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Robert O. Heuckeroth, MD, PhD
Robert O. Heuckeroth
Research Director, Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility

Dr. Heuckeroth investigates mechanisms controlling bowel motility in order to find new ways to treat, diagnose, and prevent intestinal motility disorders. His research is focused on enteric nervous system and smooth muscle biology as he works to find new ways to improve the lives of children with bowel motility disorders.

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Bio

In 1990, Dr. Heuckeroth completed his MD and PhD studies at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and trained in pediatrics and pediatric gastroenterology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He became a faculty member at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1995 and was promoted to full professor in 2010. While in St. Louis, Dr. Heuckeroth practiced medicine as a pediatric gastroenterologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and ran a basic research lab. He spent 25 % of his time on direct care of children with serious liver, bowel, and pancreatic disease and 75% of his time doing research. His basic research has focused on enteric nervous system development since 1993 when the very first genetic underpinnings for human intestinal motility disorders were discovered.

In 2013, Dr. Heuckeroth came to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania to develop new translational research programs focused on Hirschsprung disease, intestinal pseudoobstruction syndrome, gastroparesis, and other intestinal motility disorders. In 2017, he began to build a research program focused on ACTG2 mutations and visceral myopathy (smooth muscle disease). Dr. Heuckeroth currently runs a basic research lab, cares for children with serious bowel motility disorders, and co-directs the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility at CHOP’. He is a professor of Pediatrics and the Irma and Norman Braman Endowed Chair for Research in GI Motility Disorders.

Dr. Heuckeroth’’s undergraduate research training was in organic chemistry where he pursued organic synthesis and photochemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Mariano. His PhD research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, where he studied biochemistry and cell biology. This work was focused on basic mechanisms of protein acylation. Dr. Heuckeroth’s post-doctoral studies were in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey Milbrandt where he studied neurobiology, molecular biology, developmental biology, and genetics. His studies in Dr. Milbrandt’s lab focused on the identification and characterization of a novel family of neurotrophic factors that activate the RET transmembrane tyrosine kinase.

Dr. Heuckeroth’s current research is directed at understanding the molecular mechanisms that underlie human intestinal motility disorders with the goal of finding better ways to diagnose, treat, cure, and prevent serious intestinal motility disorders. He hopes to take advantage of new developments in basic science to improve the lives of children with these disorders.

Education and Training

BS, University of Maryland (Chemistry), 1983

MD, Washington University School of Medicine, 1990

PhD, Washington University School of Medicine (Biochemistry), 1990

Clinical Fellowship, St. Louis Children's Hospital (Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition), 1993

Research Fellowship, Washington University School of Medicine, 1995

Titles and Academic Titles

Research Director, Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility

Attending Physician

Irma and Norman Braman Endowed Chair for Research in GI Motility Disorders

Professor of Pediatrics

Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology

Professional Memberships

American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1986-

American Board of Pediatrics, 1996-

American Gastroenterological Association, 1997-

Society for Neuroscience, 2000-

Society for Pediatric Research, 2000-

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, 2002-

American Pediatric Society, 2007-

American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2008

Professional Awards

Kebar S. Chouke Prize and George F. Gill Prize in Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine

Olin Fellowship, Washington University School of Medicine

Gerty T. Cori Fellowship Award, Washington University School of Medicine

George F. Gill Prize in Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine

Alpha Omega Alpha, Washington University School of Medicine

Lucille P. Markey Charitable Trust Fellowship Award

Young Investigator Award from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Miles and Shirley Fiterman Foundation Basic Research Award from the American Gastroenterological Association

Glaxo Wellcome Institute of Digestive Health Research Award

Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Neurogastroenterology and Motility Prize from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Harvey R. Colton M.D. Achievement Award from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Alumni Endowed Professor of Pediatrics from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Irma and Norman Braman Endowed Professorship from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation

Publication Highlights