James D. Lewis, MD, MSCE, a professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and associate director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Achievement in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Clinical Science award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Lewis was nominated by the medical and research community for his exceptional dedication to the field of IBD.
During Lewis’ 20-year career, he has published 200 scholarly articles. Lewis, who is also a senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is among few researchers leading NIH-funded clinical trials for novel therapeutic strategies for IBD. Lewis has directed two clinical trials of rosiglitazone to treat ulcerative colitis and a trial using biomarkers to adjust medical therapy for ulcerative colitis. His most recent research delves into the influence of diet and gut microorganisms on the course of IBD to pinpoint new treatments that are not based on systemic immunosuppression. To that end, he is currently directing a clinical trial of two diets as therapies for Crohn’s disease.
Lewis’ research has also advanced the field’s understanding of medication safety, including studies looking at whether patients treated with various medications for IBD are at increased risk for cancer, infections, neurologic diseases, and death, and whether such risks are warranted given the effectiveness of the therapy.
One of the world’s preeminent leaders in IBD, Lewis is also the lead scientist behind CCFA’s IBD Plexus, which aims to be the largest IBD research and information exchange platform ever developed. The resource will standardize data collection and sharing, allowing researchers to mine extensive patient data for new insights into Crohn’s and colitis.
“The enormous potential to improve the lives of those with IBD is the driving force behind my research efforts,” Lewis said. “By improving current treatments and creating less toxic therapies, my colleagues and I will continue advancing the body of knowledge in Crohn’s and colitis to help patients control their IBD and improve their quality of life.”
Lewis earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Virginia in 1987. He received his MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and subsequently served as Chief Medical Resident at Yale University. Following his residency, Dr. Lewis simultaneously completed a fellowship in Gastroenterology and obtained a master’s degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and currently is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Senior Scholar at the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, Associate Director of the Penn Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, and Director of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Clinical Research Program.
Lewis received the award at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s annual Advances in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Conference earlier this month. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America is the largest non-profit voluntary health organization dedicated to helping patients battle IBD.