Program Director, and the IBD research program was running seven pharmaceutical clinical trials, four investigator initiated trials, and one registry study. In 2016, the research team added clinical research specialist, and team leader, Tonika Peterson, as well as clinical research nurse Debbie Drenzyk. The team continued to grow with the addition of advance practice provider Laura Worley, PA-C, and the coordinator research staff had grown to a team of five with a research nurse, two research coordinators, and two research technicians. That same year the volume of research had skyrocketed to include three registry studies, seven investigator initiated studies, and 28 pharmaceutical clinical trials.
Research areas of interest include biomarkers of disease activity and severity in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), small bowel endoscopy, Clostridium difficile infections (CDI), anemia in inflammatory bowel disease, nutrition for patients with IBD, and pharmaceutical clinical trials in IBD.
Over the lifetime of the program many partnerships have developed. The team works very closely with the Indiana Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America participating and hosting fundraising events, patient information events, clinical trials such as SPARC IBD, and quality improvement initiative studies like IBD QORUS. Collaborations with other physicians at several other research centers have allowed us to further understand Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI), IBD, and provide additional treatment opportunities to our patients.
The team is continuously developing and conducting innovative studies to help further understand and solve problems associated with IBD and CDI. Dr. Fischer has built one of the largest FMT databases to further examine the efficacy and outcomes on patients receiving FMTs. Unique research topics the team has explored includes studies on the safety and efficacy of biologic therapies for inflammatory bowel disease in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis, various outcomes in transplant patients with IBD and CDI, Randomized controlled trial of encapsulated fecal microbiota for Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus decolonization, efficacy outcomes of different pharmaceutical therapies on patients with IBD, and non-invasive vagal nerve stimulation in the treatment of Crohn’s disease.
IBD Research faculty are widely published in leading journals and text books as a result of their work. They have presented their research at conferences all over the world, and are frequently asked to be guest speakers at various events.