Michael Camilleri, M.D., is interested in understanding why patients develop disorders of gastrointestinal motility and function and how best to diagnose and treat them with approved medications and untested remedies. Dr. Camilleri is also interested in understanding the factors that determine people's appetites, since he believes this is one of the key factors to the control of obesity.
Through diverse methods (many of them developed in his lab at Mayo Clinic), Dr. Camilleri studies gastrointestinal diseases that arise within the gut itself, as well as diseases in which the gastrointestinal tract is secondarily affected by conditions such as diabetes mellitus, scleroderma and neurological diseases. This investigation involves multiple areas of focus, from genetics to the nerves, muscles, lining and content of the gastrointestinal tract.
Dr. Camilleri holds several R01 and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was a recipient for 10 years of a K24 (mentorship, mid-career award) from NIH, and serves as a mentor for junior staff and medical trainees in the field of clinical enteric neuroscience research. Research trainees in his lab participate in Mayo Graduate School programs, particularly the master's degree in clinical research.
- Diabetic gastroparesis. Dr. Camilleri is working to develop new approaches to diagnose and treat diabetic gastroparesis. Examples of these novel approaches include using breath tests for diagnosis and ghrelin agonists and 5-HT4 agonists for treatment.
- Obesity. Dr. Camilleri is interested in understanding the role of alterations in stomach functions and appetite, as well as genes that can influence appetite and the sensation of fullness in people who are of average weight, overweight or obese.
- Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation. These conditions account for 25 percent of all patients presenting to gastroenterologists. Dr. Camilleri conducts research on what causes and how best to treat these common conditions.
- Bile acid diarrhea. This condition accounts for up to one-third of patients with otherwise unexplained chronic diarrhea. Dr. Camilleri's lab is studying the genetic factors that lead to the delivery of excess bile to the colon to cause diarrhea. The lab has also validated blood- and stool-based tests to diagnose bile acid diarrhea.
- Pharmacogenetics and novel pharmacotherapeutics. A major focus of Dr. Camilleri's lab is the development and testing of new medications for all the conditions of interest and, particularly, the understanding of how to individualize therapy based on genetic differences among people.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Camilleri's research is improving and will continue to improve patient care by contributing to the development of novel and often noninvasive diagnostic tools to replace invasive and less accurate or less specific diagnostic tests; demonstrating proof of efficacy of new medications for the treatment of gastrointestinal motility and functional disorders; participating in multicenter clinical trials, leading to approval and marketing of new medications for these disorders; identifying beneficial or deleterious effects of dietary factors (for example, gluten) in patients with these disorders; and developing individualized treatments in obesity based on medications that target dysfunctions of stomach and appetite and the genes that modify these functions.
- President-elect, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), 2014-2015
- Executive dean, Department of Development, Mayo Clinic, 2009-2017
- Vice president, AGA, 2013-2014
- Ismar Boas medal, German Society of Digestive and Metabolic Disease, 2012
- Distinguished Mentor Award, AGA, 2012
- Chair, publications committee, AGA, 2008-2010
- President, American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society, 2008-2010
- Editor, AGA Perspectives, 2007-2010
- Councilor-at-large, AGA, 2007-2010
- Director's Recognition Award, Center for Translational Science Activities Education Resources, Mayo Clinic, 2008
- Research Career Achievement Award, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2007
- Distinguished Investigator Award, Mayo Clinic, 2007
- Honorary member, British Society of Gastroenterology