Gastroenterology and Nutrition

Helping others feel better

In the Division of Gastroenterology & Nutrition, we’re involved in all areas of the field, participating in clinical activities out of both the IWK Health Centre and our outpatient travelling clinics, supporting education at all levels and conducting important research.

Clinical activities

We work hard to provide timely and efficient patient care by maintaining a strong, experienced staff that includes nurses, social workers, psychologists and dietitians. While our GI clinic is located on the main floor of the IWK’s Children’s Site, we also provide care via our outpatient travelling clinics in certain Maritime cities.

We care for a large number of patients with inflammatory bowel disease, following more than 200 patients with this diagnosis. We also perform a variety of procedures, including:

  • esophago-gastro-duodenoscopies
  • colonoscopies
  • intraesophageal pH monitoring
  • percutaneous and ultrasound-guided liver biopsies

Teaching activities

Our division is actively involved in all levels of teaching, from undergraduate medical education to continuing medical education.

Undergraduate education: We support the undergraduate medical education programs by participating in the Case-Oriented Problem-Simulated (COPS) curriculum and the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE), and by offering lectures and rotations. Many of our faculty members also tutor in the medical school and make contributions to other faculties.

Residency training: We’re also involved in residency training. We offer:

  • gastroenterology sub-specialty seminars
  • clinical case rounds
  • contributions to the resident OSCE stations
  • gastroenterological pathology rounds
  • weekly clinical GI rounds

Other contributions to residency training include supervision, both within our division and outside it.

Research interests

The division's strength lies in clinical research, but we also have a strong collaboration with basic science. See what our researchers are up to:

Dr. Christine Chambers

Dr. Christine Chambers is a world-renowned researcher of pain in childhood.  Dr. Chambers is a clinical psychologist and professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience (with cross-appointments in Anesthesia, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine and Psychiatry), and former Canada Research Chair in Pain and Child Health (Tier 2, 2004-2014) at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Her research lab is based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre. Dr. Chambers’ research examines developmental, psychological and social influences on children’s pain, with a focus on family factors in pediatric pain and using social media to mobilize evidence-based information about children’s pain to parents. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Find out more about Dr Chamber’s research and her research team

Dr. Andrea Martinez

[In progress]

Dr. Anthony Otley

Over the past almost twenty years, Dr. Otley has been involved in the care of children and teens with IBD, and has been actively involved in clinical trials to find better and more effective therapies—or to ensure that treatments licensed for use in adults are also studied in children so they too can access these treatments in the same way.

He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and continues to actively explore, in collaboration with others, the factors leading to the development of IBD and also novel approaches to therapy.

Dr. Mohsin Rashid

Dr. Rashid is another researcher in our division. He has a special interest in medical education research and in the field of celiac disease.

Dr. Andrew Stadnyk

Dr. Stadnyk’s major research interest is in inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, in particular, the contribution of the epithelium to inflammation including during inflammatory bowel disease and infectious colitis. He recently has included investigations into the roles of the epithelium and complement system in regulation of the gut microbiome. Through collaborations he has applied his expertise to study complement and chemotherapeutic drug induced mucositis in the small intestine.

Dr. Johan Van Limbergen

Dr. Johan Van Limbergen's clinical and research interests are focused on IBD (both childhood and adult-onset), with active collaborations locally, across Canada and internationally, to investigate the application of genetic, epigenetic and microbiota research to IBD patient care, particularly dietary interventions. 

Since his recruitment as a clinician scientist to Dalhousie University, he has become an associate member of the Centre for Comparative Genomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics (CCGEB), with active collaborations with Dr. Joseph Bielawski and Dr. Morgan Langille.

This led to a successful application for a North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Foundation/Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Young investigator Development Award to study the metagenomic signature of childhood onset Crohn’s disease at diagnosis and after induction of remission with exclusive enteral nutrition.

Dr. Van Limbergen was awarded a ‘Future Leaders in IBD’-project grant (for the study of the metagenome in stool samples of an ongoing clinical trial of a novel Crohn’s disease exclusion diet. Dr. Van Limbergen is a founding member of the CGEB-Integrated Microbiome Resource supported by a $200,000 Strategic Research Initiatives Fund 2014 from the Office of the VP Research, Dalhousie University.

Under the mentorship of Professor Andrew Stadnyk, Dr. Van Limbergen has set up his biosafety-level 2 lab and is establishing intestinal epithelium stem cell cultures (published in Gut 2015), supported by salary for a research assistant from the Department of Pediatrics.

This novel stem cell culture model will allow the study of by-products (metabolites) of the microbiome with regards to their ability to control the biology of the lining of the gut as well as how these metabolites orchestrate the immune response.

Our people

We’re proud of our team of faculty and staff. Members include:

Contact info

Phone: 902-470-8746

Phone (Bookings): 902-470-7993
Fax: 902-470-7249

Pediatric Gastroenterology

5850/5980 University Avenue

Halifax, NS 
 B3K 6R8