Alessio Fasano, MD
After nearly twenty years of providing clinical care for patients and conducting innovative research in celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders, the Center for Celiac Research, under the leadership of Alessio Fasano, MD, has moved from Baltimore to MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) in Boston.
In early January, the international leader in the research and treatment of gluten-related disorders became part of the newly launched Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Fasano will serve as the director of both research centers and assume the role of chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
"We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Fasano and his team of research scientists and fellows to Boston," says Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, physician-in-chief at MGHfC. "He is an internationally recognized investigator, a superb clinician and inspiring teacher. He’s just the right person to move our work forward as we expand our outreach to both children and adults with gluten-related disorders."
A native of Salerno, Italy, Fasano founded the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1996 and the Mucosal Biology Research Center in 2003. In that year, the Center for Celiac Research released results of an epidemiological study that placed the rate of celiac disease at 1 in 133 people in the United States, launching a new era of awareness of the condition in North America. Fasano went on to spearhead international research identifying gluten sensitivity as a condition on the spectrum of gluten-related disorders.
Moving the center to Mass General allows Fasano’s team to partner with the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children’s Hospital. Fasano says the center will research potential links to gluten-related disorders and conditions such as schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorder in certain subgroups of patients. The team will also work on isolating a biomarker for gluten sensitivity.
"After sixteen years of conducting groundbreaking research and treating children and adults for gluten-related disorders, we’re looking forward to the next phase of discovery and treatment breakthroughs," says Fasano. "By joining forces with our colleagues at the BIDMC Celiac Center along with MGHfC, we will become one of the largest and most advanced facilities in the world to care for people with gluten-related disorders."
"We’re looking forward to working together to establish innovative and robust collaborative programs in celiac disease research and education," says Ciaran Kelly, MD, director of the Celiac Center at BIDMC. "Our expectation is that our two groups will work closely together to make Boston a leading city in advancing our knowledge of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders for the good of our patients."
The Center for Celiac Research’s patient clinic is scheduled to open in February in the Yawkey Outpatient Clinic, 6B, at 55 Fruit Street in Boston.
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $750 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine. In July 2012, MGH moved into the number one spot on the 2012-13 U.S. News & World Report list of “America’s Best Hospitals.”