David C. Whitcomb, MD, PhD

Professor of Medicine, Cell Biology, and Physiology
University of Pittsburgh
Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


David C. Whitcomb completed a doctorate in physiology and a medical degree at Ohio State University. His postdoctoral training included a medical residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Duke University. Dr. Whitcomb joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor of medicine in 1991 and advanced to become an endowed professor with tenure, as well as Chief of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition and one of six Ladies Hospital Aid Society “Doctor of Distinction” at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Additionally, Dr. Whitcomb founded the Center for Genomic Sciences (now part of the Genomics and Proteomics Core Laboratory), served as Director of the Nutrition Support Service and Director of Gastroenterology for the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System. He is the Giant Eagle Foundation Professor of Cancer Genetics and Medical Director of the UPMC Liver-Pancreas Institute Comprehensive Pancreas Program.

Dr. Whitcomb is a member of many professional and scientific societies, serving as president of the American Pancreatic Association and Chairman of the Pancreatic Disorders Section of the American Gastroenterology Association. He founded and leads the Midwest Multicenter Pancreatic Study Group and the Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER).  He started and sponsors PancreasFest, an annual international translational meeting every July in Pittsburgh. Dr. Whitcomb has received dozens of honors and awards: he was voted by his peers as a Best Doctor in America (2009 to present), selected one of ASG Review’s Top 75 Gastroenterologists in America (November 2010), and named by Becker’s ACS Review as one of the 20 Great Physicians in Pennsylvania (May 26, 2011).

Dr. Whitcomb has written over 200 scientific articles and edited 8 books. He is among the most-cited authors in the field: over a dozen of his articles have been referenced by his peers more than 100 times and one over 1000 times. He is in high demand as a plenary speaker at national and international meetings, and he serves as a top consultant to government agencies and industry researchers. Dr. Whitcomb specializes in pancreatic disease research related to acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic effects of cystic fibrosis, and pancreatic cancer. With graduate training in physiology and modeling complex conditions, he has become a pioneer in the integrated use of mathematics, genetics, neurosciences, immunology, epidemiology and clinical sciences to study complex inflammation disorders and cancer risks of the digestive system. He is the national leader of several major National Institutes of Health–sponsored multicenter studies and leads one of the top human genetics programs for complex diseases. His pioneering work in developing an effective program for delivering the information needed for personalized medicine is being studied and emulated by other leading programs throughout the country.