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Digestive Disorders Unit

Yellow flower/biological fractal image for NINR IRP Biobehavioral unit.

About Our Research
Research Team
Selected Publications
Current Activities
Fellowship Positions

About Our Research:

The focus of this program of research is to more fully understand the mechanisms involved in symptom distress related to digestive disorders, specifically the biobehavioral relationships between inflammation and patient symptoms. This research aims to identify genetic or other biologic/physiologic factors that predict patient-related clinical outcomes.

Research Team Members:

Sarah Abey

Sarah Abey, PhD, BSN, RN
Nurse Consultant

Nic Fourie

Nic Fourie, PhD
Research Fellow

Dr. Bridgett Rahim-Williams

Bridgett Rahim-Williams, MA, MPH, PhD
Senior Research Fellow

LeeAnne Sherwin

LeeAnne B. Sherwin, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC
Clinical and Translational Postdoctoral IRTA

Paul SmyserPaul Smyser, BS
Postbac IRTA


Special Volunteers:

Theresa Hardy, BSN, RN

Noriko Kitamura, MD, MPH

Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar, MD

R. Michael Peace
R. Michael Peace, DVM

Paule Joseph

Paule V. Joseph, MSN, RNP-BC, RN, CRRN, CTN-B

Selected Publications

Del Valle-Pinero AY, van Deventer HE, Fourie N, Martino AC, Remaley AT, Patel NS, Henderson WA.  Gastrointestinal permeability in patients with irritable bowel syndrome assessed using a four probe permeability solution.  Clinica Chimica Acta, published online: 14-JAN-2013 DOI: 10.1016/j.cca.2012.12.032.

Henderson WA, Shankar R, Taylor TJ, Del Valle-Pinero A, Kleiner DE,  Kim KH & Youssef NN. Inverse relationship of interleukin-6 and mast cells in children with inflammatory and non-inflammatory abdominal pain phenotypes.  Manuscript World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology, 15-DEC-2012 DOI: 10.4291/wjgp.v3.i6.102. PMC3602438

Henderson WA, Martino AC, Kitamura N, Kim KH, Erlen JA.  Symptom Status Predicts Patient Outcomes in Persons with HIV and Comorbid Liver Disease.  AIDS Research and Treatment, 2012, 169645. 11 pages DOI:10.1155/2012/169645

Peterson VL, Martino AC, Del Valle- Pinero AY, Patel NS, Zhao X, Henderson WA.  Weight Phenotype Diagnostic Test Method: Body Mass Index or Body Fat Percent for Gene Expression.  The Open Obesity Journal, 2012; 4, 18-22.
DOI: 10.2174/1876823701204010018

Peace RM, Majors BL, Patel NS, Wang D, Del Valle-Pinero AY, Martino AC, Henderson WA. Stress and Gene Expression of Individuals with Chronic Abdominal Pain. Biological Research in Nursing, 2012; 14 (4) 405-411. DOI: 10.1177/1099800412458350

Henderson WA, Thomas DA, Cantor FK, Hunter CM.  News from NIH: Pain Management. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2012; published online January 25 DOI: 10.1007/s13142-012-0116-9.

Del Valle-Pinero AY, Martino AC, Taylor TJ, Majors BL, Patel NS, Heitkemper MM, Henderson WA.  Pro-Inflammatory Chemokine C-C Motif Ligand 16 (CCL-16) Dysregulation in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): A Pilot Study. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2011; 23(12) 1092-7.

Taylor TJ, Youssef NN, Shankar R, Kleiner DE, & Henderson WA. The Association of Mast Cells and Serotonin in Children with Chronic Abdominal Pain of Unknown Origin. Biomed Central Gastroenterology, Research Notes 2010; Oct 21; 3(1):265.

Henderson WA & Hadigan CM. In Reply: Liver Histology Damage in Children with Chronic Hepatitis C. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 2010; 29 (2) 190.

Henderson WA, Schlenk EA, Kim KH, Hadigan CM, Martino AC, Sereika SM, & Erlen JA.  Validation of the MOS-HIV as a Measure of Health-Related Quality of Life in Persons Living with HIV and Liver Disease. AIDS Care 2010; 05 Feb.: 1-8.

Henderson WA, Shankar R, Gill JM, Kim KH, Ghany MG, Skanderson M, & Butt AA. Hepatitis C Progressing to Hepatocellular Carcinoma: The HCV Dialysis Patient in Dilemma. Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2010; 17: 59-64

Henderson WA, Shankar R,  Feld JJ, & Hadigan CM. Symptomatic and Pathophysiologic Predictors of Hepatitis C Virus Progression in Pediatric Patients. The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal 2009; 28 (8): 724-727.

Sabri M, Di Lorenzo C, Henderson WA, Thompson, W, Barksdale, E, & Khan S.  Colon Cleansing with Oral Sodium Phosphate in Adolescents: Dose, Efficacy, Acceptability and Safety. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2008; 103: 1-7.

Henderson WA, Fall-Dickson JM, Schlenk EA, Kim KH, Matthews JT, & Erlen JA. Effects of Liver Disease on the Well-being of Persons Living with HIV.  Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS care 2008; 19(5): 368-374.

Current Activities

Evaluation and Treatment Protocol for Potential Research Participants with Digestive Disorders (12-NR-0195). PI: Henderson WA

The purpose of the study is to allow us to examine and treat people with digestive disorders.

Symptom Distress Mechanisms in Digestive Disorders (1ZIANR000018-03), PI: Henderson WA.

Brain-gut interactions in overweight and normal weight patients with chronic abdominal pain (09-NR-0064). PI: Henderson WA

The objective of the Brain-Gut Natural History study is to assess the specific gastrointestinal symptoms and pathophysiology of chronic abdominal pain of unknown origin at the molecular level.  This research tests the hypothesis that chronic abdominal pain of unknown etiology has an inflammatory mechanism in overweight and normal weight patients with and without chronic abdominal pain of unknown origin.

Gastrointestinal Mucosa Genetic Correlates in Pediatric Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (OHSR/NIH #3906). PI: Henderson WA, Collaborator and MTA with Nader N. Youssef, MD at Atlantic Health, IRB approval #R07-09-009.

Bio-behavioral Predictors of Hepatocellular Carcinoma in HCV Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (OHSR/NIH # 3917). PI: Henderson WA, Collaborative effort with NIDDK & Adeel Butt, MD (5K23DA016175-04) at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, IRB approval #0403077.

Burden of Hepatitis C Virus in Children and Predictors of Adherence with Treatment (OHSR/NIH #3918). PI: Henderson WA, Co-investigator and MTA with Seema Khan, MD at A.I. Dupont/ Nemours Delaware Hospital System, IRB approval #2006-127.

Immuno-Genetic Mechanisms in Gastrointestinal Symptom Distress (09-NR-N228). PI: Henderson WA

Clinical and Translational Biobehavioral Applications (09-NR-N218). PI: Henderson WA 

Fellowship Positions

Postdoctoral Fellow Position:
Bio-behavioral Applications in GI Disorders

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