Non-Endoscopic Surveillance for Barrett's Esophagus Following Ablative Therapy

Project: Research project


This K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award supports Nicholas J. Shaheen, MD, MPH, a Professor of Medicine at University of North Carolina, who graduated fellowship in 1998 and completed a K23 award 6 years ago. Dr. Shaheen has a highly successful program in patient-oriented research as it relates to esophageal neoplasia. This career development award will protect Dr. Shaheen’s time to focus on innovative research and on mentoring trainees. There is an outstanding pool of highly qualified potential mentees, due in part to his institution’s longstanding T32 program in clinical research and epidemiology, of which he is associate director. His immediate objectives are: 1) To expand a rigorous clinical and translational research program in the pathogenesis, prevention, detection and treatment of precancerous and cancerous conditions of the esophagus; 2) To provide highly structured, appropriately supervised, and fruitful research opportunities for mentees; 2) To update and enhance his skills in quantitative and experimental analysis, scale development, and qualitative research; 3) To improve his mentoring and leadership skills; 4) To update and enhance the applicant’s and his mentee’s training in the responsible conduct of research; and, 6) To provide dedicated, comprehensive, and innovative career development and mentorship to multiple outstanding trainees with an interest in digestive diseases. His long-term objectives are: 1) To decrease mortality from esophageal carcinoma by improving screening and developing less invasive therapy for the disease; 2) To expand the UNC multidisciplinary research center for esophageal diseases; and 3) To contribute meaningfully to the development of the next generation of clinical researchers in digestive diseases.
Currently, Dr. Shaheen has a broad portfolio of research funding including his role as a PI of the Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network (BETRNet) consortium, a major project within a second U54 grant, co-investigator status on several other grants, as well as multiple societal and industry grants. He uses this broad program to provide multiple research opportunities to his mentees, resulting in 20 publications featuring trainee authors in 2012 alone. He has been mentor or co-mentor of 3 K awards to date, with a fourth under consideration. His mentees have also received multiple societal faculty development awards.
Dr. Shaheen proposes a highly novel research plan, aimed at addressing the issue of surveillance following endoscopic ablation for Barrett’s esophagus. Using a recently-developed non-endoscopic sampling device, the Cytosponge, he will perform a comparative effectiveness trial assessing the accuracy of this device in detecting recurrent Barrett’s esophagus following successful radiofrequency ablation for dysplastic Barrett’s esophagus (BE). If this device proves able to detect BE in this group with a relatively high risk of BE, it will open the door for subsequent investigations assessing its utility in other clinical settings. Importantly given the purposes of the present application, this study offers multiple opportunities for the involvement of his mentees, including roles in the design, implementation and analysis of the study.
The University of North Carolina provides an exceptional environment and resources for the execution of the proposed award. Mentees will come from the GI division’s longstanding NIDDK T32 grant, as well as from the outstanding general internal medicine residency and from UNC’s School of Medicine. The division’s NIH-funded Digestive Diseases Center houses data management and data analysis resources, including a full-time Ph.D.-level biostatistician. Mentees attend courses at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, one of the top Schools of Public Health in the U.S., supplemented by courses available through the institution’s CTSA, as well as its K30 curriculum.
Currently, Dr. Shaheen’s mentoring efforts are unfunded, and o
Effective start/end date9/17/138/31/18


  • NIH National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD)


Barrett Esophagus
Organized Financing
Translational Medical Research
Research Personnel
Equipment and Supplies
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (U.S.)
Precancerous Conditions
Esophageal Diseases
Public Health Schools
Qualitative Research
Internship and Residency
Internal Medicine