Robert O. Heuckeroth, M.D. Ph.D.

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Professor of Pediatrics (Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition)
Department: Pediatrics

Contact information
Robert O. Heuckeroth M.D. Ph.D.
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Research Institute
3615 Civic Center Blvd
Abramson Research Center -Suite # 1116i
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4318
Office: 215-590-1209
Fax: 215-590-3324
B.S. (Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude with high honors in chemistry)
University of Maryland, 1983.
Ph.D. (Biochemistry)
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, 1990.
Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, 1990.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

Pediatric gastroenterologist with more than 20 years experience taking care of children with a wide array of complex bowel, liver and pancreatic diseases.

Description of Research Expertise

Our research is focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control enteric nervous system development. This work involves a combination of molecular biology, genetics, live cell imaging, primary cell culture, epidemiology, physiology, biochemistry, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Since the enteric nervous system is derived from actively migrating, proliferating and differentiating neural crest cells, we have broad interests in the complex processes that govern normal and abnormal development with the long term goal of finding new ways to prevent birth defects and to repair damaged organs.

Projects we are currently pursuing include:
1. Defining genetics of Hirschsprung disease and intestinal pseudoobstruction syndrome.
2. Identifying gene-environment interactions that cause human birth defects.
3. Determining mechanisms to control the fate of enteric nervous system stem cells.
4. Developing regenerative medicine approaches to care for children with serious intestinal motility disorders.
5. Establishing translational research programs to improve visualization of the enteric nervous system and bowel wall.
6. Personalized medicine approaches to therapy.

Selected Publications

Lake JI, Tusheva OA, Graham BL, Heuckeroth RO: Hirschsprung-like disease is exacerbated by reduced de novo GMP synthesis. Journal for Clinical Investigation 123(11): 4875-87, November 2013.

Fu M, Landreville S, Agapova OA, Wiley LA, Shoykhet M, Harbour JW, Heuckeroth RO : Retinoblastoma protein prevents enteric nervous system defects and intestinal pseudo-obstruction. Journal for Clinical Investigation 123(12): 5152-64, Dec 2013.

Wright-Jin EC, Grider JR, Duester G, Heuckeroth RO: Retinaldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes regulate colon enteric nervous system structure and function. Developmental Biology 381(1): 28-37, Sep 2013.

Hitch MC, Leinicke JA, Wakeman D, Guo J, Erwin CR, Rowland KJ, Merrick EC, Heuckeroth RO, Warner BW: Ret heterozygous mice have enhanced intestinal adaptation after massive small bowel resection. American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology 302(10): G1143-50, May 15 2012.

Viader A, Wright-Jin EC, Vohra BPS, Heuckeroth RO, Milbrandt J: Differential regional and subtype-specific vulnerability of enteric neurons to mitochondrial dysfunction. PLoS ONE [Electronic Resource] 6(11): e27727, 2011.

Fu M, Sato Y, Lyons-Warren A, Zhang B, Kane MA, Napoli JL, Heuckeroth RO: Vitamin A facilitates enteric nervous system precursor migration by reducing Pten accumulation. Development 137(4): 631-40, Feb 2010.

Wang H, Hughes I, Planer W, Parsadanian A, Grider JR, Vohra BPS, Keller-Peck C, Heuckeroth RO: The timing and location of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor expression determine enteric nervous system structure and function. Journal of Neuroscience 30(4): 1523-38, Jan 27 2010.

Lake J, Heuckeroth RO : Enteric nervous system development: Migration, differentiation and disease. American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 305(1): G1-G24, July 2013 Notes: Selected as an “Editor’s Pick” (PMID 2369815) DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00452.2012.

Heuckeroth RO : Hirschsprung disease Pediatric Neurogastroenterology. Faure C, DiLorenzo C, Thapar N (eds.). Humana Press, New York, Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London Page: 271-283, 2013

Heuckeroth RO: Congenital and Acquired Disorders of the Enteric Nervous System. Translational Gastroenterology: Organogenesis to Disease. Samuelson LC, Gumucio DL (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

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Last updated: 07/16/2024
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