David Brent Polk, M.D.


Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition


Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition


Rady Children's Specialists of San Diego

Medical Group / IPA


Medical School

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Stanford University School of Medicine

Board Certifications

Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Pediatrics




Dr. D. Brent Polk is chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego and executive vice chair for the Department of Pediatrics and professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Prior to coming to Rady Children's, he was a professor of pediatrics and biochemistry & molecular medicine and vice dean for child health at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. He was also the former chair of the Department of Pediatrics for USC and past chief of pediatrics, physician-in-chief and vice president for academic affairs and director of the Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Dr. Polk previously held the dean's chair and served as chief of the D. Brent Polk Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, director of the Digestive Disease Research Center and a tenured professor of pediatrics and cell and developmental biology at Vanderbilt University, where he received the Grant W. Liddle award for exemplary leadership in the promotion of scientific research careers of faculty and trainees including medical students.

A distinguished investigator, clinician and educator, Dr. Polk has more than 30 years of experience as a pediatric physician-scientist focused on the care of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

Through laboratory investigations informed by patient care challenges, he seeks to identify risks of disease and targets for prevention or treatment. His laboratory is focused on the regulation of growth and repair of the intestinal cell as it relates to development and disease, with a particular focus on signal transduction mechanisms in IBD. Dr. Polk currently serves as the chair of the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and is a recipient of Shwachman Award from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Dr. Polk received bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry from Ouachita University and his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He completed his pediatrics training at Arkansas Children's Hospital and UAMS, and his gastroenterology and nutrition training at Stanford University.


Bedside Intestinal Ultrasound Predicts Disease Severity and the Disease Distribution of Pediatric Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Pilot Cross-sectional Study.
Chavannes M, Hart L, Hayati Rezvan P, Dillman JR, Polk DB

Transitional Anal Cells Mediate Colonic Re-epithelialization in Colitis.
Liu CY, Girish N, Gomez ML, Dubé PE, Washington MK, Simons BD, Polk DB

Persistence of Lgr5+ colonic epithelial stem cells in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease.
Girish N, Liu CY, Gadeock S, Gomez ML, Huang Y, Sharifkhodaei Z, Washington MK, Polk DB

NRG4-ErbB4 signaling represses proinflammatory macrophage activity.
Schumacher MA, Dennis IC, Liu CY, Robinson C, Shang J, Bernard JK, Washington MK, Polk DB, Frey MR

Exposure to p40 in Early Life Prevents Intestinal Inflammation in Adulthood Through Inducing a Long-Lasting Epigenetic Imprint on TGFβ.
Deng Y, McDonald OG, Means AL, Peek RM Jr, Washington MK, Acra SA, Polk DB, Yan F

TNF Receptor 1 Promotes Early-Life Immunity and Protects against Colitis in Mice.
Liu CY, Tam SS, Huang Y, Dubé PE, Alhosh R, Girish N, Punit S, Nataneli S, Li F, Bender JM, Washington MK, Polk DB

Probiotics and Probiotic-Derived Functional Factors-Mechanistic Insights Into Applications for Intestinal Homeostasis.
Yan F, Polk DB

Cellular maps of gastrointestinal organs: getting the most from tissue clearing.
Liu CY, Polk DB

Challenges in IBD Research: Novel Technologies.
Dhyani M, Joshi N, Bemelman WA, Gee MS, Yajnik V, D'Hoore A, Traverso G, Donowitz M, Mostoslavsky G, Lu TK, Lineberry N, Niessen HG, Peer D, Braun J, Delaney CP, Dubinsky MC, Guillory AN, Pereira M, Shtraizent N, Honig G, Polk DB, Hurtado-Lorenzo A, Karp JM, Michelassi F

Production of a Functional Factor, p40, by Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Is Promoted by Intestinal Epithelial Cell-Secreted Extracellular Vesicles.
Yang L, Higginbotham JN, Liu L, Zhao G, Acra SA, Peek RM Jr, Polk DB, Li H, Yan F

Microbiomes through the Looking Glass: What Do UC?
Liu CY, Polk DB

Pharmacological activation of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling inhibits colitis-associated cancer in mice.
Dubé PE, Liu CY, Girish N, Washington MK, Polk DB

Supplementation of p40, a Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-derived protein, in early life promotes epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent intestinal development and long-term health outcomes.
Shen X, Liu L, Peek RM, Acra SA, Moore DJ, Wilson KT, He F, Polk DB, Yan F

Activation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Macrophages Mediates Feedback Inhibition of M2 Polarization and Gastrointestinal Tumor Cell Growth.
Zhao G, Liu L, Peek RM Jr, Hao X, Polk DB, Li H, Yan F

An LGG-derived protein promotes IgA production through upregulation of APRIL expression in intestinal epithelial cells.
Wang Y, Liu L, Moore DJ, Shen X, Peek RM, Acra SA, Li H, Ren X, Polk DB, Yan F

Neonatal colonization of mice with LGG promotes intestinal development and decreases susceptibility to colitis in adulthood.
Yan F, Liu L, Cao H, Moore DJ, Washington MK, Wang B, Peek RM, Acra SA, Polk DB

Preserving viability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in vitro and in vivo by a new encapsulation system.
Li R, Zhang Y, Polk DB, Tomasula PM, Yan F, Liu L

Epidermal growth factor suppresses intestinal epithelial cell shedding through a MAPK-dependent pathway.
Miguel JC, Maxwell AA, Hsieh JJ, Harnisch LC, Al Alam D, Polk DB, Lien CL, Watson AJ, Frey MR

Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor 2 Restricts the Pathogenicity of CD8(+) T Cells in Mice With Colitis.
Punit S, Dubé PE, Liu CY, Girish N, Washington MK, Polk DB

Optical reconstruction of murine colorectal mucosa at cellular resolution.
Liu CY, Dubé PE, Girish N, Reddy AT, Polk DB

Redeeming an old foe: protective as well as pathophysiological roles for tumor necrosis factor in inflammatory bowel disease.
Dubé PE, Punit S, Polk DB

Predicting persistence of functional abdominal pain from childhood into young adulthood.
Horst S, Shelby G, Anderson J, Acra S, Polk DB, Saville BR, Garber J, Walker LS

Targeted colonic claudin-2 expression renders resistance to epithelial injury, induces immune suppression, and protects from colitis.
Ahmad R, Chaturvedi R, Olivares-Villagómez D, Habib T, Asim M, Shivesh P, Polk DB, Wilson KT, Washington MK, Van Kaer L, Dhawan P, Singh AB

Activation of EGFR and ERBB2 by Helicobacter pylori results in survival of gastric epithelial cells with DNA damage.
Chaturvedi R, Asim M, Piazuelo MB, Yan F, Barry DP, Sierra JC, Delgado AG, Hill S, Casero RA Jr, Bravo LE, Dominguez RL, Correa P, Polk DB, Washington MK, Rose KL, Schey KL, Morgan DR, Peek RM Jr, Wilson KT

Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor in macrophages regulates cytokine production and experimental colitis.
Lu N, Wang L, Cao H, Liu L, Van Kaer L, Washington MK, Rosen MJ, Dubé PE, Wilson KT, Ren X, Hao X, Polk DB, Yan F

See the full listing of this physician's publications on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

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