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The annual lecture will honor two investigators who have made major contributions to the field of neurogastroenterology. The initial goal is to establish the annual Dodds-Sarna Lecture and we hope to raise more so that we might add awards for the trainee research presentations at the ANMS national meeting that could be presented in the same session.

We would appreciate your donation to create the Dodds-Sarna Annual Gastrointestinal Motility Lecture. Few members of our specialty are more deserving of this honor than Jerry Dodds and Sushil Sarna. They spent their careers as scientists and educators and their work touched the lives of thousands of patients, scientists and physicians.

Contributions for the named lecture are fully tax deductible and go directly to the ANMS Institute lecture endowment fund.

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Sushil K Sarna, PhD

Dr. Sushil K. Sarna received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering in University of Delhi, India, and his master’s degree and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. An interest in biology led him to the laboratory of the renowned physiologist, Dr. Edwin E. Daniel, where he began his academic career with a joint appointment in the Departments of Pharmacology and Electrical Engineering. After a brief stint as Professor at McMaster University, he was recruited to the Medical College of Wisconsin as Professor of Surgery and Physiology where he became Director of Digestive Research Center and Chief of Surgical Research Section at the Zablocki VA Medical Center. In 2002, Dr. Sarna was recruited to the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) as the Charlotte Warmoth Professor of Internal Medicine and Professor of Neurosciences and Cell Biology. He passed away in 2017 at age 74 after a short illness.

Dr. Sarna had a productive and innovative research career in the field of gastrointestinal motor and sensory function. His early studies of the smooth muscle and enteric neural regulation of esophageal, gastric, small intestinal and colonic motor functions subsequently led to investigation of motor and sensory dysfunctions in preclinical models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Because his unique background and knowledge of electrical circuits, it is no surprise that his early important work in animals focused on the nature of the slow wave electrical activity of the stomach and intestine. His work contributed significantly to our understanding of the mechanisms and electrical basis of migrating motor complex and giant migrating contractions.

In mid-career, Dr. Sarna’s research at the organ, cellular and molecular levels expanded to inflammation. Seminal publications identified the motor disturbances in inflamed small intestinal and colon that were the basis of diarrheas-producing mass propulsions. He defined how changes in signaling in smooth muscle cells suppressed the phasic contractions, while stimulating the giant migrating contractions, together causing urgency and frequent uncontrolled defecation. His laboratory elucidated the molecular processes behind the alterations of key molecules such as G-proteins, Ca2+ channels, and PKC that are fundamental to the smooth muscle dysfunction in inflammation.

In his later career, Dr. Sarna made significant advances in two contemporary areas of the neurogastroenterology: the role of adverse early life experiences in inducing visceral hypersensitivity and smooth muscle dysfunction, and the role of epigenetics in fetal and neonatal programming of gut dysfunction. In animal models, he demonstrated that chronic stress during mid to late pregnancy alters primary and secondary visceral nociceptive neurons in the colonic smooth muscle of the offspring, which manifested as gender-specific visceral and motor dysfunctions in the adult. He also documented that increased sympathetic activity contributed to chronic stress-induced visceral hypersensitivity. These studies identified epigenetic modulations of specific target genes and introduced the potential for histone acetyltransferases and histone deacetylase inhibitors in reversing these changes.

Dr. Sarna received many awards, including the Jansen Award in Gastroenterology for Outstanding Basic Science Research in 1996 and a Senior Medical Career Scientist Award for the Veterans Administration 1984-2001. He published over 240 peer reviewed manuscripts and reviews. He served on the Editorial Boards of several prestigious gastrointestinal journals, including Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Physiology (Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology) and was one of the founding editors for our journal Neurogastroenterology and Motility (formerly Journal of Gastrointestinal Motility). He was a member of several GI societies and an officer in the American Motility Society, the International Motility Society and the International Society for the Study of Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

Dr. Sarna was a dedicated and indefatigable mentor who was instrumental in the careers of several young scientists. Those in his lab received rigorous training in experimental design, data analyses, manuscript and grant writing. His capacity to keep his science current with passing time allowed a strong commitment to the advancement of our field through the continuous production of high quality experimental data and publications.

Dr. Wylie J. (Jerry) Dodds, Professor of Radiology and Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin possessed a unique combination of skills that established him as an internationally recognized authority on upper GI Tract motor function. Expertly trained as a card-carrying GI radiologist, his avocation was the was the pursuit of research investigations on gastrointestinal motor dynamics. Jerry Dodds was a superb clinician and addressed many GI motor issues reflecting directly to patient care. In addition, he demonstrated equal expertise and investigative skills addressing basic GI motility physiology in the animal laboratory. Dr. Jerry Dodds was 58 years old when he died in 1992 from a brain tumor. Despite progressive disability over 3 years, he managed this with dignity and strength and routinely met with his fellowship trainers on a weekly basis to discuss ongoing research.

Following his European tour of duty with the US Air Force, Dr. Dodds, was accepted into the Stanford University School of Medicine Radiology Department under the direction of the world renown Dr. Alex Margulis. Dr. Margulis was a leader in radiologic investigations on GI tract function. During this fellowship, Jerry developed his enthusiasm about the function of GI motor system. His publication on the esophageal motor function of the feline model for the first time integrated manometric recording of contractile pressures in concert with barium visualization of bolus dynamics and tubular muscular configuration. In the early 70’s, Dr. Dodds was one of the several talented young physicians recruited by the new Medical College of Wisconsin Radiology Department headed by Dr. James Youker. Soon after arriving in Milwaukee, Jerry became an active participant in research activities of the Division of Gastroenterology Motility Laboratory. The subspecialty of motility recording at that time suffered from poor mechanics and methodology. The standard motility catheter consisted of one recording lumen in the lower sphincter zone and three recording ports in the esophageal body. The tube was perfused by a sluggish syringe apparatus which did not permit validation of contractive pressures. Because Dr. Dodds has demonstrated shortening of the esophagus during swallowing, recording lower esophageal pressure with a single recording port obviously called into question the reliability of recorded pressures and publication/results. Dr. Dodds quickly seized on this issue in a relatively short time. He devised multiple fused catheters with multiple recording ports arranged in a 360° distribution. A rapid pull-three method in which the manometry tube was slowly pulled through the LES zone with brief suspension of patient’s breathing provided reproducible pressures. In conjunctions with Marquette University Department of Biomedical Engineering, Jerry developed a pneumocapillary perfusion pump which provided accurate pressure recording during peak wave contractions and became the standard perfusion pump used in motility labs for decades. Later in his career, Jerry Dodds was instrumental in validation studies of LES sleeve apparatus developed to obviate esophageal movement by Dr. John Dent. During this period, studies of LES function revolutionized our understanding of this sphincter. Transient LES relaxation episodes were first reported and expanded our knowledge of reflux mechanisms.

Dr. Dodds was especially interested in swallowing dynamics. Fluid consistencies circumferential pressures, dynamics of emptying abdominal pressure and distal structures and both upper and lower sphincter function were studied thoroughly. The effect of multiple pharmacologic agents on esophageal motor function were investigated with a system of manometric recording that provided reproducible results. The influence of amylnitrite and cholecystokinin (CCK) results in useful clinical tests. Perhaps Jerry Dodds greatest contribution to clinical medicine was his investigations on the mechanisms of esophageal acid reflux. Its radiologic experience was invaluable for studying hiatal hernia involvement in acid reflux. He defined the esophageal wave contraction amplitude pressure necessary to clear fluid from the gullet and the role of saliva in symptomatic acid reflux. Esophageal pH studies from the body and hypopharynx were investigated for reproducibility and importance. He published multiple investigation results describing the mechanism od spontaneous acid reflux and esophageal clearance in patient with and without esophagitis.

The direction of research in later investigations centered on upper esophageal motor function in normal subjects and patients with acid reflux disease. Basic research was conducted on the opossum model. Perhaps lesser known was Dr. Dodds research activity in biliary motility. Clinically he validated the hepatic contrast drainage (HIDA scan) time with sphincter of oddi function. He was involved in multiple clinical manometric studies of sphincter of oddi function and dysfunction. He helped devise the three clinical categories related to SO disorders.

In the animal lab, he profiled the anatomy and pressure characteristics of the opossum SO and pharmacologically mapped its smooth muscle responses. The interaction of this sphincter mechanisms with the migrating myoelectrical complex (MMC) in the opossum was described for the first time.

Dr. Jerry Dodds was unexcelled as a mentor His unique ability to teach and interact with his residents and postgraduate students was legendary. The list of former fellows includes past American Motility Association presidents: Dr. Reza Shaker, Dr. Benson Massey and Dr. Ian Cook. Dr. Peter Kahrilas is a former postgraduate fellow. Jerry trained a cadre of young Japanese surgeons from the lab of the late Zen Itoh. They spoke little English upon arrival to the US, but Jerry could communicate the science and friendship. His relationship with Dr. John Dent resulted in subsequent training of several physicians(i.e. Drs. Jim Toouli, Chirs Mortin, and Richard Holloway).

Dr. Dodds published over 350 manuscripts and multiple book chapters in both gastroenterology and radiology journals. His research was NIH funded during his career as an investigator. Dr. Dodds was past president of the ANMS from 1989-1991 and was a recipient of the Societies Distinguished Achievement Award. He was a recipient of the Walter B. Cannon Meadow from the Society of GI Radiologists and a research grant in his honor was established by this organization. He received The Medical College of Wisconsin’s Distinguished Service Award and a yearly lecture in his name has been established by MCWE GI and Radiology Divisions.

Women of Neurogastroenterology

Here we celebrate recipients of the ANMS Distinguished Investigator Award for Women in Neurogastroenterology and Motility

Beverley Greenwood-Van Meerveld, PhD

The 2023 recipient of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society Distinguished Investigator Award for Women in Neurogastroenterology is Dr. Beverley Greenwood-Van Meerveld.

Currently, Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld is Professor Emeritus of Physiology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OK.  

At the time of her retirement in April 2021, Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld was a prestigious George Lynn Cross Professor of Physiology and a President’s Associates Presidential Professor.  For most of her career, Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld was very active in the Department of Veterans Affairs and was the Chair of the local VA Animal Care and Use committee and Chair of the VA Research and Development committee.  At the time of her retirement, she had reached the level of a Senior VA Career Scientist and served as the Chair of the Neurology P VA Merit Review Board and Chair of the Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Science R&D Scientific VA Merit Review Board.

Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld’s research expertise is the neuro-pharmacology of visceral pain of gastrointestinal origin.  For most of her career her research focused on the central nervous system regulation of visceral pain with a strategic objective of using preclinical (in vivo and in vitro) rodent models and multiple state-of-the-art techniques, from molecular and cellular to behavioral, pharmacological and electrophysiological methods. She studied the neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological substrates involved in the interaction between visceral pain and anxiety. She demonstrated long lasting increases in anxiety-like behavior and viscerosomatic sensitivity in response to stress. Her laboratory found persistent down-regulation of GR expression and increases in the expression of CRF and HCN1 channels leading to hyper-excitability of the CeA neurons. The objective of her more recent experiments focused on understanding sex differences in visceral pain in response to various forms of adverse early life stress (ELS). Dr. Greenwod-VanMerveld’s laboratory also has a long history of engaging pharma to identify novel drugs to treat visceral pain and GI disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and post-operative ileus. Her pharma-funded research has impacted the field significantly through multiple presentations at national meetings and high impact publications.

During her career, Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld, was a highly productive researcher with over 160 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 26 invited reviews, 26 books/book chapters and 9 US patents.  At the time of her retirement, Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld was serving as the principal investigator (PI) of an active NIH-R01 (2019-2023), as well as PI of a VA Merit grant (20, PI on a grant from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and PI of numerous industry pharma contracts.  Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld’s international scientific reputation that was recognized by her receipt of the 2004 Janssen Award for Basic Research in Digestive Diseases, the 2012 Oklahoma University Reagent Award for Superior Research and Creative Activity, a Reagents Presidential Professorship (2017-2021), and in 2020 she received a prestigious George Lynn Cross Research Professorship. Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld has held key leadership positions locally and nationally; she served as the President of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society (ANMS) from 2018-2020 and is currently the Chair of the ANMS Institute. She was Chair of the Editorial Board of Neurogastroenterology & Motility until July 2021 and in 2021 became the Specialty Chief Editor for Frontiers in Abdominal and Pelvic Pain. Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld has been a member of ASPET for many years and is currently an ASPET Emeritus member.  During her career, she has served in multiple leadership roles in ASPET including her service as Chair of the Neuropharmacology Division of ASPET (2015-2017) as well as serving as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics from 2012 -2018.  She continued her ASPET service as a member of the ASPET Board of Publications Trustees (BPT) from 2018-2020.  Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld  also chaired and organized multiple ASPET symposia including Novel Approaches to treat Anxiety, Anaheim CA (2010) and Future Therapies for Chronic pain, San Diego, CA (2014).  She was also very involved in the ASPET Postdoctoral Fellow Competition and in 2016 chaired the ASPET Postdoctoral Fellow Competition; San Diego CA. Dr. Greenwood-Van Meerveld is also a Fellow of the American College of Gastroenterology and Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association.

She received her undergraduate degree with special honors in Physiology from the University of Sheffield in 1983 and then gained post-doctoral training from the University of Calgary as an Alberta Heritage Foundation Scholar.

Laurie Keefer, PhD

The 2022 recipient of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society Distinguished Investigator Award for Women in Neurogastroenterology was Dr. Laurie Keefer. At the time of the ward Dr. Laurie Keefer was an academic health psychologist and the Director for Psychobehavioral Research within the Division of Gastroenterology at the Mount Sinai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. She was also a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry in the Division of Gastroenterology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She specializes in the psychosocial care of patients with chronic digestive diseases, specifically inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. Dr. Keefer’s clinical and research interests are in the area of IBD disease self-management, gut-directed hypnotherapy, resilience, the psychosocial care needs of emerging adults with chronic disease and cognitive-behavior therapy. She chairs the Division of Psychogastroenterology within the Rome Foundation and was on the Council of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society.    

Dr. Keefer has published hundreds of articles, book chapters and reviews and is an in-demand speaker and mentor. Her work has been featured on NBC News, as well as a number of other media outlets. She is a co-editor of the first GI Psychology book,  Psychogastroenterology for Adults: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals.

Dr. Keefer received her Master’s of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology at State University of New York at Albany, Albany NY.  She completed her Pre-Doctoral Residency in Health Psychology and Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Psychology-Gastroenterology at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago IL


The 2021 recipient of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society Distinguished Investigator Award for Women In Neurogastroenterology was Dr. Yvette Tache. Dr. Tache is a recognized leading expert in brain-gut interactions and the role of peptides in the underlying mechanisms of stress-related gut dysfunction and central vagal regulation of gut function. Dr. Taché was born in France and after her training joined the Digestive Disease Division at UCLA in 1982. She was appointed Professor-in-Residence in 1987 and was a Distinguished Professor from 2009 until her retirement. Dr.Taché was well funded since by competitive grants obtained from the National Institute of Health (NIH) as well as Veteran Administration (VA) Merit Award since 2000. She was director of the Animal Core within the NIHDDK Digestive Diseases Center up to 2020 and a co-director of the UCLA G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience (CNSR). At the time of her ANMS award she had published 387 peer-reviewed articles, 180 reviews, 19 editorials and edited several books. Professor Taché received numerous awards and honors including being the recipient of NIHDDK MERIT Award, the Distinguished Research Award in Gastrointestinal Physiology from the American Physiological Society, the Janssen Award for Basic Research in Gastrointestinal Motility, Senior Investigator–Basic Science Award from the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, a Research Scientist Award from the Functional Brain-Gut Research Group, Outstanding American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) Women in Sciences, Research Mentor Award from the AGA Institute Council and recipient of a Senior Research Career Scientist Award and Middleton Award from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Dr. Taché has been a research partner to Dr. Chang and shares in having mentored many researchers – PhDs and MDs in the field of Neurogastroenterology and Motility. Together they are a wonderful example of women partnering and supporting each other to make a world-class academic environment dedicated to professional development of women in gastroenterology.

Lin Chang, PhDAt the time of her award Dr. Chang was Professor of Medicine and Vice Chief of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Co-Director of the G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of stress and Resilience at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She was also the Program Director for the UCLA Gastroenterology Fellowship. Dr. Chang has made a huge impact in the field of Neurogasteroenterology. She has published over 130 original articles, 60 Reviews and 26 book chapters related to her study of brain-gut interactions, sex differences in IBS and the development of new treatment approaches for patients with IBS. She has obtained funding for her research for over 25 years from NIH multiple foundations, philanthropic organizations, and industry. Importantly her impact on women’s health was recognized by the American College of Gastroenterology Women in Gastroenterology and Wyeth Award for Gender based research. Another impressive statistic is that Dr. Chang has given nearly 500 invited lectures and platform presentations during her vary successful career. Dr. Chang also has a strong commitment to mentoring residents, fellows and visiting scholars fostered by her position as fellowship program director. Many of her mentees have gone on to very successful careers of their own. Her leadership activities are too numerous to mention but one that I would like to highlight are that she served as a councilor of the ANMS, she has served as ANMS’ FIRST female President, and she has been an integral member and one of few females in initial versions of ROME diagnostic criteria for functional bowel diseases. Based upon all her achievements and excellence in clinical care, research, mentoring, education, and leadership services Dr. Chang stands out as a role model for women and was fully deserving to be the FIRST recipient of the the ANMS Distinguished Investigator Award for Women in Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

ANMS Lifetime Achievement Award

Overall Description of the Program: This is a achievement lecture and the ANMS will invite an individual of national/international prominence to deliver a state-of-the-art presentation covering emerging directions and approaches of complex clinical and basic science questions relevant to neurogastroenterology and motility and the brain-gut axis. It is anticipated that the lecture can alternate between a clinical/translationally focused and basic science-focused topic.  The lecture will be delivered biennially and linked to either the Clinical Course or Scientific Meeting based on the topic and speaker. This lecture will alternate with Sarna/Dodds’s lecture.  Consideration should be given to gender and ethnicity and the lecture will alternate between a clinical and basic science recipient to encourage balance in the awardees. The speaker may come from within or outside the neurogastroenterology & motility community.  This will be a 50 min presentation followed by 5 minutes for Q&A.

Shanthi Srinivasan, MD

2023 Recipient

Shanthi Srinivasan

Dr. Shanthi Srinivasan is a Professor and Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.  She has a long-standing interest in the enteric nervous system and its contribution to the pathophysiology of gastrointestinal motility disorders and irritable bowel syndrome. Her research over the past several years has focused on understanding the mechanisms of interactions between the gut microbiome and the enteric nervous system as well as mechanisms of enteric neuronal degeneration in animal and cell culture models as well as human tissues.

Dr. Srinivasan completed her medical school at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, followed by residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.  She started her gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan and then completed her fellowship at Wash U in St. Louis. It was during her time at Michigan that her interest in the pathophysiology of motility disorders began, under the mentorship of Dr. John Wiley. At Wash U she further pursued her research interests working in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Permutt and under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Heuckeroth.  For her work on pathophysiology of diabetes and mechanisms of beta cell survival she was given a Howard Hughes Clinical Investigator award. In 2011 she was elected as a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation. She also a VA senior clinician investigator.  Over the years she has been supported by federal grants including NIH and VA-Merit awards.  She has served as a permanent member of both NIH and VA Merit study sections and has been a chair of the VA Merit study section. She participates in numerous peer review activities including serving on the American Gastroenterology Association nominating committee, member of the AGA-basic science sub-committee council, Councilor for ANMS, Chair of the ANMS grants committee, Vice Chair and current Chair of the NGM section of the AGA institute council. She has published more than 85 peer reviewed articles and many in leading journals like JCI and Gastroenterology. She has more than 100 published abstracts.  She has been an invited speaker at many national and international venues.  She is currently the co-editor in chief for the AGA journal Gastro Hep Advances.   She is very passionate about mentoring and over the years has mentored many students including high school, undergraduate, graduate, residents, fellows and post-doctoral fellows.