Our Researchers

Meet some of the people who are behind the science that the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation supports. These passionate individuals are working hard to help us better understand what happens in our digestive tracts. The CDHF provides funding to Canadian researchers which supports the discovery and development of new prevention strategies, faster and more accurate diagnoses and, more effective treatments. This section highlights the excellent work of some of the researchers and projects the CDHF has supported.

Current Researchers

CDHF-IMAGINE SPOR collaborative research projects.

The IMAGINE (Inflammation, Microbiome, and Alimentation: Gastro-Intestinal and Neuropsychiatric Effects) Chronic Disease Network involves 17 hospitals/universities and 75 researchers across Canada who will study the interactions between the inflammation, microbiome, diet and mental health in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The IMAGINE Network is one of five chronic disease networks in the SPOR (Strategy for Patient Oriented Research) initiative of CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research).

Premysl Bercik

Dr. Bercik is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology at McMaster University and consultant gastroenterologist at Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton Ontario. He is director of Complex Motility and Celiac Clinics at McMaster University. Dr. Bercik graduated as MD from Charles University, Prague, Czechoslovakia. He obtained his doctorate degree from University of Lausanne, Switzerland, where he studied neural control of gastrointestinal motility. He did his postdoctoral fellowship at McMaster University focusing on animal models of functional gastrointestinal diseases. His basic and clinical research, funded by CIHR and NIH, investigates the role of intestinal bacteria in gut-brain axis signaling, and its relevance to functional gastrointestinal and gluten-related disorders. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers.

Stephen J. Vanner

Dr. Vanner received a undergraduate degree in Life Sciences and a concurrent MD and MSc degree from Queen’s University. After completing his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at Queen’s and he carried out post doctoral research training in enteric neurophysiology at the Vollum Institute in Portland, Oregon. Since returning to Queen’s University in 1991 he has been an attending staff in Gastroenterology at the Kingston General and Hotel Dieu Hospitals and cares for patients with gastrointestinal disorders in both the inpatient and outpatient departments. He performs a full range of endoscopic procedures. He has subspecialty expertise in gastrointestinal motility disorders involving the lower GI tract including the small intestine, colon and anorectum, and is director of the anorectal motility laboratory. He has an established translational research program that examines mechanisms underlying pain signaling and motility in the gastrointestinal tract. He has published extensively, with more than 6,000 research citations. Stephen Vanner is Director of the Gastrointestinal Disease Research Unit (GIDRU) at Queen’s University. He also leads the Canadian Neurogastroenterology Network (CNN), a consortium of IBS researchers throughout Canada. His translational research program examines the pain mechanisms in irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, with a goal of identifying new targets for the development of novel therapies to treat pain. He also investigates the regulation of blood flow in the enteric nervous system. Another particular area of interest has been the investigation and development of colonic cleansing regiments for colonoscopy, with one U.S. patent issued and several pending. In 2016 he was named a co-investigator in a $12.5 million, CIHR funded, large-scale national research project looking at gastrointestinal disease, where his work includes studying the effects of a diet low in some types of carbohydrates on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Past Researchers

Kyra Jones

Rustum Karanjia

Connie Kim

Daniel Mulder

David Reed

David Rodrigues

Katherine Rowland

Asanga Samarakoon

Ted Shapero

Jaclyn Strauss

Lauren Van Der Kraak

Nathalie Vergnolle