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​​​​​Mission Statement of the Center for Esophageal Research:

The Center for Esophageal Research is devoted to conducting innovative, translational research in a multidisciplinary setting in order to advance understanding of esophageal diseases and to improve the treatment of patients with those diseases.


Focus areas of translational research within the Center for Esophageal Research:

Reflux Esophagitis/Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)/Non-Erosive Reflux Disease (NERD)

Barrett’s esophagus

Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma

Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Swallowing Disorders

Advanced Endoscopic Imaging of Esophageal Diseases

Eosinophilic Esophagitis


Click here to read Dr. Souza discussing how aspirin may help prevent Barret's Esophagus.


Faculty of the Center for Esophageal Research

Stuart J. Spechler MD, Co-Director

Rhonda F. Souza, MD, Co-Director

Xiaofang (Alice) Huo, MD, Ph.D.

Vani J.A. Konda, MD

Qiuyang (Daniel) Zhang, Ph.D.

Xi Zhang, MD


Clinical Studies Coordinator

James Carlton


Histopathology Coordinator

Elizabeth Cook, H.T. (ASCP)


Research Press

Click here to read Dr. Souza's published article on Barrett's Esophagus.

VIDEO: Watch Dr. Spechler and Dr. Souza discuss their latest research on GERD

Our recent paper made a American College of Gastroenterology's National Blog! Click here to read it.

Congratulations Dr. Spechler on being named the 2019 recipient of the AGA Institute Council Esophageal, Gastric and Duodenal Disorders (EGD) Section Research Mentor Award! This award recognizes and expresses the appreciation of our section and AGA for your outstanding contributions to the mentoring and training of new investigators in the field.


Physician Publications

Yadlapati R, Vaezi MF, Vela MF, Spechler SJ, Shaheen NJ, Richter J, Lacy BE, Katzka D, Katz PO, Kahrilas PJ, Gyawali CP, Gerson L, Fass R, Castell DO, Craft J, Hillman L, Pandolfino JE.  Management options for patients with GERD and persistent symptoms on proton pump inhibitors: recommendations from an expert panel.   Am J Gastroenterol. 2018 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Mosher CA, Brown GR, Weideman RA, Crook TW, Cipher DJ, Spechler SJ, Feagins LA.  Incidence of colorectal cancer and extracolonic cancers in veteran patients with inflammatory bowel disease.  Inflamm Bowel Dis 2018; 24:617-623.

Spechler SJ.  Speculation as to why the frequency of eosinophilic esophagitis is increasing.  Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2018; 20:26.

Spechler SJ.  Cardiac Metaplasia: Follow, Treat, or Ignore? Dig Dis Sci 2018 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print]

Spechler SJ, Katzka DA, Fitzgerald RC.  New screening techniques in Barrett's esophagus: Great ideas or great practice?  Gastroenterology 2018; 154:1594-1601.

Konda VJA, Spechler SJ.  Endoscopic eradication therapy and the test of time.  Gastrointest Endosc 2018; 87:85-87.

Huo X., Zhang X.. Yu C., Cheng E., Zhang Q., Dunbar K.B., Pham T.H., Lynch J.P., Wang D.H., Bresalier R.S., Spechler S.J., Souza R.F.  Aspirin Prevents NF-kB Activation and CDX2 Expression Stimulated by Acid and Bile Salts in Oesophageal Squamous Cells of Barrett's Oesophagus Patients. Gut, 67: 606-615, 2018. 

Choi S., Cui C., Luo Y., Kim S-H., Ko J-K., Huo X., Ma J., Fu L-W., Souza R.F.,Korichneva I., Pan Z. Selective Zinc Inhibitory Effect on Cell Proliferation in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma through Orail1. FASEB Journal, 32: 404-416, 2018.

Wang J., ParK J.Y., Huang R., Souza R.F., Spechler S.J., Cheng E. Obtaining Adequate Lamina Propria for Subepithelial Fibrosis Evaluation in Pediatric Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 87: 1207-1214, 2018. 

Han J., Jackson D., Holm J., Turner K., Ashcraft P., Wang X., Cook B., Arning E., Genta R.M., Venuprasad K., Souza R.F., Sweetman L., Theiss A.L. Elevated D-2-Hydroxyglutarate during Colitis Drives Progression to Colorectal Cancer. PNAS, 30: 1057-1062, 2018. 

Odiase E., Schwartz A., Souza R.F., Martin J., Konda V., Spechler S.J. New Eosinophilic Esophagitis Concepts Call for Change in Proton Pump Inhibitor Management Before Diagnostic Endoscopy. Gastroenterology, 154: 1209-1214, 2018.

Dellon ES, Liacouras CA, Molina-Infante J, Furuta GT, Spergel JM, Zevit N, Spechler SJ, Attwood SE, Straumann A, Aceves SS, Alexander JA, Atkins D, Arva NC, Blanchard C, Bonis PA, Book WM, Capocelli KE, Chehade M, Cheng E, Collins MH, Davis CM, Dias JA, Di Lorenzo C, Dohil R, Dupont C, Falk GW, Ferreira CT, Fox A, Gonsalves NP, Gupta SK, Katzka DA, Kinoshita Y, Menard-Katcher C, Kodroff E, Metz DC, Miehlke S, Muir AB, Mukkada VA, Murch S, Nurko S, Ohtsuka Y, Orel R, Papadopoulou A, Peterson KA, Philpott H, Putnam PE, Richter JE, Rosen R, Rothenberg ME, Schoepfer A, Scott MM, Shah N, Sheikh J, Souza RF, Strobel MJ, Talley NJ, Vaezi MF, Vandenplas Y, Vieira MC, Walker MM, Wechsler JB, Wershil BK, Wen T, Yang GY, Hirano I, Bredenoord AJ. Updated international consensus diagnostic criteria for eosinophilic esophagitis: Proceedings of the AGREE conference. Accepted, Gastroenterology, 2018. Epub.

Spechler SJ, Konda V, Souza RF. Can Eosinophilic Esophagitis Cause Achalasia and Other Esophageal Motility Disorders? Accepted, American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2018.

Agoston AT, Pham TH, Odze RD, Wang DH, Das KM, Spechler SJ, Souza RF. Columnar-Lined Esophagus Develops via Wound Repair in a Surgical Model of Reflux Esophagitis. Accepted, Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 2018.

Souza R.F. and Spechler S.J. A New Candidate for the Progenitor Cell of Barrett's Metaplasia. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 15: 7-8, 2018.

Souza R. F., Rubenstein J, Kao J, Hirano I. Contributions from Gastroenterology: Acid Peptic Disorders, Barrett's Esophagus and Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Gastroenterology, 154: 1209-1214, 2018.

Souza R.F. Esophageal Adenocarcinomas: A Need for Speed Driven by Immune Pathways That Have Druggable Targets. Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 5:652-653, 2018. 

Konda V.J.A., Souza R.F. Biomarkers of Barrett's Esophagus: From the Laboratory to Clinical Practice. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 63: 2070-2080, 2018.

Congratulations Dr. Spechler on being named the 2019 recipient of the AGA Institute Council Esophageal, Gastric and Duodenal Disorders (EGD) Section Research Mentor Award!


Co-Directors, Dr. Rhonda F. Souza and Dr. Stuart J. Spechler​​​​

Faculty, Staff, and Trainees at the Center for Esophageal Research​​​​​​​​