IBD Plexus Leadership Team

The IBD Plexus® Leadership Team is accountable for ensuring that IBD Plexus is built and carried out in accordance with its mission. The team will oversee the day-to-day conduct of IBD Plexus and will lead development and implementation of all policies and guidelines. They are responsible for the governance and quality of biosamples, data, and derived data. Additionally the team will consult and support the development of associated studies using the IBD Plexus infrastructure and monitor the use of distributed samples and data that are approved by the project selection committee.


Chief Scientist

James Lewis, MD, MSCE
Professor of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology
University of Pennsylvania

James Lewis

James Lewis, MD, MSCE, is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Associate Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Lewis has been actively involved in clinical research related to inflammatory bowel diseases, medication safety, and optimizing medical therapies for more than 20 years. In recent years, he has additionally focused on the impact of diet on the gut microbiome and the course of inflammatory bowel diseases. Dr. Lewis previously served as the Chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. He was formerly an associate editor for Gastroenterology and Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, and is currently an associate editor for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.


Associate Chief Scientist, Patient-Powered Research

Michael D. Kappelman, MD, MPH 
Professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology 
University of North Carolina

Michael D. Kappelman, MD, MPH, is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an interest in the clinical care of children and young adults with inflammatory bowel diseases. He also devotes considerable effort to quality improvement and epidemiological and outcomes research in this area. This includes studies of the prevalence, natural history, costs, and utilization of resources by children and adults with IBD, as well as patient-centered outcomes research and comparative effectiveness and safety research. His research is funded through the NIH, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, AHRQ, PCORI, and industry. Dr. Kappelman also serves as Chair of the Foundation's Pediatric Affairs Committee.


Associate Chief Scientist, Translational Research

Richard H. Duerr, MD
Professor of Medicine, Human Genetics, and Clinical and Translational Science 
University of Pittsburgh

Richard H. Duerr, MD, is the inaugural holder of the endowed Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetic Research Chair at the University of Pittsburgh and is the Co-Director and Scientific Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center. Dr. Duerr has been involved in research related to inflammatory bowel disease throughout his career. He leads one of six genetic research centers that comprise the NIH/NIDDK Inflammatory Bowel Disease Genetics Consortium. His research program has had uninterrupted funding from the NIH, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, and other foundations since 1995.

Dr. Duerr is a member of the American Gastroenterological Association, the American Society of Human Genetics, and the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. He has been an invited lecturer in local, national, and international venues, and he has published original inflammatory bowel disease genetics research articles in journals such as NatureScienceNature GeneticsAmerican Journal of Human GeneticsHuman Molecular Genetics, and Gastroenterology. He has served on grants review committees for the NIH and the Foundation.


Associate Chief Scientist, Translational Bioinformatics

Curtis Huttenhower, PhD 
Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics 
Harvard School of Public Health

Curtis Huttenhower

Dr. Curtis Huttenhower is a Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the Harvard School of Public Health and an Associate Member at the Broad Institute. He participated extensively in the NIH Human Microbiome Project and co-leads the "HMP2" Center for Characterizing the gut microbial ecosystem in IBD. His lab focuses on computational methods for functional analysis of microbial communities. This includes systems biology reconstructions integrating metagenomic, metatranscriptomic, and other microbial community 'omics; the human microbiome in autoimmune disease such as IBD; and its potential as a diagnostic tool and point of therapeutic intervention.


Chief Scientific Officer, Crohn's & Colitis Foundation

Caren Heller, MD, MBA

Dr. Caren Heller received her medical degree from Columbia University and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Chicago. She has extensive professional experience within the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries and academic medical centers. As the Foundation's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Heller is responsible for all mission-related activities, including research efforts and patient and provider support and education programs.

She previously worked for Weill Cornell Medical College, where she was Associate Dean of Intercampus and Industry Initiatives. In that role, Dr. Heller implemented plans to promote interdisciplinary collaborations between the medical school and Cornell University faculties, facilitated the development of an NIH-funded intercampus center, promoted collaborative research projects with industry partners, and managed the intercampus pilot grant program. Prior to Weill Cornell Medical College, she was at Athena Healthcare Consulting, working with industry and academic centers regarding new product opportunities, new drug development, and clinical and translational research. While there, she developed Models of Care, a health care information series that identified and described best practices in disease management.

In addition, Dr. Heller has experience in pharmaceutical drug development, including design and implementation of clinical development plans and involvement in new drug applications resulting in drug approvals. She has been published in more than 20 publications and is the recipient of the "Best Journal Article on Disease Management" honor.


Senior Director, IBD Plexus 

Angela Dobes, MPH 

Angela Dobes is the Senior Director of the IBD Plexus program at the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. Angela has over 13 years of experience in the health care industry. In addition to her experience at the Foundation, Angela has previously worked for clinical technology and pharmaceutical organizations, where she has led implementation of various technology solutions focused on business optimization and accelerating the delivery of new therapies to patients safely. Angela has also conducted research in the fields of managed care and patient engagement and is a member of the IBD Partners Research Team.

Angela holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University and she earned her graduate degree in Public Health from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Scientific Advisory Committee

The Scientific Advisory Committee provides advice and guidance regarding policies and procedures, identification of needed resources and technology capabilities, and suggestions for future research directions.