The College of Medicine Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition has an array of faculty members and fellows who are involved in a wide variety of investigations to improve clinical health care. The division consists of numerous industry-sponsored multi-center and single investigator-initiated trials. Our current trials are focused on the areas of celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and ulcerative colitis.

The UK Endoscopy Center is focusing on projects in which endoscopy is the subject under investigation. These include new endoscopic techniques, assessment of endoscopic technologies, and evaluation of endoscopy outcomes. A variety of active research protocols in endoscopy are currently underway. 

Our research coordinators have over 22 years combined research experience. For more information please call 859-323-6423.

Headshot of Dr. Terrence Barrett
Dr. Terrence Barrett

Terrence Barrett, MD, Lab

A major goal in the treatment of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the completion of mucosal repair. The failure to heal ulcers is a characteristic finding in IBD and typifies why patients experience weight loss with chronic diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, intestinal obstruction, and severe abdominal pain. Unfortunately, many attempts to treat IBD fail to achieve this goal resulting in surgical interventions.

The goal of the Barrett Lab is to investigate the cause of non-healing ulceration in IBD. Studies in our lab utilize murine and in vitro models of IBD as well as tissue collected from patients during endoscopic procedures. Our goal is to identify therapeutic targets to allow for enhanced mucosal repair in IBD.

Hepatitis C Research

There are about 3.5 million people in the United States who are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). About 56,000 people infected with chronic HCV live in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Community Access, Retention in Care, and Engagement for Hepatitis C (CARE-C) study aims to learn what obstacles stop patients from beginning treatment for HCV and hopes to increase access to HCV care in the Commonwealth. There are four arms to the study – three in-person treatment arms (completed) and one telemedicine arm (ongoing).

First Two Arms

Two arms of the study randomized subjects 1:1 between a standard of care arm and an enhanced care arm. The standard of care was provided by the HCV care team (consisting of provider, specialty pharmacist, and treatment coordinator) in the UK Medicine Specialties Clinic. The enhanced care arm included the addition of a psychosocial assessment and the help of a patient navigator and a social worker to the standard of care.

Third Arm

The third arm (a “modified” ECHO approach) of the study allowed patients to receive treatment from their local medical provider. Community providers learned how to treat HCV through a training course given by the research group, and their patients only had to be seen one time by the HCV care team at the UK Medicine Specialties Clinic.

Fourth Arm

The fourth arm of the study is a telemedicine arm. Subjects are seen by the HCV care team through a telemedicine approach. The aim is to compare a fully telemedicine approach to HCV care given in a face-to-face manner. Subjects are followed from their first visit through the start of HCV treatment to observe what factors impact treatment start in the telemedicine arm compared to the face-to-face arms.

SPORE Alliance Aims to Improve Prevention, Care of Deadly GI Cancers

Through SPORE, researchers from across the University are working to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a deadly group of diseases within the Commonwealth: gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. In fact, Kentucky leads the nation in colorectal cancer diagnoses and possesses a high rate of colorectal cancer mortality compared to other U.S. states. Other GI cancers such as pancreatic cancer are also common in the region.

SPORE Alliance Internal Medicine Team Members

  • Lowell Anthony, MD, Division Chief
  • Terrence A. Barrett, MD, Professor
  • Aman Chauhan, MD, Assistant Professor
  • Mark Dignan, PhD, MPH, Professor