Organization launches patient-directed science department to accelerate research.
PHILADELPHIA (February 5, 2018) – Beyond Celiac has announced the hiring of Marie Robert, M.D. as Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Robert will lead the development and implementation of a transformational patient-centered research agenda focused on accelerating solutions toward new pharmaceutical treatments and a cure for celiac disease. She will develop and establish research and funding priorities and will translate the Beyond Celiac Research Consortium findings to impact patients in areas including clinical decision-making about diagnosis, disease management, treatment, and eventually a cure.
“Beyond Celiac is uniquely positioned to engage patients and scientific partners in a synergistic effort to further clinical, basic and translational research on celiac disease. I am eager to work with this extraordinary organization to realize that vision,” notes Dr. Robert.
Professor of Pathology and Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Robert is a nationally recognized gastrointestinal, liver, and pancreatic surgical pathologist with 25 years of experience in clinical diagnosis, teaching, and collaborative scientific endeavors across a wide spectrum of diseases. Specific areas of expertise include inflammatory and neoplastic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Robert has served as the Director of the Program in Gastrointestinal Pathology and Director of the Fellowship in Gastrointestinal Pathology at Yale University. She is an author of guidelines in the practice of gastrointestinal pathology diagnosis (American Gastroenterology Association, North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease and Rodger Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society). She has served on numerous national boards and committees and is a past president of the Rodger Haggitt Gastrointestinal Pathology Society.
Dr. Robert has studied celiac disease throughout her career. During residency at UCLA she performed a study of the biopsy findings in refractory celiac patients, in which collagenous sprue was identified as a common histologic change. Additional work on celiac disease includes contributions on inflammatory conditions of the small intestine in the Odze, Goldblum and Crawford (eds) textbook “Surgical Pathology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Liver, Biliary Tract and Pancreas,” considered the definitive text in gastrointestinal surgical pathology worldwide. She is the lead author of an upcoming best practices statement on the use of duodenal biopsy in the diagnosis of celiac disease, as well as a study on diagnostic approaches to refractory celiac disease. Dr. Robert is frequently invited to speak on celiac disease nationally and internationally. She is slated to begin her official duties with Beyond Celiac in April 2018 and will also continue in her role at Yale.
“Investing in our scientific expertise will enable Beyond Celiac to directly impact the direction and focus of celiac disease research, amplifying the patient’s voice as we look for much-needed answers for this burdensome disease,” adds Alice Bast, Beyond Celiac CEO. “As a non-profit advocacy organization, we are launching this patient-driven science model, proven in other areas such as cystic fibrosis, to further our mission of uniting patients and partners to drive diagnosis, advance research, and accelerate the discovery of new treatments and a cure for this serious, genetic autoimmune disease.”
In addition to the recruitment of Dr. Robert, Beyond Celiac has retained consultant Marla Gold, MD, FACP. With an extensive background in research strategy and public health, Dr. Gold will support research collaborations, corporate programs and the development of the Go Beyond Celiac patient registry. Dr. Gold is currently Dean Emerita and Professor of Health Management and Policy with the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. An infectious disease specialist, she has long served on the Beyond Celiac Scientific/Medical Advisory Council and has a personal interest in the organization’s mission because celiac disease affects her immediate family.
The Beyond Celiac science team also includes Kate Avery, MPH, Director of Research and Patient Engagement. Avery earned her MPH in Health Behavior at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Avery has been leading the development, launch, enrollment and patient engagement for the Beyond Celiac interactive digital community and patient registry, Go Beyond Celiac, since March 2017. She previously published on the topic of patient perspectives in disease management.
Also a member of the Science Department is Medical and Science News Analyst Amy Ratner. Through her reporting, Ratner curates the latest in celiac disease research and shares it in patient – and community – friendly language.
Beyond Celiac has worked with experts in the field of celiac disease through its Scientific/Medical Advisory Council since its founding. Established in 2003, the Beyond Celiac Scientific/Medical Advisory Council has played an integral role in establishing and maintaining evidence-based standards for the organization and represents the very best in scientific and medical practice. Dr. Robert will work closely with the established Council and strengthen ties between staff and our external advisors.
Claire Baker, Director of Communications and New Media