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David C. Whitcomb, MD, PhD

Dr. Whitcomb is a pioneer in the use of mathematics, genetics, neurosciences, immunology, epidemiology, and clinical sciences to study complex inflammation disorders and cancer risks of the digestive system, and he is among the most-cited authors in the field of pancreatic diseases with multiple landmark papers. He co-founded the Center for Genomic Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh (now part of the Genomics and Proteomics Core Laboratory), and served as Director of the Nutrition Support Service and Director of Gastroenterology for the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System. He served as Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh from 1999 to 2016, building it into a top-tier Gastroenterology program.

With over 25 years of continuous NIH funding, he served as principal investigator on multiple National Institutes of Health-sponsored studies, building one of the top human genetics programs for complex digestive diseases.  He has published over 400 papers, reviews and book chapters with nearly 30,000 citations, and h-index of ~ 85 and i10index of ~280.  His research, education and organizational innovations in precision medicine continue to be studied and emulated by other leading programs throughout the world.

Dr. Whitcomb completed a doctorate in physiology (PhD, 1983) and a medical degree (MD, 1985) at Ohio State University. Postdoctoral training at Duke University included medical residency, gastroenterology fellowship, and postdoctoral training under Ian Taylor, MD PhD. Dr. Whitcomb joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC as a physician-scientists in 1991.  He holds the Giant Eagle Foundation Professor of Cancer Genetics (endowed chair), Professor of Medicine (with tenure), Professor of Cell Biology & Molecular Physiology, and Professor of Human Genetics.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. Professor Whitcomb is Editor-in-Chief of Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, an official journal of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), and Section Editor for Pancreas, UpToDate.  Dr. Whitcomb has served as president of the American Pancreatic Association (APA) and Chairman of the Pancreatic Disorders Section of the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA). He co-founded and has led the Midwest Multicenter Pancreatic Study Group, the North American Pancreatic Study Group (NAPS2), and the Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER). He started and directs PancreasFest, an annual international translational meeting every July in Pittsburgh.  He has been recognized by his peers with four different national and international lifetime achievements, mentoring, and/or service awards. Recognizing the failures of the effective treatment of chronic pancreatitis, Dr. Whitcomb has championed the idea of precision medicine for complex chronic disorders.  Since disruptive technologies are not embraced by established enterprises that do not disrupt, Dr. Whitcomb co-founded Ariel Precision Medicine, an independent, genomic-health information technology company to deliver precision medicine for patients who need it.  He serves Ariel Precision Medicine as a consultant, Chair of the medical advisory board, and sits on the board of directors.