"The Gut Microbiome and Factors that Influence its Composition in sickness and In health"
Dr. Joshua R. Korzenik, one of the leading IBD researchers in the country and a clinician recognized for his compassion and dedication to his patients, is Director of the Brigham & Women's Hospital Crohn’s and Colitis Center.
Dr. Korzenik has been involved in IBD research and care of patients for almost 25 years. His concept that Crohn’s disease originates with a defect in the innate immune system has opened up new avenues of research and possible therapies, and he is among the investigators now researching the intestinal microbiome for clues about the role it may play in the development of IBD as well as its treatment.
Dr. Korzenik’s vision of providing IBD patients comprehensive services and education so they can play a larger role in their own care is the basis for the Center’s innovative Circle program.
Dr. Korzenik is the author of almost 60 peer-reviewed articles and research papers. He speaks frequently at professional meetings and is an active member of many professional committees. He was named Humanitarian of the Year in 2013 by the New England Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and was awarded by the Torch of Friendship in 1999 by the Mid-America Chapter in St. Louis.
Dr. Korzenik earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1980 and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, New York, in 1987. He was a resident at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston from 1987 to 1990 and fellow in gastroenterology and clinical epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine Hospital from 1991 to 1994. He is currently an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a longstanding member of the medical advisory committee for the New England chapter of CCFA.
Dr. Korzenik has been the principal investigator of over a dozen research projects, ranging from studies of diet and probiotics to international comparisons of IBD to the Circle program’s redesign of patient services.
As a young doctor, Dr. Korzenik was drawn to IBD because it was a poorly understood, chronic condition. While he has seen advances in the understanding of genetic and other factors affecting IBD, the role of diet and other environmental influences are still poorly understood in his view.
Dr. Korzenik is excited about the growing capacity to tailor the care and treatment of IBD so it matches patients. He believes the Center’s Circle program could help usher in a new era of IBD care that takes into account nutrition, stress, and psychological issues while also rebalancing the relationship between providers and patients so patients have a greater role in their own care.