Our Physician Scientist Mentors

Nourished by the enthusiasm and creativity of young scientists, DDRF mentors are acclaimed physician-scientists who commit their time and expertise to lead their DDRF Fellow through the conception, design and execution of a clinical research project. Our fellows commit their time and resources to mentoring our students throughout the research process.


Our Physician Scientist Mentors 2015-2016

James Aisenberg, MD, FACP
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor
2003 – Present

James Aisenberg, MD, FACPDr. Aisenberg is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, trained in internal medicine at The Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and completed his gastroenterology fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital. His research focuses on gastrointestinal endoscopy, and also on the impact of common medications on digestive health. He has published over one hundred articles, chapters, and abstracts in leading peer-reviewed journals, and speaks nationally and internationally on gastrointestinal health and disease prevention. He is the President of the Digestive Disease Research Foundation. As featured in The New York Times, from 2003 through the present he has been selected annually by his peers as a “Top Doctor” in New York in the field of gastroenterology.

Mindie Nguyen, MD, MAS
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor

2012, 2015 - Present

Dr. Mindie Nguyen is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, at Stanford University Medical Center.  She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and her master’s degree in clinical research at UCSF.  Dr. Nguyen’s primary research interests include the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma with an emphasis on disease determinants, diagnostic and screening tests, and ethnic differences, and the epidemiological and clinical behaviors of viral hepatitis, particularly in hepatitis C patients with novel genotypes and in under-studied populations.

Kenneth M. Miller, MD
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor

2003 - Present

Kenneth M. Miller, MD, FACPDr. Miller is a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. He graduated with the highest honors from New York University School of Medicine, trained in internal medicine at Harvard University's Beth Israel Hospital, and completed his gastroenterology fellowship at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. His research interests include colorectal cancer screening and the development of new technologies for therapeutic applications of endoscopy. Dr. Miller has numerous publications and has presented his research at gastroenterology meetings both in the United States and abroad.

Neville D. Bamji, MD
DDRF – Physician Scientist Mentor
2014 – Present

Kenneth M. Miller, MD, FACPDr. Bamji is a Clinical Instructor of Medicine at Ican School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. After completing his undergraduate degree in biology at Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree at Weill Medical College at Cornell University, Dr. Bamji completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at New York Presbyterian Hospital - Cornell Campus.
Dr. Bamji has received multiple honors and has been extensively involved in research, presenting the results of his studies at both national and international conferences and venues. He has also been widely published in peer-reviewed journals and maintains active memberships in the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and the American College of Gastroenterology.

Jay Desai, MD
DDRF Physician-Scientist Co-Mentor
2015 - Present

Dr. Desai began his academic work with DDRF as a Fellow in 2006 when he was a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine. After medical school graduation he completed his residency in internal medicine and most recently his fellowship training in gastroenterology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Desai will remain on the faculty of NYU when he joins the private practice of NYGA in July. He is already widely published as either lead or co-author of more than ten clinical research studies published in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Desai’s research interests range widely including gastrointestinal endoscopy, the impact of frequently utilized medications on the digestive system and new endoscopic techniques for patients which improve the diagnosis of common digestive ailments.


Our DDRF Adjunct Mentors 2015-2016

Joseph Maklansky, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Radiology

Dr Joseph J. Maklansky received his BA from Tulane University and his MD from The Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  Dr. Maklansky is Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology specializing in Body Imaging, particularly CT, MRI, and Ultrasound. He is a member of The Radiological Society of North America, The New York State Radiological Society, The American College of Radiology, and The New York State Roentgen Ray Society.

 

Burt Cohen, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Radiology

Dr. Burton A. Cohen received his BA from Yeshiva University and his MD at New York Medical College.  Dr. Cohen is Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology, specializing in Body Imaging, particularly Body CT and MRI.  He is a member of The Radiological Society of North America, The New York Roentgen Society, The American College of Radiology, The American Roentgen Ray Society, The Society of Thoracic Radiology, The Society of Computed Body Tomography and Magnetic Resonance, and The Clinical Magnetic Resonance Society.

Stephen Gorfine, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Surgery

Dr. Gorfine has been active in clinical research, most notably in the field of benign anal diseases. He performed the initial investigations concerning the use of nitroglycerin for the treatment of anal fissures and hemorrhoids. This work led to sole authorship of publications in Diseases of the Colon and Rectum and The New England Journal of Medicine. The use of nitroglycerin in the treatment of anal fissures has gained widespread popularity, and is considered by many the initial treatment of first choice.  In addition to this work, Dr. Gorfine is recognized as a leader in the field of surgery for inflammatory bowel disease.   Dr. Gorfine remains an active and respected member of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He has served as a reviewer for their journal, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum and on numerous national committees of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons

David Chessin, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Surgery

Dr. Chessin joined Manhattan Surgical Associates in 2008. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.  His expertise and advanced training is in the fields of colon and rectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), laparoscopic colorectal surgery, and benign anorectal disease.  Dr. Chessin completed his first three years of residency in General Surgery at Mount Sinai, and then took a position as a Clinical Research Fellow on the Colorectal Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in June of 2003. While at Sloan-Kettering, Dr. Chessin published over 15 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 5 book chapters covering various topics in colon and rectal cancer. In addition, he presented his research at multiple national and international medical conferences.

Daniel Popowich, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Surgery

In July 2013, Dr. Popowich joined the team at Manhattan Surgical Associates. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Popowich has cutting-edge training and expertise in the fields of inflammatory bowel disease, colon and rectal cancer, laparoscopic colorectal surgery, single incision laparoscopic surgery, transanal endoscopic microsurgery and sphincter preserving surgery. He also has experience in the management of benign anorectal disease as well as extensive experience in the surgical management of constipation and fecal incontinence, including sacral nerve stimulation. Paralleled with Dr. Popowich’s clinical interests, he is active in many research projects evaluating the medical and surgical management of inflammatory bowel disease, colon and rectal cancer and quality improvement.

Heidrun Rotterdam, MD
DDRF Adjunct Mentor – GI Pathology

Heidi Rotterdam graduated from Medical School in Munich Germany and did her residency in anatomic pathology in the US: first at the Pieter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, followed by Lenox Hill Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center in New York.  Since 1995, she has been Professor of Clinical Pathology at Columbia University Medical Center and was an Attending Pathologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, where she began her specialization in gastrointestinal pathology.   With her mentor Sheldon Sommers, MD she is the author of Biopsy Diagnosis of the Digestive Tract.  Dr. Rotterdam was the President of the New York Pathological Society from 1999 to 2001, was a Council Member of the US and Canadian Academy of Pathology and has participated in numerous national and international meetings.


Our Physician Scientist Mentors 2003-2015

Steven H. Itzkowitz, MD, FACP, FACG, AGAF
DDRF Physician-Scientist Mentor
2014-2015

Dr. Steven Itzkowitz, MD is Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) and Oncological Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. In addition to a clinical practice, Dr. Itzkowitz is Director of the GI Fellowship Program and Co-Chair of the GI Tumor Board at Sinai. He is Co-Chair of the New York City C5 Coalition (Citywide Colon Cancer Control Coalition). Dr. Itzkowitz conducts both basic science and clinical research focused on gastrointestinal oncology. His research has focused on detecting and preventing colon cancer in inflammatory bowel disease, reducing disparities in colon cancer screening and developing new non-invasive stool DNA test for colon cancer. Dr. Itzkowitz is widely published and frequently presents at national and international medical conferences.

George Triadafilopoulos, MD, DSc
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor

2011-2013

George Triadafilopoulos, MD, DScDr. George Triadafilopoulos is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine in California. An internationally acclaimed clinician-scientist, he has authored more than 160 original research articles and 90 review papers in leading journals in the field of gastroenterology. Recently, he served as Editor-in-Chief of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the leading global journal devoted to the field of endoscopy. In addition, he co-directs the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training program at Stanford University. Dr. Triadafilopoulos’s research focuses on gastro-esophageal reflux disease, pre-cancerous changes in the esophagus and colon (such as Barrett’s Esophagus and polyps), and gastrointestinal motility disorders.

John Morton, MD, MPH
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor
2012-2013

Dr. John Morton is an Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University serving as Section Chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Director of both Bariatric Surgery and Surgical Quality. He also heads the Minimally Invasive Surgery fellowship and the Stanford Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SCORE) and is Co-Director of the Stanford Digestive Health Center. His research has focused on quality improvement and bariatric surgery and has published 3 books and over 100 influential articles.  His clinical skills have resulted in being named Castle Connolly’s “Physician of the Year for Clinical Excellence” in 2012.  He also served on Capitol Hill as Senator Bill Frist’s Health Policy Intern.

Charles J. Lightdale, MD
DDRF Physician Scientist Mentor
2009-2010

Dr. Lightdale is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Dr. Lightdale has published widely focusing on ground breaking research in Barrett’s Esophagus (BE), a condition of abnormal cell growth in the lining of the esophagus due to repeated exposure to stomach acid. Barrett’s Esophagus can lead to esophageal cancer. The early detection of these abnormal cells, can improve the treatment and prevention of this cancer. He has authored and edited more than 400 publications, including original articles, books, and monographs.  In 1999, he received the Rudolf Schindler Award, the highest honor of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.