Research News 2022 (Update Summer 2022)

Scientific Subcommittee Update 2022

New Scientific Committee Members:

Britt Christensen, Mariangela Allocca, Tom Goodsall, Cathy Lu, Bram Verstockt, Michael Winter


Introduction on SciCom:

We have formed a fantastic new SciCom this year with a diverse membership group from around the world.

This year's first half has focused on outlining our priorities and aims. We are currently starting to work on a formal SciCom charter and developing our one and five-year plans. We are also developing official SOPs and reporting requirements for the IBUS ECCO research grant, which is currently being advertised, and we will start reviewing proposals once the deadline closes. Our team is working on a review article that aims to highlight research gaps in intestinal ultrasound. This year, we aim to develop an international study site registration and listing on the IBUS webpage. This aims to encourage more outstanding international collaboration with quality control checks in place. Going forward, we will also collaborate with the central reading interest group on the future direction of central reading in clinical trials. Finally, several of our members are part of the Helmsley project, USE-IT, that aims to develop a validated Crohn’s disease IUS score.

Britt Christensen


Britt Christensen is a senior gastroenterologist and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre at The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and a Clinical Associate Professor at University of Melbourne. Her research is focused on novel pathways of disease and treatment, infection and vaccination response in IBD, pregnancy and sexual function, and on histology, biomarkers, and prognostic markers of IBD, including intestinal ultrasound. She is the Chair of the Australian IBD Faculty, a board member of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, and the SciCom lead for IBUS.

Mariangela Allocca


Mariangela Allocca is a senior gastroenterologist and a clinical researcher at the IBD Center, San Raffaele Hospital of Milan-Italy.

She has been adjunct Teaching Professor of Gastroenterology at Humanitas University from 2017 to 2021.

Her research is focused on non-invasive diagnostic and monitoring techniques, in particular on the investigation of the role of bowel ultrasound for the assessment of activity and complications in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

She is currently a member of the International Bowel Ultrasound Group (IBUS) and IBUS SciCom deputy chair.

Furthermore, she is a member of the European Crohn’s Colitis Organization (ECCO) and the Italian Group for the study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IG-IBD).

Dr. Allocca is involved in clinical trials for new treatments for inflammatory bowel disease in collaboration with many Italian, European and North-American centers.

She is the author and co-author of several peer-reviewed publications. In particular, she has developed and validated the Milan Ultrasound Criteria for ulcerative colitis and the Bowel Ultrasound Score for Crohn's disease for monitoring disease activity and severity of IBD by bowel ultrasound.

In addition, she is proactively involved in the production of ECCO guidelines, topical reviews, and workshops.

Michael Winter


Michael Winter is a gastroenterologist in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, USA, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He joined Dartmouth-Hitchcock in 2019.

His research is focused on improving outcomes in inflammatory bowel disease through the use of non-invasive monitoring techniques, implementation of population management tools, and studying barriers to medication adherence.

He is involved in clinical trials for ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease focused on novel therapeutic targets as well as the use of hyperbaric oxygen in the management of ulcerative colitis.

He is currently a member of the International Bowel Ultrasound Group (IBUS) and IBUS SciCom committee.

Tom Goodsall


Tom Goodsall is a gastroenterologist and clinical lecturer at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, Australia. He has established and leads the intestinal ultrasound service within the IBD unit. Tom completed an Intestinal Ultrasound Fellowship and is studying a Ph.D. with a focus on developing and validating ultrasound indices in Crohn’s disease for clinical trials, including centralised reading.

Tom is a member of IBUS and a representative on SciCom. He is also a member of the Gastroenterological Network of Intestinal Ultrasound (GENIUS), ECCO, and GESA. Tom is a passionate educator and plans to use his SciCom role to promote and develop strong collaborative research links and streamline global intestinal ultrasound research.

Cathy Lu


Dr. Cathy Lu is a clinical assistant professor of medicine. She completed her internal medicine and gastroenterology residency at the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Lu completed a joint advanced IBD fellowship with a specialization in intestinal ultrasound at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. She is an operational committee member of the STAR (Stenosis, Therapy, and Anti-Fibrotic Research) Consortium. Her primary research interests are in fibrostenotic Crohn’s disease, intestinal ultrasound, and biomarkers in diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment response in IBD.

Bram Verstockt


Bram Verstockt, MD Ph.D., graduated medical at the KU Leuven, Belgium, in 2013. In 2015, he interrupted his residency to start his Ph.D. ‘Predicting outcome in IBD, a multi-omics approach – Creating opportunities for personalised medicine, which he defended in 2019. During the first year of his Ph.D., he worked at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. In 2021 he graduated as a gastroenterologist and joined the IBD staff at the University Hospitals Leuven. In 2022, he has been appointed as an assistant professor at the KU Leuven, Belgium.

After completing the IBUS curriculum, Bram introduced intestinal ultrasound at the tertiary IBD referral clinic in Leuven and currently aims to further expand its uptake around Belgium. He does clinical research on monitoring tools (including IUS) and real-life IBD data and is involved in various (inter)national studies as (principle) investigator. His translational research mainly focuses on the development of predictive and prognostic markers for more personalised medicine in IBD, as well as on unraveling IBD disease heterogeneity through multi-omics approaches and organoid models. Currently, Bram is a board member of the Y-ECCO committee, the international bowel ultrasound (IBUS) Scientific Committee, and co-founder of the COLLIBRI proteomics consortium in IBD. He is heading the Belgian IBD Biobank (BIO BIRD).

Bram holds a research mandate by the Clinical Research Fund KOOR at the University Hospitals Leuven. In the past, he held a Ph.D. and postdoc fellowship at the Flemish Foundation for Scientific Research (FWO) and received grants from the Helmsley Foundation, ECCO, IBUS, and the Belgian Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research and Development Group. Recently, he was awarded the Research Council Award 2022 for Biomedical Sciences by the KU Leuven.

He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Crohn's and colitis. He serves as a reviewer for multiple journals (including Lancet, Nature Reviews, Gut, Gastroenterology, Lancet Gastroenterology, and Hepatology...), conferences (ECCO, DDW, and UEGW), and funding agencies (including European Research Council ERC, Agence Nationale de la recherche de France, Medical Research Council in the UK…).

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