In inflation adjusted dollars, National Institutes of Health (NIH) appropriations are approximately at the same level as 15 years ago.

NIDDK is the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, one of 27 NIH Institutes and Centers. The NIDDK conducts and supports basic and applied research. Access the website at

NIH is the focal point for biomedical research in the U.S. NIH conducts research in its own laboratories; supports the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helps in the training of research investigators; and fosters communication of medical information. Access the NIH website at

Stephen P. James, MD, Director, NIDDK Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, was kind enough to join us several times this year to inform our network of healthcare professionals, members of industry, IFFGD advocates, and others about the current state of research related to functional gastrointestinal (GI) and motility disorders at NIH and NIDDK. The following is a summary of what Dr. James shared with us.

Funding at NIH has been challenging, having to deal with the long-term effects of reductions in Federal spending. Although there has been a partial restoration of cuts in the NIH budget, the U.S. continues to trail the developed and developing world by reducing investments in biomedical research. Most of the rest of the world, despite economic challenges, continues to expand their investments in biomedical research.

In inflation adjusted dollars, NIH appropriations are approximately at the same level as 15 years ago. The tremendous momentum gained from the NIH doubling from 1998 to 2003 has been eliminated.

HIH chart

These policy decisions are causing down-sizing or closure of research programs in the U.S., discouraging young people from choosing to enter the long and arduous training pathways that are needed in biomedical research. Reductions in U.S. material and human capital investments threatens U.S. pre-eminent leadership in biomedical research.

Ironically, this is happening at a time when rapid advances in medical research and technology offer the promise of improvement in the lives of people suffering from many chronic diseases. Conditions like chronic hepatitis C infection, heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer and AIDS have benefited.

Progress in developing better diagnostic and treatment approaches for functional GI and motility disorders has been slow. However, due in part to the substantial efforts made by IFFGD, there is increased awareness of the needs of affected individuals and the burdens of illness imposed by these conditions.

NIDDK-funded investigators are making major contributions in the area of basic science discovery helping better understand these conditions. The current NIDDK portfolio spans a broad range of basic and clinical research projects involving tissue and muscle cells, the enteric nervous system (ENS), and mechanistic studies in GERD, dysphagia, and mechanisms of symptom generation, to name a few. The clinical research portfolio includes multi-center studies in gastroparesis, functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, among others.

One of the relatively new areas of interest involves understanding the microbiota that we all have in our digestive systems that are believed to play important roles in health and illness. This area is rapidly moving towards therapeutic approaches to improve digestive diseases.

Another exciting area is stem cell research. Tissue models can now easily be made in the laboratory (enteroids) from small endoscopic biopsies of patients to use for study and to lay the foundation for regenerative medicine approaches.

New technologies are opening up ways to better understand how diet is involved in health and illness. NIDDK has contributed to support that focuses on understanding brain gut connections and visceral pain.

NIDDK also recognizes the need to provide specialized infrastructure support for research and supports 16 digestive diseases research core centers and 12 nutrition/obesity research centers around the U.S. In order to help assure a continuing pipeline of new investigators for the future, NIDDK vigorously supports training and career development awards.

Finally, NIDDK devotes substantial effort to educate and inform the public on health issues in digestive diseases and the latest advances that result from NIH research. Extensive online materials for the general public are often developed in partnership with organizations such as IFFGD. The NIDDK continues to support the Bowel Awareness campaign, which was developed with considerable input and assistance from IFFGD, with the aim to provide helpful information to individuals with bowel incontinence.

stephen jamesStephen P. James, MD, Director,
Division of Digestive Diseases
and Nutrition, NIDDK
Dr. James remains optimistic that, despite current economic challenges, NIDDK will continue to bring improvements to people with functional GI and motility disorders due to the dedication of many scientists around the country, continued funding from the NIH, and the important contribution of professional societies, organizations such as IFFGD, and patients who participate in research projects and inspire us all.

Research Awards
2020 Award Recipients
Kyle Staller, MD
Christopher V. Almario, MD
Maria Raffaella Barbaro, PhD
2019 Award Recipients
Arpana Gupta, PhD
David Levinthal, MD, PhD
Ilan Koppen, MD, PhD
2018 Award Recipients
Amaranath Karunanayake, PhD
Katja Kovacic, MD
Cristina Martinez, PhD
Ans Pauwels, PhD
2013 Award Recipients
Enrico Corazziari, MD
Jan Tack, MD, PhD
Report from Gary Mawe, PhD: The Roles of Intestinal Nerves and Serotonin in Gut Function and Dysfunction
Ashley Blackshaw, PhD
Carlo Di Lorenzo, MD
Niranga Manjuri Devanarayana, MD
Report from Lukas Van Oudenhove, PhD: Solving the Biopsychosocial Puzzle in Functional Dyspepsia
Muriel Larauche, PhD
2011 Award Recipients
Report from Ronnie Fass, MD: Sleep and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Million Mulugeta, PhD
Adrian Miranda, MD
Samuel Nurko, MD
Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD
Shaman Rajindrajith, MD
2009 Award Recipients
Satish Rao, MD
Emeran Mayer, MD
Javier Santos, MD
Report from Martin Storr, MD, PhD: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: New Insights in Enteric Regulation
Report From Miguel Saps, MD: Functional Abdominal Pain in Children and Adolescents
2007 Award Recipients
Report from Bruce D. Naliboff, PhD: Symptom Based Psychology for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Report from Magnus Simrén, MD, PhD: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Searching for Underlying Causes
Report from Brennan M. R. Spiegel, MD, MSHS: Diagnostic Testing in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Theory vs. Reality
Report from Sylvie Bradesi, PhD: Role of the Central Immune System in Functional Disorders
Paul E. Hyman, MD
Report from Miranda A. L. van Tilburg, PhD: Home Based Guided Imagery to Treat Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain
Report from Fernando Azpiroz, MD, PhD: Understanding Intestinal Gas
2005 Award Recipients
Report from Yvette Tache, PhD: Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Unraveling the Code
Report from Shaheen Hamdy, MRCP, PhD: Adult Neurogenic Dysphagia -- Disorders and Conditions that Disrupt Swallowing
Report from Michael A. Pezzone, MD, PhD: Chronic Pelvic Pain and the Overlap of Pelvic Pain Disorders
Report from Bridget R. Southwell, PhD: Research into Treatment-Resistant Constipation in Children
Report from Rachel Rosen, MD, MPH: Symptoms Arising from Non-Acid Reflux in Children
2003 Award Recipients
Report from William E. Whitehead, PhD: Summary of Clinical Research Activities
Jyoti N. Sengupta, PhD
Report from Caroline Elder Danda, PhD: Biopsychosocial Perspectives on Assessment and Treatment
Report from Terry Buchmiller-Crair, MD: Using the Fetal Gastrointestinal Tract to Overcome Neonatal Disease
Report from Dan L. Dumitrascu, MD, PhD: The Psychosocial Adjustment to Illness in Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Report from Klaus Bielefeldt, MD, PhD: Understanding Pain and Discomfort in Functional GI Disorders
Research Grants
IFFGD Competitive Grants
2014 IFFGD Idiopathic Gastroparesis Research Grants
Leo Cheng, PhD
Braden Kuo, MD, MSc
Richard McCallum, MD
2008 IFFGD Competitive Research Grants
IFFGD Noncompetitive Grants
Other Research Grant Opportunities
Funding Research
Need for Funding Research
How to Make a Difference
The State of Research at NIH & NIDDK
Clinical Trials & Studies
Guide to Randomized Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials and Studies

Funding Research

IFFGD2018Breakfast 002 cropped

IFFGD funds research that helps to shape science and scientific advancement, and improve quality of life for people affected by chronic digestive disorders.

IFFGD Research Awards

Professional Education

Research funding needs