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Speaker Topics: Gastroenterology


  • Pancreatic tumors/cancers
  • Gastric cancers: multidisciplinary perspective
  • Retro peritoneal sarcomas including use of radiation therapy
  • Gastrointestinal stromal (GIST) tumors
  • Management of gastrointestinal cancers; including rare cancers such as carcinoids, appendix cancers, small bowel cancers.
  • Genetics of cancer including stool testing for colorectal cancers, genetic profiling of cancers

Nita Ahuja, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery and Oncology

Dr. Ahuja received her medical degree from Duke University, and completed her general surgery training at Johns Hopkins followed by a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at Johns Hopkins. She also pursued specialized training in colorectal cancer surgery at The John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford University, England.

Dr. Ahuja’s clinical interests include cancer of the pancreas, stomach, colon and rectum, and abdominal sarcomas. Her research primarily involves identification of molecular markers for early detection, prognosis, and recurrence of cancers.



  • ERCP and Pancreas:  A Friend or Foe?
  • Advances in GI Endoscopy
  • Colon Polyps: Big and Small
  • Pancreatitis, Current Evaluation and Management
  • Endoscopic Management of Benign Biliary Strictures
  • Endoscopic Management of Early GI Cancer
  • Advances in ERCP
  • Barrett's Esophagus
  • Bile Duct Stones, an Update
  • Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • Quality Assessment in GI Endoscopy

Firas H. Al-Kawas, M.D.
Professor of Medicine (PAR)
Director of Endoscopy

Joining Johns Hopkins from Georgetown University, where he was the chief of endoscopy for 15 years, Dr. Al-Kawas is a world-renowned authority in pancreatobiliary disease and interventional endoscopy.  In 2006, he was one of three individuals in North America to receive one of the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy's highest honors, the Master Endoscopist award, in recognition for his impressive career as a gastroenterologist, endoscopist and administrator.  Dr. Al-Kawas has delivered more than 200 lectures around the world and published more than 120 papers and book chapters addressing a variety of topics in gastroenterology and endoscopy.

Dr. Al-Kawas is board certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine.


  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Personalized Medicine in Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Drug Development in Oncology
  • Circulating Tumor DNA

Luis Alberto Diaz, Jr., M.D.
Associate Professor, Oncology

Luis Diaz, M.D., is director of translational medicine at the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Dr. Diaz was handpicked by Ludwig Center director Bert Vogelstein, M.D., the researcher who defined cancer as a genetic disease and whose team cracked the genetic codes for brain, breast, colon, and pancreatic cancers, to move its laboratory discoveries to the clinic.

Dr. Diaz’s clinical interests include gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal cancer and pancreatic cancer.  The focus of Dr. Diaz’s research is two-fold.  The first is translating novel and often high-risk therapeutics with unique mechanisms of action from the lab to patients. One example is using live bacteria to target and destroy solid tumors. This approach, termed bacteriolytic therapy, is being testing in clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania in humans and canines with advanced solid tumors. His second area of research includes a novel test that measures tumor-derived DNA in the bloodstream. The blood test, based on the unique genetic fingerprint contained within the genome of every cancer, can not only detect the presence of tumor but track its progress. The ultimate goal of this work being early detection of cancer with a simple blood test before it becomes lethal.

Dr. Diaz is also director of a new clinic for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.  This clinic focuses on the treatment of all aspects related to these patients, including support with pain, nutrition, psycho-social issues, and access to clinical trials and cutting-edge therapies. 

Dr. Diaz received his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School, and completed his general medicine training at Johns Hopkins followed by a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.


  • Genetic testing for hereditary colorectal cancer
  • The importance of screening for colorectal cancer
  • GI disorders – diagnosing through genetic testing
  • Harmatomatous polyposis syndromes-Peutz-Jeghers syndrome and Juvenile polyposis
  • What you should know about colon polyps
  • Collagenous and Lymphocytic colitis
  • Dermatologic manifestations of GI disease

Frank Giardiello, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Oncology, and Pathology
Director, Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Clinic and Registry, The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Giardiello joined Johns Hopkins as a fellow after completing his medical degree at Tufts University School of Medicine and his residency at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Giardiello’s clinical practice focuses on colon cancer, polyps, and colon cancer risk assessment. His research interests are primarily on the study of cancer and cancer chemoprevention in the gastrointestinal tract and the investigation of collagenous and lymphocytic colitis.


  • Indications for Liver Transplant
  • Update on Hepatitis C and B
  • Pre and Post Transplant Managements of Liver Patients
  • When and How to Refer a Patient for Liver Transplantation

Ahmet Gurakar, M.D., FACG
Associate Professor
Medical Director of Liver Transplantation 

Dr. Gurakar earned his medical degree from Istanbul University in Turkey. After completing residencies at New York University in Pediatrics and the New York Medical College – Metropolitan Hospital in Internal Medicine, Dr. Gurakar conducted fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh, Thomas Starzl Transplant Institute and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Before joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Gurakar served as the chief of Hepatology Research and the program director of the Liver Transplantation Medicine/ Hepatology Fellowship Nazih Zuhdi Transplantation Institute at the Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

Currently the medical director of liver transplantation at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Gurakar's clinical interests include pre and post-transplant, clinical and endoscopic management of liver diseases and viral hepatitis. His research interests include bioartificial liver dialysis systems and application of total plasma exchange in the treatment of liver disorders. Dr. Gurakar is board-certified in gastroenterology and transplant hepatology.


  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Metastatic Colorectal Cancer to the Liver
  • Minimally Invasive Liver and Pancreas Surgery
  • Pancreatitis, Acute and Chronic
  • Gastric Cancer

Kenzo Hirose, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Surgery

Dr. Hirose is a general surgeon specializing in hepatopancreatobiliary surgery with an interest in benign and malignant conditions of the live, bile duct and pancreas, as well as minimally invasive surgical techniques.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: New Perspectives on the Brain-Gut Connection

Linda Lee, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Director, Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center

Dr. Lee earned her medical degree from the University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine. After finishing her internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lee completed a gastroenterology fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1994, Dr. Lee joined the full-time faculty at Johns Hopkins University.

Currently the director of the Johns Hopkins Integrative Medicine and Digestive Center, Dr. Lee focuses her clinical practice on patient-centered, integrative approaches to the treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms and the promotion of optimal digestive health. Dr. Lee is board certified in internal medicine and gastroenterology.

  • Hepatitis B – what every practitioner needs to know

Zhiping Li, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Transplant Hepatology Fellowship Program
Co-Director, Hepatology

After earning his medical degree from Shanghai Second Medical University, Dr. Li completed an internal medicine residency program at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Li then joined the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for a fellowship in transplant hepatology and advanced therapeutic ERCP training before joining the faculty in 2003. Dr. Li focuses his clinical practice on hepatology, biliary disease, liver transplant, nutrition, and liver immunology.

  • Probiotics for GI disorders: hype or help?
  • Capsule Endoscopy in 2007 - what’s new and on the horizon?
  • Nutrition and the gut
  • Inflammatory bowel disease – the role nutrition plays in effective management
  • Nutrition in a hospital setting
  • The Role of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in GI disease
  • Does complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) work for IBD?
  • An evidence-based approach to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in GI disease

Gerard Mullin, M.D., M.S., C.N.S.P.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of Nutrition Services and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Director of Capsule Endoscopy 

Dr. Mullin graduated from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School, completed his training in internal medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital, and conducted his fellowship in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.Dr. Mullin focuses his clinical practice on gastrointestinal nutrition, holistic medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, and functional gastrointestinal disorders. Dr. Mullin also specializes in capsule endoscopy, obesity and weight loss, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

  • Outcomes and decision analyses in gastroenterology - what every physician should know
  • The future of endoscopy: interventional and innovative strategies
  • An overview of diagnostic and therapeutic approaches with Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Patrick I. Okolo, III, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Associate Professor of Medicine

Dr. Okolo earned his medical degree from the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, before completing his residency at Indiana University Medical Center and fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.Dr. Okolo’s specific areas of interest include clinical epidemiology, endoluminal stenting, and innovative and interventional endoscopy.

  • Liver tumors/cancers
  • Gallbladder and bile duct tumors/cancers
  • Pancreas tumors/cancers
  • Gastrointestinal tumors/cancer including stomach, intestines, colon
  • Experimental therapeutics of hepatic malignancies
  • Clinical trials in gastrointestinal malignancies

Timothy Michael Pawlik, M.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Oncology

Dr. Pawlik earned his medical degree and MPH from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed his residency in general surgery at the University of Michigan Hospital. He completed additional, advanced training in surgical oncology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. His main clinical interests include alimentary tract surgery, with a special interest in hepatic and pancreatobiliary diseases.Dr. Pawlik also has a strong interest in medical ethics. He has a Masters in Theology with a focus in bioethics from Harvard Divinity School and completed a fellowship in medical ethics in the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard School of Medicine. Dr. Pawlik also completed a Masters in Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine.



  • Esophageal Motility Disorders
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Irritable bowel disease and other functional bowel diseases
  • Gastroparesis
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
  • Chronic Constipation


Bani Chander Roland, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor

Dr. Roland joins Johns Hopkins from Yale University School of Medicine where she completed a fellowship in gastroenterology.  She specializes in motility, and her clinical expertise includes gastroesophageal reflux disease, achalasia, gastroparesis, functional bowel disease, small intestinal dysmotility and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

She received her medical degree from, as well as completed her residency at New York University School of Medicine.  She completed her fellowship at the Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven Hospital. 

Dr. Roland has been recognized with several awards and honors, authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and is board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine.Assistant Professor of Medicine
Assistant Professor



  • Acute Liver Failure
  • Selection and Outcomes of Liver Transplantation
  • Hepatocellular Carcinoma - Surveillance and Management
  • Complication of Cirrhosis

Kirti Shetty, M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of Hepatology, Sibley Memorial Hospital

Dr. Shetty joins Johns Hopkins from Georgetown University, where she was a professor of medicine and surgery and continues as an adjunct professor.  She previously served as medical director of liver transplantation at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, where she established the transplant hepatology service line and initiated and directed the ACGME-accredited transplant hepatology fellowship program.

Her clinical interests include viral hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, liver cancer and liver transplantation outcomes.  Her research focuses on mechanisms of hepatocarcinogenesis in cirrhosis.  Her ongoing translational research collaborations explore biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma and chemopreventive approaches in patients with cirrhosis.  Dr. Shetty has authored numerous publications in prestigious journals and has both contributed to and edited textbooks in liver disease.

Dr. Shetty is board-certified in gastroenterology and transplant hepatology.


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