Basic Science Track

The Gastroenterology Basic Science Research Training Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is designed to promote the development of promising MD and PhD postdoctoral fellows as independent investigators and future university faculty members who will investigate the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases. Training of the postdoctoral fellow is individualized, and the most important component is conducted by the trainee in the faculty mentor’s laboratory. Additional training includes didactic courses, seminars and conferences, and seminars on responsible conduct of research.


The training faculty consists of 27 funded investigators from 11 basic science and clinical departments at the University of North Carolina, who are all full-time members of the NIDDK-funded Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease (CGIBD). These broadly based faculty members have a documented history of close interactions promoting multidisciplinary research. The postdoctoral fellows benefit from the unique strengths of digestive disease research at the University of North Carolina, which include the CGIBD with its research cores, a research-oriented Pediatric Gastroenterology Division, a coordinated research training program, animal models of digestive diseases, outstanding programs in gastrointestinal epidemiology and biostatistics, a Gene Therapy Center, and a Center for Alcohol Studies.

R. Balfour Sartor directs the training program with the assistance of three senior gastrointestinal researchers who constitute the Training Program Advisory Committee. The program recruits 1 to 2 new fellows each year from a pool of MD adult gastroenterology fellows, MD pediatric gastroenterology fellows, PhD postdoctoral fellows, and individuals holding DVM degrees.

For those individuals who wish to apply to our basic science program and who are not pursuing our basic science fellowship program as part of our general MD fellowship program through the Match, please provide a cover letter, biosketch, statement of intended or proposed research plan, and at least two letters of recommendation to Evan Ellis-Raymer, Training Grants Administrator, UNC Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 4101 Bioinformatics Building, 130 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7080, phone 919-966-8381, fax 919-966-7592, email This information will be reviewed by our Training Program Advisory Committee. Candidates offered a position will be assigned a primary research mentor. To ensure safe arrival of all application materials, we strongly urge interested individuals to send information electronically.

Training Faculty

Our program includes the following faculty members:

Drs. Albert Baldwin, Anthony Blikslager, Ian Carroll, Chris Dekaney, Channing Der, Jeff Frelinger, Ajay Gulati, Jonathan Hansen, Susan Henning, Christian Jobin, Temitope Keku, Sandra Kim, John Lemasters, Stanley Lemon, Kay Lund, Scott Magness, Virginia Miller, Dhaval Patel, Scott Plevy, John Rawls, Jude Samulski, R. Balfour Sartor, Shehzad Sheikh, Jenny Ting, Susan Tonkogony, Paul Watkins, and Steven Zeisel.

For the MD fellows, this research training program precedes subspecialty clinical training. The trainees receive two years of research training with external support sought for later years. This institutional training grant promotes intensive training in molecular techniques and basic pathophysiology in a stimulating and diverse but integrated investigative environment leading to broadly trained independent investigators capable of adapting to the rapid advances in research.


The training program is funded by an Institutional National Research Service Award from the NIH. As such, the program abides by the rules established for these awards.

Stipends are established by the NIH. The current annual stipend for postdoctoral trainees is determined by the number of FULL years of relevant postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment. Relevant experience may include research experience (including industrial), teaching, internship, residency, clinical duties, or other time spent in full-time studies in a health-related field following the date of the qualifying doctoral degree.