News from the AGA

Meet the recipients of AGA’s COVID-19 research funding


When COVID-19 hit, the AGA Research Foundation quickly announced the AGA-Takeda COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Awards to provide funding to kick-start research into the virus’ impact on the digestive tract. We’re excited to share our three award recipients with you. Read about their research projects below.

David A. Drew, PhD, and Long H. Nguyen, MD, MS, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School will test their hypothesis that gut microbial communities mediate the relationship between GI symptoms and the varied clinical presentations and outcomes in patients with COVID-19. To accomplish this goal, they will jointly develop and rapidly deploy a multinational digital infrastructure for large-scale epidemiologic studies during the current global pandemic. By characterizing the GI symptoms most predictive of COVID-19 infection risk and severity, their work will offer timely insights into the ongoing pandemic and offer a foundation for further study on the effects of COVID-19 on human gut microbial communities.

Jeffrey Wade Brown from Washington University is evaluating the infective potential of the metaplastic GI foregut. For this project Dr. Brown and his team will use a novel, unique, and unpublished organoid system that propagates the features of upper GI human metaplasia in vitro to study a potential role for metaplasia in the predisposition to COVID-19. Dr. Brown hopes this research will directly help by making a previously naive population know that they are potentially at higher risk. Further, the high-throughput screening technology they are developing will not only be useful here but also could quickly be adapted to other pandemics.

Congratulations to Drs. David A. Drew, Long H. Nguyen, and Jeffrey Wade Brown — recipients of our AGA-Takeda COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Awards from the AGA Research Foundation.

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