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Joshua Wechsler, MD

Title: Assistant Professor in Pediatrics
Affiliation: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Year entered into CEGIR training program: 2016
Mentor/s: Barry K. Wershil, MD; Bruce Bochner, MD; Ikuo Hirano, MD; Paul Bryce, PhD


Dr. Wechsler is a pediatric gastroenterologist whose long-term clinical and research goal is to improve outcomes for children with EoE through translational studies that address the role of mast cells. During fellowship, Dr. Wechsler developed a research interest in the role of mast cells, and their mediator, histamine, in gastrointestinal mucosal inflammation, in the laboratory of Paul Bryce, PhD. This led to a natural interest in allergic immunity and EoE, which along with interactions with patients and families, led to a passion to improve outcomes. Dr. Wechsler’s research focuses on dissecting the clinical and cellular implications of mast cell activation in EoE.

Summary of current CEGIR projects

Dr. Wechsler’s project with CEGIR involves examining the role of mast cells in EoE. Mast cells are immune cells that reside in tissue and are increased and activated in EoE, causing inflammation that leads to chronic symptoms and fibrosis. This work will assess the clinical characteristics of these cells, the specific effects of their activation.

Q & A with Dr. Wechsler

How has CEGIR participation made a difference in your career, or how do you anticipate it will?

“CEGIR has created a unique environment for my career development with interactions between junior investigators and leading clinical and basic science investigators.”

How do you feel the patient community benefits from the CEGIR training program?

“CEGIR brings together leading experts in eosinophil disease and patient advocacy groups from around the country that are all working toward a common goal – to define outcome metrics and identify key research questions that are critical to broadly improving care.”