A Life Free From Digestive Disease

Seventy million Americans live with a digestive disease. The GI Research Foundation is at the forefront of science and discovery, partnering with the nationally-ranked University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center to transform their lives.

History of GI Research Foundation

In 1961, the GI Research Foundation was founded by grateful patients and friends of the late Dr. Joseph B. Kirsner, a pioneer in gastroenterology who devoted his life to medicine, teaching, and patient care. Today, the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center is internationally recognized for research-driven medicine and its team of highly specialized physicians.

Inspired by Dr. Kirsner’s vision, the GI Research Foundation helps ensure the UChicago Digestive Diseases Center remains at the forefront of innovation and personalized care.

“Few if any physicians have had a broader and more positive impact than Joe Kirsner on thousands of patients, students and professional colleagues. His legacy at the University of Chicago will persist for generations.”

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD
Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine and Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs at the University of Chicago

Our Mission

The GI Research Foundation (GIRF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds to support the physicians and scientists at the University of Chicago Medicine Digestive Diseases Center in their efforts to provide outstanding care, train future leaders, and perform innovative clinical and laboratory research in order to treat, cure, and prevent digestive diseases.

Board of Directors

The GI Research Foundation Board of Directors is a group of passionate individuals, committed to providing relief and hope for patients and their families suffering from digestive diseases.

Yekaterina Chudnovsky

Kathryn Karmin Shafer
Executive Vice President
Principal, Thomas Shafer Architects LLC

Howard A. Grill*
Vice President of Finance
The Alter Group

Mark de Souza
Vice President of Fundraising
CEO, Board Member
Penrose TherapeuTx

Biana Lanson, MD
Vice President of Fundraising
Otolaryngologist, Partner
Ear Nose and Throat Center, LLP

Mark A. Waldeck
Vice President of Marketing
Office President
CRC Group – Chicago

Benjamin Pogofsky

Vice President of Board Development
Executive Director
J.P. Morgan

Murray Alscher
DLN Real Estate Advisors

Scott Attar
AMP Outdoor Billboard Advertising

Eric Berlin*
Dentons US LLP
Michael P. Cogan*
Cogan & Power, P.C.

Russell D. Cohen, MD
Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
University of Chicago Medicine

Seymour Taxman
Founder and CEO
The Taxman Corporation

Steven R. Davidson*

Jeffrey A. Fine
Kirkland and Ellis, LLP

Peter D. Goldman
Reed-Union Corporation

Heidi Henderson
J.P. Morgan Securities

Jordan Hirsch
Sales Development Representative
Clip Health

Karyn Hurwich

Matthew Lebenson
Finance Director

Jonathan Merel
Founder and Managing Principal
Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

Brad Peterson*
EVP, Production Analytics & Strategy
Guaranteed Rate

Benjamin S. Riback
Managing Director, Consumer & Retail
William Blair

* Past President
+ Deceased

Join the Board

Learn how you can actively support our mission to prevent, treat, and cure digestive diseases.

Scientific Advisors

The GI Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisors counsel the Board of Directors. Through their guidance, GIRF is proud to champion breakthroughs in understanding, treating, and curing digestive diseases.

David T. Rubin, MD

Lead Scientific Advisor

Joseph B. Kirsner Professor of Medicine

Chief, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

Co-Director, Digestive Diseases Center

University of Chicago Medicine

Eugene B. Chang, MD

Martin Boyer Professor, Department of Medicine

Director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Center in Biological Sciences Division

University of Chicago Medicine

Michael R. Charlton, MBBS

Professor of Medicine

Director, Center for Liver Diseases

Co-Director, Transplant Institute

University of Chicago Medicine

Advisory Council

The Advisory Council assists in the growth of the GI Research Foundation by providing advice and support to the Board of Directors.

Ronald Borden
Ronald J. Borden & Company, Ltd

Amy Tara Koch
Author and Journalist

Ralph Kaufmann

Erica Matagrano
Senior Specialty Representative
Kelly O’Connor
Co-Founder and President
StageLight Group
B.H. Gerald Rogers, MD
Gastroenterology Specialist
University of Chicago Medicine

Aaron Rosdal
Vice President
Capital Deployment, Prologis

David A. Rubin

Saul Rudo
Partner & Chair, Transactional Tax Department Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Spencer G. Sachs
Associate Portfolio Manager
SCG Asset Management

Gary Singer
Chief Strategy Officer
Kobre & Kim

Hilary Wolfe
Senior Managing Director
Northern Trust

Associates Board

Since 1997, the young professionals of the Associates Board have raised more than $500,000 to fund groundbreaking research by digestive disease scientists at the start of their career.

Jordan Hirsh

Katie Bryan

Kathleen Cipolla

Noa Krugliak Cleveland, MD

Kurt Dziama

Rachel Eagle

Jaclyn Hanley

Carly Hennig

Trevor Long

Jacqueline Lopez

Dejan Micic, MD

Sheetal Shah

Carli Thomas

Logan Turban

Sushila Dalal, MD
Medical Advisor

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, University of Chicago Medicine

Ashley Sidebottom, PhD
Scientific Advisor

Platform Director, Host-Microbe Metabolomics, University of Chicago Duchossois Family Institute

Executive Staff

Jackie Casey
Executive Director

Deborah Barnard
Director of Major Gifts

Brittany Zelwin
Fundraising Officer

Silver Hannon
Development Associate

Allison Thielen
Finance and Operations Manager