Gail E. Besner, M.D.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Research Interests

Dr. Besner’s laboratory is located at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The focus of the Besner Laboratory is in two main areas. The first is in the development of novel thera-peutic strategies designed to protect the intestines and the enteric nervous system from injury. These strategies include treatment with probiotics, stem cells and growth factors including heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (first identified by Dr. Besner in 1990). A very exciting novel delivery system for probiotics is being developed that will hopefully begin clinical trials soon. The second major focus of the laboratory is on the production of tissue engineered intestine. The translational component of Dr. Besner’s research involves an often devastating disease process known as neonatal necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which results in intestinal necrosis in newborn babies, especially those born prematurely. The long-range goal of Dr. Besner’s work is the prophylactic and therapeutic treatment of high-risk neonates with HB-EGF, in order to prevent and treat necrotizing enterocolitis. The Besner Laboratory has received continual funding from the NIH for the past 23 years.

Current Projects

1) Protection of the intestines from NEC using a novel probiotic delivery system.

2) Protection of the intestines rom NEC using stem cell and growth factor therapy.

Recent Publications

Besner G: A Pain in the NEC: Research Challenges and Opportunities. J Pediatr Surg 50(1):23-29, January 2015. (Epub 2014 Nov 7) PMCID:PMC25598088.

Wei J, Zhou Y, Besner G: M1 to M2 Macrophage Polarization in Heparin-Binding EGF-Like Growth Factor Therapy for Necrotizing Enterocolitis. J Surg Res 197(1):126-138, March 2015 (Epub 2015 Mar 18). PMCID:PMC25913486.

Wei J, Zhou Y, Besner G: Heparin-Binding EGF-like Growth Factor and Enteric Neural Stem Cell Transplantation in the Prevention of Experimental Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Mice. Pediatric Research 78(1):29-37, July 2015. (EPub 2015 Mar 25) PMCID:PMC25806716.

Liu Y, Rager T, Johnson J, Enmark J, and Besner G: Enriched Intestinal Stem Cell Seeding Improves the Architecture of Tissue Engineered Intestine. Tissue Eng Part C Methods 21(8):816-824, August 2015 (Epub 2015 Mar 12) PMCID:PMC25603285.

Olson J, Rager T, Navarro J, Mashburn-Warren L, Goodman S, Besner G: Harvesting the Benefits of Biofilms: A Novel Probiotic Delivery Method for the Prevention of Necrotizing Enterocolitis. J Pediatr Surg 51(6):936-941, June 2016. EPub June 2, 2016. PMCID:PMC27032609.

Rager T, Olson J, Besner G: Exosomes Secreted from Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Protect Intestines from Experimental NEC. J Pediatr Surg 51(6):942-947, June 2016. EPub March 2, 2016. PMCID:PMC27015901.

Cromeens B, Liu Y, Johnathan Stathopoulos, Wang Y, Jed Johnson, Besner G: Production of Tissue Engineered Intestine from Expanded Enteroids. J Surg Res 204(1):164-175, July 2016. EPub March 3, 2016. PMCID:PMC27451883.

Liu Y, Nelson T, Cromeens B, Rager T, Lannutti J, Johnson J, Besner G: HB-EGF Embedded in PGA Scaffolds via Subcritical CO2 Augments the Growth of Tissue Engineered Intestine. Biomaterials 103:150-159, Oct 2016. EPub June 21, 2016. PMCID:PMC27380441.

Zhou Y, Watkins D, Besner G: The Role of Vascular Development in the Pathogenesis of Necrotizing Enterocolitis. In Necrotizing Enterocolitis: New Insights into Diagnosis, Pathogenesis, and Treatment (in press).

Rager T and Besner G: The Role of Growth Factor Signaling in the Development and Treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis. In Necrotizing Enterocolitis: New Insights into Diagnosis, Pathogenesis, and Treatment (in press).


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