Visiting Scientists Program

Our Visiting Scientist Program hosts scientists and faculty from other institutions for extended stays of one or two years, uring which they participate as visiting faculty in the research projects of Center investigators.

The Center accepts visiting scientists at all levels of their career and provides them with the flexibility to tailor their experience at the Center to their own needs and interests. These visitors are normally supported by their own institutions or grant agencies but, under exceptional circumstances, they may be supported by the Center.

While studying at the Center, visiting scientists have access to expert psychologists, gastroenterologists and physiologists, providing a wide variety of opportunities to learn vital skills and techniques in the treatment and research of functional GI and motility disorders. Visiting scientists also have the chance to observe patient care, participate in research meetings and teaching conferences (CME), and expand their training experience by meeting with other faculty within the UNC Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Visiting scientists are expected to lecture or make presentations and, in this way, to bring new skills and knowledge to the Center's resident clinicians and investigators. They write academic publications related to functional GI and motility disorders, and are invited to write articles for the Center's quarterly Digest newsletter that are representative of their particular clinical care or academic interests.

Recent visiting scientists include:

  • Motoyori Kanazawa, MD, PhD, is from the Department of Behavioral Medicine, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan, where he is an Assistant Professor and director of the teaching program. He was a Visiting Scientist at the Center from July 2002 to June 2004, during which he completed a number of epidemiological and physiological studies. His research interests have included the study of visceral perception in functional dyspepsia using cerebral evoked potential, epidemiological studies of learned illness behavior in IBS, and trans-cultural studies comparing the characteristics of IBS patients in the US and Japan. He has returned to Tohoku University, but he continues to collaborate with Center investigators.


  • Albena Halpert, MD, was a Visiting Scientist at the Center from July 2002 to June 2004. She has a special interest in patient education and carried out research on the educational needs of FGID patients and the impact of providing this education on health outcomes. She also carried out research on the physiology of incontinence and defecation. Dr. Halpert is now directing the functional GI and motility program at Boston University Medical Center, but she continues to collaborate with Center investigators.


  • Andree Rasquin, MD (September 1994 to June 1995) is a Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology and former Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology at St. Justine Hospital, University of Montreal, Canada. Her visit to the UNC Center led to a career change from working in liver disease to research and clinical care in pediatric functional GI disorders. Since her visit, Dr. Rasquin has set up a pediatric functional GI program and has received a $1 million grant from the Janssen Foundation to support this effort. She has also been co-Chair of the Rome II and Rome III Pediatric Functional GI Disorders Committee.

  • Reuben Wong, MD was a visiting scientist from July 2008 to June 30, 2009. Dr. Wong is a consulting gastroenterologist at the National University Hospital and he is an instructor at the University of Singapore. While in residence, Dr. Wong initiated a number of research programs. These include a study of the relationship between functional constipation and IBS-C, genetic markers of post-infectious IBS, and the burden of IBS on partners of patients. Dr. Wong has returned to Singapore but is an adjunct assistant professor in the Center.

  • Joseph Zimmerman, MD is a graduate of the Hebrew-University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem, where he completed his residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Gastroenterology. Dr. Zimmerman currently holds a position of Associate Professor of Gastroenterology at the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem. His current interests are focused on various aspects of functional GI disorders: Development and validation of symptom scales for use in research of these disorders; contribution of IBS features to symptoms of non gastrointestinal diseases, such as bronchial asthma; the use of hypnosis and suggestion in treatment of these conditions. Dr. Zimmerman has published over 70 original papers. During his stay in UNC, Dr. Zimmerman worked to validate some of the scales he has developed for measurement of symptoms in the English language, to study the course and results of detoxification protocol in treating narcotic bowel syndrome, and interacted with the various members on the GI faculty on mutual fields of interests. In addition he served as adjunct faculty in the functional GI and Motility clinic and the Division of Gastroenerology and Hepatology.

Interested scientists should complete the Visiting Scientist/Scholar Application and attach their CV.  Please note, however, we have filled all of our visitor positions this calendar year.  Please apply in 2013.