Dr. David Alvarado joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology as an Instructor in May, 2020.
Dr. Alvarado earned his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Cellular and Molecular Medicine Graduate Training Program. Upon matriculation in 2014, he joined Dr. Matthew A. Ciorba’s lab in the Division of Gastroenterology at Washington University School of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. In 2019, he was awarded the inaugural Lawrence C. Pakula, M.D. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Fellowship. His mentor, Dr. Matthew A. Ciorba, who has a strong record of promoting the career development of trainees, designed a program to facilitate Dr. Alvarado in establishing an independent scientific program. Recently their work together in identifying a novel function for the immune-metabolic enzyme IDO1 in the intestinal epithelial cells was published in Gastroenterology, with Dr. Alvarado as first author. Dr. Alvarado is training in an exceptional environment for advancing the science of IBD. Moreover, he has established a team of mentors with world-class expertise in IBD related epithelial cell biology and host-microbial interactions, including Drs. Rodney Newberry, Ta-Chiang Liu, Marco Colonna, and Jason Mills. Most recently, he has defined a novel mechanism directing cellular differentiation in the intestinal epithelium. Dr. Alvarado’s current work proposes an innovative series of studies to define the role AHR plays in epithelial differentiation and maintaining gut mucosal homeostasis, confirming that IDO1 and AHR are upregulated in the gut of Crohn’s disease patients, yet the subsequent steps in this “healing program” are not activated. Understanding what is different about this healing program in IBD, and how to fix it, are the fundamental questions that future research will strive to answer. Uncovering these answers may change the way IBD is treated in the future, potentially benefiting the over 3,000,000 IBD patients in the US and millions more worldwide by identifying novel approaches for disease management.