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Gastroenterologist Merchant set for Discovery Lecture

Feb. 11, 2021, 8:35 AM


by Bill Snyder

Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD, a nationally known gastroenterologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, will discuss cellular changes that occur prior to gastric cancer during the next web-based Discovery Lecture.

Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD

Merchant’s lecture, entitled “Helicobacter, Hedgehog and Gastric Cancer,” begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, via Zoom. Participants need to register in advance through the Office of Research to receive webinar instructions.

Merchant is professor of Medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

She and her colleagues have reported that, in the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, immune cells dependent on the Hedgehog protein-signaling pathway can transform into myeloid-derived suppressor cells in mice, thereby setting the stage for pre-cancerous metaplastic changes in the stomach’s epithelial lining.

Merchant earned her medical degree and doctorate at the Yale University School of Medicine. She was a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan before coming to the University of Arizona in 2018.

She has written more than 120 peer-reviewed research publications, and has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Recently she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine Council

Merchant’s lecture is sponsored by Vanderbilt SCRIPS: Supporting Careers in Research for Interventional Physicians and Surgeons. For a complete schedule of Discovery Lectures, archived video of previous lectures, and the webinar registration link, go to

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