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Alkhouri Receives Prestigious Award for IBD Research

Published December 21, 2012

Razan Alkhouri, MBBS, assistant professor of pediatric gastroenterology, has won the 2012 Young Faculty Investigator Award from the North American Society for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN).

Alkhouri received the award—given to only one laboratory scientist annually—for her research on paraoxonase (PON) gene expression in pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Investigating Potential Target for IBD Management

Researchers believe that oxidative stress is one of several factors involved in the pathogenesis of IBD, a chronic relapsing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

PON genes, expressed in the human intestine, are thought to play a role in preventing this stress.

Alkhouri based her research on the hypothesis that PON gene expression is altered in individuals with IBD. Her work examines the effect of steroids on PON gene expression.

“Both IBD and steroids were found to modulate the PON genes, which suggests that PON genes might be a novel target for the management of IBD,” Alkhouri explains.

She presented her findings at NASPGHAN’s annual meeting in October.