In This Section

Louis R. Ghanem, MD, PhD
Louis R. Ghanem, MD, PhD
Attending Physician

Dr. Ghanem investigates the impact of transcriptional gene expression controls and mRNA processing upon the severity and progression of pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.



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Dr. Ghanem's research involves several active projects, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) tissue biomarker discovery, IBD risk variant-to-effector gene mapping studies, and the role of RNA-binding proteins on T cell function and differentiation as well as maintenance of the intestinal epithelium.

Current pediatric IBD biomarkers and clinical data have a limited ability to predict aggressive disease behavior and treatment response. Thus, there is a need to identify superior biomarkers to improve the diagnosis and treatment of children with IBD. Dr. Ghanem is developing computational models that predict IBD disease progression by combining clinical and genetic data with gene expression and mRNA alternative splicing data from intestinal biopsies.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 200 IBD genetic risk loci. However, GWAS only report genomic signals associated with a given trait and not necessarily the precise location or the precise tissues in which they are active, nor do these signals identify culprit genes in most instances. Dr. Ghanem and his team are therefore working to identify and characterize the function of causal variants at IBD-associated GWAS loci, as well as identify their corresponding effector genes, in the intestinal epithelium.

In addition, Dr. Ghanem is studying the role of the Poly(c) binding protein family (Pcbp) of RNA-binding proteins on T cell function and inflammation. CD4+ T cells drive mucosal inflammation in IBD. This study uses animal models to better understand how post-transcriptional gene regulation mediated by Pcbp:RNA interactions controls CD4+ T cell activation and intestinal inflammation.

The human intestinal epithelium is replenished every 5-7 days and depends upon intestinal stem cell renewal and progenitor cell expansion for proper function. Dr. Ghanem is using animal models and intestinal epithelial stem cell cultures called enteroids to understand how mRNA processing controlled by Pcbp proteins impacts stem cell function and progenitor cell differentiation.

Education and Training

BA, Rutgers University (Economics), 1992

BS, Montclair State University (Biochemistry), 1996

PhD, University of Pittsburgh (Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics), 2005

MD, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

Fellowship, Childen's Hospital of Philadelphia (Pediatric Gastroenterology), 2012

Titles and Academic Titles

Attending Physician

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

American Academy of Pediatrics, 2006-

American Gastroenterological Association, 2009-

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, 2009-

Publication Highlights