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Clinical Research

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Clinical research in inflammatory bowel disease is led by Drs. Marshall, Narula, Halder, Moayyedi and Pai. McMaster University is a lead centre in the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada PACE (Promoting Access to Care through Centres of Excellence) standardizing clinical care and improving communication tools for patients living with inflammatory bowel disease and is a member site of the CidsCaNN national IBD consortium. Ongoing projects include fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) (see Microbial Therapy Initiative). Ongoing work addresses clinical trial of advanced therapies, epidemiologic studies of inflammatory bowel disease pathogenesis, evidence synthesis, development of novel disease activity indices, and provision of innovative continuing medical education.

IBD Website:

John K. Marshall:

Neeraj Narula:

Smita Halder:

Paul Moayyedi:

Pediatric IBD research is also ongoing through the Institute, addressing microbial markers of early onset disease, dynamics of nutrition-based treatments, and opportunities for novel microbial therapies. Part of the work involves microbial therapy (see microbial therapy initiative) as well as dietary interventions. In addition, the pediatric group is investigating the role of prebiotic therapy in fatty liver disease in children (see Nutrition Initiative).
Investigators: (see Microbial Therapy Initiative).

Nikk Pai:,Gastroenterology%20at%20McMaster%20Children%27s%20Hospital.

Investigators: Jihong Chen & Jan Huizinga


The Chen-Huizinga lab is focused on better understanding and treating complex chronic gastrointestinal motility disorders. The lab utilizes several approaches including assessment of autonomic function, high resolution manometry, ultrasound, barostat  and cutaneous electrical recording techniques to characterize these disorders and ultimately develop a composite  set of markers  to phenotype patients and develop novel  personalized therapies involving neuro modulatory approaches and regulation of autonomic function.


  1. Randomized-controlled trial to evaluate low-level laser therapy for complex gastrointestinal motor disorders involving both upper and lower GI symptoms.
  2. Randomized-controlled trial to evaluate low-level laser therapy for chronic constipation and chronic fecal incontinence.
  3. Assessing autonomic dysfunction in patients with functional disorders.

Please see Nutrition Initiative.

The Bercik-Collins lab investigates the role of the intestinal microbiota in the development and expression of functional GI disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The lab uses preclinical humanized mouse models to generate proof of concept of microbiota involvement, thus providing a platform for the development of therapeutic and diagnostic interventions that can be applied to patients.  Examples include a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the effects of Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001 on intestinal and psychological symptoms in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome and investigation of putative biomarkers of diet-microbiota interactions in irritable bowel syndrome.

Lab Website:

Biomarkers of Diet-microbiota Interactions in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Most patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) report that ingestion of certain foods is a major trigger of symptoms, but the reason is unclear. Previous studies have shown that foods containing poorly absorbed carbohydrates (FODMAPs) are fermented by the bacteria in our bowels and these cause symptoms in some, but not all patients. Gut bacteria are capable of producing various products, such as histamine, that may be related to IBS symptoms. Our recent data suggest that consumption of FODMAPs promotes production of bacterial histamine.

What the study involves:6 weeks on a low-FODMAP diet

  • 3 interventions consisting of High- or Low-FODMAP drinks along with probiotics or placebo capsules.
  • Food diary
  • 6 stool samples
  • 6 urine samples

Eligible participant descriptors:

  • Age 18-75
  • IBS diagnosis (as diagnosed by your physician)
  • Previous improvement of IBS symptoms when excluding certain foods


You will be compensated for your time at each study visit.


Dr. Premysl Bercik, Caroline Seiler (PhD Candidate)

Study Funding Source:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) IMAGINE SPOR-Network Incubator Research Grant

Research Coordinator Contact:

Name: Caroline Seiler


Paul Moayyedi, Grigorios Leontiadis and Frances Tse are joint coordinating editors of the Cochrane Gut Group.  They have overall editorial responsibility for all gastrointestinal interventions and management strategies that appear in the Cochrane Library (  This provides information of evidence based approaches to managing GI disease for clinicians, policy makers and patients worldwide. The group provides training and support for researchers wishing to conduct systematic reviews and develop guidelines.  We provide methodologic support for most of the Canadian gastroenterology and hepatology guidelines as well as many US guidelines. Over the last 10 years we have been authors on over 30 guidelines.  Many of these have been published in Gastroenterology, Gut and Annals of Internal Medicine and have been highly influential with approximately 8,000 citations.