The research interests of Tamas Ordog, M.D., revolve around the molecular, cellular and translational biology of the gastrointestinal neuromuscular system, with particular focus on the gut's own nervous system and interstitial cells of Cajal, which mediate interactions between nerve and smooth muscle cells and generate electrical rhythmicity required for gut peristalsis. Depletion or loss of function of subsets of gastrointestinal neurons and interstitial cells of Cajal leads to gastrointestinal motility disorders (for example, in diabetes), whereas neoplastic growth of interstitial cells of Cajal underlies gastrointestinal stromal tumors (the most common form of sarcoma).
Both groups of diseases — those caused by loss of gastrointestinal neurons and interstitial cells of Cajal and those caused by neoplastic growth — lack curative therapy. Dr. Ordog's current efforts are devoted to understanding the cell-intrinsic and microenvironmental mechanisms regulating the development and function of interstitial cells of Cajal and gastrointestinal neurons, as well as tumor-initiating and tumor-suppressing mechanisms in gastrointestinal stromal tumors with an emphasis on epigenetic and metabolic control of gene transcription and receptor tyrosine kinase signaling.
Dr. Ordog also established the Center for Individualized Medicine's Epigenomics Program, which implements and develops epigenomic assays and technology and offers them to investigators at Mayo Clinic and collaborating institutions.
- Epigenetic and metabolic regulation of gene expression in interstitial cells of Cajal and gastrointestinal stromal tumor cells and their precursors
- Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of nitric oxide biosynthesis in enteric neurons
- Novel therapeutic options for gastrointestinal complications of diabetes and gastrointestinal stromal tumors
- Development of epigenomic technology
Significance to patient care
Dr. Ordog uses genomic, epigenomic, metabolomic and cell biological approaches in genetically traced, isolated and cultured cells, and animal models of diabetes, eating disorders, aging and gastrointestinal stromal tumors to study the mechanisms of transcriptional dysregulation and action of potential new drugs. These drug candidates could be developed into novel therapies for restoring normal gene expression and function in gastrointestinal neurons and interstitial cells of Cajal or for making neoplastic interstitial cells of Cajal more sensitive to targeted cancer therapy.
- Honoree, Famous Hungarian Neuroscientists in the World, University of Pecs, Hungary, 2017
- Recipient, Geza Hetenyi Memorial Medallion and honorary membership, Hungarian Gastroenterological Society, 2010
- Recipient, Masters Award in Gastroenterology, PriCara, Division of Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eisai, in cooperation with the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, 2008