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All members of the division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition division share the vision of improving the lives of children with intestinal and liver disorders. Research is an integral step towards this vision and as part of our clinical and academic mission, our team of physicians, nurses and scientists are active involved in clinical, translational and bench research. The division has a long history of clinical care and research, with the main focus of the program being in the areas of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), liver disorders, peptic disease and celiac disease. 

Dr. Kevan Jacobson is the Division Head, Senior Clinician Scientist and Director of the pediatric GI IBD program. Dr Jacobson is involved in clinical care of children with IBD and in clinical and basic research in the field of IBD. He oversees the Pediatric GI IBD database, which currently has data on 1200 children. Dr Jacobson’s clinical areas of interested include the epidemiology of IBD, identifying new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and improving clinical outcomes for children with IBD.

Dr. Richard Schreiber is the division’s senior liver specialist and Director of its pediatric liver transplant program. His clinical research interests include biliary atresia, pediatric viral hepatitis B and C, autoimmune hepatitis and liver transplant. He is co-founder of the Canadian Pediatric Hepatology Research Group, a national collaborative effort to research and help improve the care and outcome of Canadian children with liver disease. He is the lead investigator of a CIHR funded project to examine the feasibility of a home based newborn screening program for biliary atresia using infant stool colour cards. He is co-director of the newly established Canadian Biliary Atresia Registry (CBAR).
Dr. Collin Barker’s research interests focus on celiac disease, GI complications in oncology patients and quality assessment and quality improvement projects within the division of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.

Dr. Orlee Guttman is interested in education and in clinical research. Dr Guttman is currently studying the role of Fibroscan (transient elastography) in evaluating the extent of liver fibrosis in children with primary liver disease and other disorders. She also has an interest in the presence of liver disease and abnormal liver biochemistry in pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease. 

Dr. Vishal Avinashi is interested in clinical characteristics of patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). He is keen to study biomarkers to hopefully decrease the need for endoscopy  in follow up for patients with EoE. He is collaborating with Dr. Edmond Chan (Allergist) to see patients and build the EoE patient registry. He has a strong interest in public health nutrition locally and internationally.

Dr Linda Casey is the Medical Director of the Complex Feeding and Nutrition Service (CFNS). Dr Casey has a strong background in clinical nutrition, in the care of children with short bowel syndrome, and has interests in education and quality assessment and quality improvement projects. 

Dr. Sally Lawrence is involved with clinical research involving patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She has been part of the development of Canadian consensus guildelines for patients with IBD. She is also involved with European collaborators for nutritional studies for the treatment of IBD.

Dr. Alice Foster is involved with clinical studies involving patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. She has a particular interest and is leading projects related to the successful transition of IBD patients from pediatric to adult care.

Basic Science

Dr. Vallance’s research is focused on intestinal microbes and understanding how pathogenic as well as commensal bacteria cause inflammation and disease in the mammalian intestinal tract. For specifics, please see

Since 2002, an endowed chair was established in Pediatric Gastrointestinal and Liver Research at the University of British Columbia, with the support of the CH.I.L.D. Foundation and B.C.'s Children's Hospital. Dr. Bruce Vallance was appointed as the the inaugural recipient of the endowed chair in 2010. 

Dr. Jacobson studies how enteric nerves and their mediators modulate intestinal epithelial barrier integrity and promote intestinal health. He also studies how diet affects susceptibility to IBD. For specifics, please see

Dr. Kevan Jacobson has maintained a research laboratory at the Research Institute since 1998, and in 2004, was named the CH.I.L.D. Foundation Clinical Investigator.  

Dr. Sly studies intestinal macrophages and how different macrophage subsets either drive intestinal inflammation such as occurs in IBD, or promote intestinal healing. For specifics, please see

n 2008, Dr. Sly was recruited to the division and to the Research Institute as an assistant professor and a CH.I.L.D. Foundation Research Scientist. 

See Vancouver Gastrointestinal Disease Research Program

Currently the basic science program has fourteen trainees and staff and the division’s three research laboratories are funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. All three investigators are actively recruiting postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.

SOURCE: Gastroenterology ( )
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