Photo of 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.

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