David C. Whitcomb MD, PhD

University of Pittsburgh

Professor David C. Whitcomb MD PhD is the Giant Eagle Foundation Professor of Cancer Genetics, a Professor of Medicine (with tenure), Cell Biology and Physiology, and Human Genetic and Director of the Precision Medicine Service at UPMC. He is editor-in-chief of Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, the top ranked open access gastroenterology and hepatology journal. Dr. Whitcomb leads active research teams focusing on pancreatic diseases, and provides an information service on pancreas-related issues to patients, physicians, and scientist through publications, lectures and contributions to Pancreas.org, and a quarterly patient newsletter, Pancreas Education and Research Letter (PEaRL). Prof. Whitcomb graduated from Manchester University, North Manchester, Indiana, in 1978 with a BS in Biology/Chemistry. Continuing his education, he received a MS in Physiology in 1979, a PhD in Physiology in 1983, and an MD in 1985 all from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. He then completed a residency in internal medicine in 1988, followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology in 1991 at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Prof. Whitcomb was recruited to the University of Pittsburgh in July 1991 as a physician, scientist and educator. Prof. Whitcomb served as Director of Gastroenterology at the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center, and in 1991 was appointed Chief, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh / UPMC. He led the Division for 17 years, designed as a uniquely organized translational research organization for complex inflammatory, functional and neoplastic disorders (Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 2011;86.(11):1353-9.) which became a Top 5 ranked program by US News & World Report. In addition to his responsibilities within the university, Dr. Whitcomb serves on national and international committees for the major gastroenterology and pancreatic societies. He served as a Counselor for the American Gastroenterology Association, the International Association of Pancreatology, and as President of the American Pancreas Association. He is also Pancreas Section Editor for UpToDate, an Associate Editor for Pancreas and Pancreatology and serves on the Advisory Board for Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology. He is a member of the AOA, the American Society for Clinical Research (ASCR), and is a Fellow of multiple professional societies. He serves as a peer reviewer for a many scientific journals, and serves as a grant reviewer for the NIH, VA, DOD, and other institutions. Dr. Whitcomb's co-founded of the Midwest Multicenter Pancreatic Study Group, the North American Pancreatic Study Group, the Collaborative Alliance for Pancreatic Education and Research (CAPER), and is the Director of the annual international meeting, PancreasFest. He directs a 9 credit hour course on Precision Medicine for Biomedical Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University. He also co-founded Ariel Precision Medicine LLC, a digital health information technology company that utilizes high fidelity genetic information to help inform patient-specific guidance for patients with signs of simple and complex diseases. Professor Whitcomb’s research and discoveries resulted in a major paradigm shift in understanding inflammatory disease of the pancreas. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and edited ten books on pancreatic disease. His laboratory group discovered the gene variants causing hereditary pancreatitis (Nat Genet 1996; 14(2):141-5), familial pancreatic cancer (PLoS Med. 2006;3(12):e516), the primary genetic risk for alcoholic chronic pancreatitis (Nat Genet 2012;44(12):1349-54) and a new CFTR-associated syndrome (PLoS Genetics. 2014;10(7):e1004376). His work on pancreatic diseases as a complex gene-environment disorder also resulted in major advances in a paradigm for personalized medicine (Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2012;9(7):418-24).