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NIH Grant Expands Investigator Training Program in Digestive Disease Sciences

Drs. Fiocchi and Cominelli will lead Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University in an interdisciplinary program to train young investigators towards research independence.


Claudio Fiocchi, MD, and Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD, have received a five-year, $1.6 million training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support investigators pursuing careers in digestive disease research. The Combined Training Program in Digestive Disease Sciences (CTPDDS) is a collaborative program between Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), extending a decade-long history of joint NIH funding to train investigators in the broad field of gastroenterology.

With this new funding, the program has expanded to support four training positions, two at Cleveland Clinic and two at CWRU. Upon completion of the program, individuals will have the skills needed to transition from a trainee to an independent investigator and successfully compete for funding at the national level. 

“The goal of our program is to train young investigators for a productive academic career and to foster the next generation of research scientists who will lead the way to new discoveries and innovations in digestive health research and care,” said Dr. Fiocchi, staff in Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Inflammation & Immunity.

Training the next generation of research scientists

The program recruits MD, PhD and MD/PhD candidates to join a comprehensive, at least two-year training program that provides experience in basic, translational and clinical research areas. The CTPDDS includes over 50 mentors and co-mentors from 13 departments and programs across Cleveland Clinic and CWRU.

“The strength of the program is its interdisciplinary nature,” said Dr. Cominelli, professor in the Departments of Medicine and Pathology at CWRU School of Medicine. “Trainees select areas of investigation based on their scientific interests and goals and are matched with faculty mentors that provide opportunities in basic or clinical research areas across numerous fields.” 

Trainees can choose from a variety of areas that include inflammatory bowel disease/mucosal immunology, the gut microbiome, metabolic disease, gastrointestinal oncology, liver disease and genetics. 

Individuals interested in additional information about the program can contact Drs. Fiocchi and Cominelli at their respective e-mail addresses, fiocchc@ccf.org and Fabio.Cominelli@uhhospitals.org.

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