Gary W. Falk, MD, MS, AGAF, is currently professor of medicine and co-director, GI Motility/Physiology Laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Falk received his under graduate and medical school training at the University of Rochester, NY, before going to George Washington University, Washington, DC, for his medical internship and residency. After a clinical and research fellowship at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, he was a member of the Department of Gastroenterology and hepatology at the Cleveland Clinic, OH, for more than 23 years where he was director for the Swallowing and Esophageal Center. While in Cleveland, he also received a master’s degree in clinical research from Case Western Reserve University.
He has been involved in clinical research in Barrett’s esophagus, gastroesophageal reflux disease, Helicobacter pylori, esophageal motility disorders, advanced esophageal imaging and therapeutics, and eosinophilic esophagitis that has resulted in over 150 peer reviewed publications and NIH and non-NIH grants. The most important of these themes has been in the area of early detection and prevention of esophageal cancer. Among the contributions of his research group have been a number of publications on the significance of high-grade dysplasia in Barrett’s esophagus, including biopsy forceps yield and findings of unsuspected cancer at esophagectomy, the use of cytologic sampling as an alternative to biopsy based surveillance, and the development of the concept of cytology specimens as a platform for molecular based biomarker studies. Other studies in Barrett’s esophagus have focused on epidemiologic observations related to the role of H. pylori in the disease along with issues of age and gender in the development of cancer. Collaborations with other centers have led to studies on familial risk, molecular imaging paradigms, chemoprevention, radiofrequency ablation and endomicroscopy. He has recently served as the chair of an NCI multicenter chemoprevention study examining the role of high dose proton pump inhibitor therapy in Barrett’s esophagus. He is involved in other chemoprevention trials in the NCI-funded Cancer Prevention Network. Recently, translational research studies in collaboration with basic scientists in cancer biology and pathobiology have commenced in order to study the role of inflammatory mediators in eosinophilic esophagitis and cell of origin of Barrett’s esophagus. Research in eosinophilic esophagitis is now focusing on clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents, clinical and biologic aspects of pediatric to adult transition, and participation in the Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers consortium.
Dr. Falk has served nationally through professional societies, including being a past-president of ASGE, editorial positions at journals and on grant review committees at NIH. He is a past associate editor of the American Journal of Gastroenterology and is the current editor of AGA Perspectives. He is a recipient of the Sidney Cohen University of Pennsylvania GI Fellowship Teacher of the Year Award on two occasions, AGA Distinguished Clinician Award, and AGA Imaging & Advanced Technology Section Research Mentor Award.