Funding Groundbreaking Science Year After Year

With each grant request, we ask, “How will this, or how could this, improve patient outcomes and eliminate suffering?”

Research Grants

Through our grantmaking, the GI Research Foundation provides initial “seed” funding to novel projects that allow investigators to pursue new and exciting paths that may not otherwise ever receive attention or funding.

Scientists in protective suits in a science laboratory study a virus

The GI Research Foundation focuses on core areas of funding in digestive diseases research.

    • Novel ideas have difficulty attracting funding from traditional funding sources; therefore, we support innovative projects from discovery in the lab to the patient’s bedside that explore novel ideas to better understand and diagnose disease, improve treatments, and discover prevention strategies and cures.
    • Ground-breaking research needs best-in-class infrastructure and state-of-the-art equipment to achieve desired results and attract world-class scientists; therefore, we provide critical capital funding that is almost impossible to get from traditional medical research funders.
    • Early seed funding to young investigators helps build the field of digestive diseases researchers and nurtures bold new ideas; therefore, we provide young investigator awards.
    • Communities of color face challenges accessing prevention and care strategies for digestive diseases; therefore, we make specific grants using innovative strategies to address these challenges and disparities.

Research grants are determined under the guidance of our scientific advisors, who work closely with a lay review committee. 

Over the past several years, the dollars for awards have grown.  This stunning growth is the result of donors like you at all levels of giving investing in research and directed donations helping us launch important new grantmaking initiatives such as CA CURE.  We think of these as “moonshot” initiatives that drive important discoveries. 

In 2024, the Foundation launched a second “moonshot” initiative in regenerative medicine, a groundbreaking approach to healing that seeks to use the body’s own cells and tissue.

The Projects


Scientific Advisors

David T. Rubin, MD

David T. Rubin, MD
Chief, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
University of Chicago Medicine

Eugene B. Chang, MD

Eugene B. Chang, MD
Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine University of Chicago Medicine

Michael R. Charlton, MBBS

Michael R. Charlton, MBBS
Director, Center for Liver Diseases
Co-Director, Transplant Institute
University of Chicago Medicine

Lay Review Committee

Biana Lanson, MD

Biana Lanson, MD
Chair, Lay Review Committee
Partner, Ear, Nose & Throat Center, LLC

Jeff Fine

Jeffrey A. Fine
Of Counsel, Kirkland and Ellis, LLP

Howard Grill

Howard A. Grill
CFO, The Alter Group

Heidi Henderson

Heidi Henderson
Client Associate, JP Morgan

Nathanson Jeff

Jeffrey Nathanson, MD
Gastroenterologist, Comprehensive Gastrointestinal Health

Kathy Shafer

Kathryn Karmin Shafer
Principal, Shafer Crowe Kueck Architecture + Design