David N. Assis, MD, associate professor of medicine (digestive diseases) has received the Colton Award from Yale’s Colton Center for Autoimmunity to further his research on primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).
Assis is replicating the inflammatory autoimmune process that occurs in PSC, an autoimmune liver disease that causes the immune system to attack the bile duct, resulting in scarring and fibrosis inflammation.
“We use bile samples from endoscopy patients to generate three-dimensional organoids, which are multicellular structures in the culture dish that mimic many of the properties of bile duct cells,” said Assis. “We’re looking for signals of inflammation and observing how the immune system attacks the bile duct cells.” Assis hopes this research will uncover patterns of inflammation that can be better targeted by new therapies and personalized medicine.
Assis also is the fellowship director for the Section of Digestive Diseases. In addition to his clinical and research interests in autoimmune and cholestatic liver diseases, he is an active member of the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at Yale.
Since forming one of the nation’s first sections of hepatology and then gastroenterology over 50 years ago, Yale’s Section of Digestive Diseases has had an enduring impact on research and clinical care in gastrointestinal and liver disorders. To learn more about their work, visit Digestive Diseases.