The research of Pankaj J. Pasricha, M.B.B.S., M.D., focuses on the nervous system within the gut and the connections between the gut and the brain. He is a gastroenterologist and has an active neuroscience laboratory.
Dr. Pasricha is engaged in both basic and clinical research, with both areas interacting with each other. His laboratory research investigates neural stem cells and how nerve cells are coded to function.
Dr. Pasricha examines the messages nerve cells send to each other. These messages can sometimes cause problems such as difficulty in swallowing, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and constipation. His research investigates how these signals can cause problems with the brain itself.
- Enteric nervous system known as the "gut brain" in health and disease. Some of the diseases he researches are achalasia, gastroparesis, pseudo-obstruction and constipation.
- Molecular and cellular basis of abdominal pain syndromes including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic pancreatitis.
- Stem cell approaches for diagnosis and treatment.
- Vagal signaling and the gut-brain axis in health and disease including Parkinson's, autism, anxiety and depression.
- Microbiome and probiotics.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Pasricha's research seeks to understand what causes conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and other painful conditions of gastrointestinal organs. Dr. Pasricha researches how illnesses such as scleroderma, joint hypermobility and autoimmune diseases affect the gut.
He also focuses on how changes in the gut can lead to Parkinson's disease, anxiety, depression, autism and diabetes. He has used the findings of his research to develop new therapies for a variety of disorders and is actively engaged in new drug development.
- Chair, Gastroparesis Clinical Research Consortium, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2007-present.
- Nobility in Science Award, National Pancreas Foundation, 2014.
- Master's Award for Outstanding Sustained Achievement in Gastroenterology, American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), 2011.
- Founding chair, AGA Center for Gastrointestinal Innovation and Technology, American Gastroenterological Association, 2010.
- Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee, Food and Drug Administration, 2005-2009.
- Member, National Commission on Digestive Diseases, NIDDK, 2006-2008.