The clinical and academic interests of Arthur Beyder, M.D., Ph.D., are focused on functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. This is a group of very common conditions, exemplified by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia. There is a dire need for diagnostic and treatment options for these conditions.
In Dr. Beyder's laboratory, researchers examine molecular mechanisms of these conditions and explore targeted treatment options. Dr. Beyder is specifically interested in ion channels, which are essentially molecular transistors, employed by biology to electrically excite cells. His team uses a variety of existing techniques — and develops new ones — to better understand the role of ion channels in normal GI function and how they are changed in disease. The team's ultimate goal is to help patients with respect to both diagnosis and treatment of the common yet difficult-to-treat functional GI disorders
- Molecular mechanisms of enterochromaffin (EC) cell operation. EC cells are important epithelial sensors of chemical and mechanical stimuli. These cells produce the vast majority of the body's serotonin. Serotonin is important not only for normal function of the GI tract but also for normal function of physiologic systems at a distance — such as bones, blood vessels and platelets. Dr. Beyder's team aims to understand exactly how activation of EC cells leads to release of serotonin in health and disease.
- Smooth muscle cell mechanosensitivity. Mechanical stimuli are ubiquitous in the GI tract. They are critical for normal GI function, and abnormal mechanosensitivity is implicated in GI diseases. Dr. Beyder aims to understand how GI smooth muscle senses and responds to mechanical stimuli on the molecular level.
- Sodium channel mechanosensitivity. Dr. Beyder is continuing work started by his mentor, Gianrico Farrugia, M.D., which explores the role of a specific sodium selective ion channel (Nav1.5) in the gastrointestinal tract. Researchers in his laboratory have recently discovered that a proportion of IBS patients have mutations in these ion channels and that the majority of these mutations produce abnormal function of these molecules, resulting in disease. Importantly, reversing these abnormalities in patients leads in normalization of GI function.
Significance to patient care
Functional GI diseases are common, chronic and expensive. Currently, the diagnosis of these disorders is one of exclusion, meaning that other disorders need to be eliminated first. This approach is expensive and time consuming, and, therefore, frustrating for both patients and physicians. The goal of Dr. Beyder's academic career is to contribute significantly toward changing this status quo.
Dr. Beyder feels fortunate to work at Mayo Clinic, where research on functional GI disorders has a long history of excellence. Mayo continues to be one of the best in the world, providing an opportunity to work with true giants in the field, and together, aim to improve patients' lives by improving understanding of the functional GI disorders and developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic options.
- Research Scholar Award, American Gastroenterological Association, 2015-2018
- Extramural Loan Repayment Award, National Institutes of Health, 2010-2012
- Research Career Enhancement Award, The American Physiological Society, 2011
- Young investigator award, American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society, 2011
- Clinician-investigator, General Mills Foundation, 2010