IBD Genetics Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh

Richard H. Duerr, MD

Principal Investigator

Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetic Research Endowed Chair Professor of Medicine, Human Genetics, and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh

Co-Director and Scientific Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center UPMC


  • Wei Chen, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Biostatistics, and Human Genetics, University of Pittsburgh

Clinical Collaborators

  • Arthur Barrie, MD, PhD
  • David Binion, MD
  • James Celebrezze, MD
  • Jon Davison, MD
  • Jeffrey Dueker, MD, MPH
  • Janet Harrison, MD
  • Jennifer Holder-Murray, MD
  • Elyse Johnston, MD
  • Kenneth Lee, MD
  • David Medich, MD
  • Marc Schwartz, MD
  • Andrew Watson, MD

IBD Genetics Consortium Genetic Research Center (DK062420; PI: Duerr)

The objective is to continue our participation in NIDDK IBD Genetics Consortium studies utilizing a large cohort of IBD patients coupled with molecular genetics approaches to gain a better understanding of how human genetic variations predispose individuals to the dysregulation of the immune system that underlies IBD.

Specific Aim 1: Participate in NIDDK IBDGC Steering Committee-approved studies.

Specific Aim 2: Define the molecular effects of IBD-associated, non-coding, accessible chromatin region DNA variation on human CD4+CD45RO+CD196+ T cell functional responses to stimulation.

Administrative Supplements

IBD Genetics Consortium Genetic Research Center, Administrative Supplements (DK062420; PI: Duerr)

The goal is to conduct pilot projects on single cell multiomic analysis in colonoscopic biopsy-derived lamina propria mononuclear cells from patients with IBD.

Study of a Prospective Adult Research Cohort with IBD (SPARC IBD) (Crohn’ & Colitis Foundation; PI: Duerr)

The goals of this project are to collect and link clinical data, patient-reported outcome data, and serial biosamples through the course of the patients' disease, and to use the data and samples for basic, clinical, and translational research with the goal of finding predictors of response to therapy and predictors of relapse that will lead to precision medicine strategies and new therapeutic targets that will improve the quality of life of patients with IBD. Dr. Duerr facilitated the inclusion of SPARC IBD samples in the International IBD Genetics Consortium’s ongoing GWAS meta-analysis and whole exome sequencing projects.

Major interests

  • Genetics of IBD;
  • Molecular effects of IBD-associated, non-coding, accessible chromatin region DNA variation on human T cell functional responses to stimulation
  • Single cell multiomic analysis in IBD.


Dr. Wei Chen

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Wei Chen is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and the Director of Statistical Genetics Core with secondary appointments in the Department of Biostatistics and the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Dr. Chen received extensive training and experience in biostatistics, genetics, and genomics from Dr. Gonçalo Abecasis at the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. His group is interested in method development and statistical analysis of omics data including DNA-seq, RNA-seq, methylation, ATAC-seq and single cell sequencing data. As a principal investigator, he has received NIH and foundation funded grants to develop statistical and computational methods for analyzing complex genomic data, and to develop methods for integrating multi-omics data. Recently, collaborating with his colleagues, his group started to use droplet-based single cell sequencing technology to study various diseases and published several computational methods for analyzing single cell data. Dr. Chen and his team are working closely with Drs. Duerr and Konnikova on the analysis and interpretation of CITE-seq, scRNA-seq, CyTOF and genotype data. Email: wei.chen@chp.edu Lab website: www.pitt.edu/~wec47