Katherine Garman, MD
Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Medicine
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Member of Duke Molecular Physiology Institute
Affiliate of the Duke Regeneration Center
Contact Information

Carmichael Building


The Garman laboratory focuses on injury, repair, and cancer development in the gastrointestinal tract. We perform translational research with the goal of improving health of the gastrointestinal tract.

Our work is based in observations from human clinical research. We use databases of esophageal and colon disease to learn more about clinical risk factors for disease. We also use pathology samples of tumors to study the gastrointestinal tract in different states: healthy, inflamed or damaged, and with cancer.

We use atypical models to study esophageal injury and repair (including endoscopy in a porcine model).

In order to better understand pathways involved in esophageal damage and repair, we use cell culture models, including 3D organotypic models.

MD, Duke University, Durham, NC




Characterize responses to epithelial injury in esophageal submucosal glands (ESMGs). Using human tissue, characterize changes in sumucosal progenitor niche with and without different types of esophageal injury. Compare changes in progenitor/stem cell marker expression and submucosal myofibroblast injury before and after esophageal injury.

In human esophagus, we have identified ductal metaplasia in esophageal submucosal glands associated with esophageal adenocarcinoma (paper submitted).

Gastro ESMG

Normal ESMG

Gastro ESMG a
Gastr ESMG B

A and B: ESMG with ductal metaplasia and inflammation


Delineate the causes and consequences of submucosal progenitor niche activation using in vitro systems. Esophageal culture models are used to evaluate potential stem cell niches in the esophagus and growth factors associated with phenotypic outgrowths in culture.


Dr. Garman is a member of The Cancer Genome Atlas Project Stomach/Esophageal working group. Through Duke’s Gastrointestinal Tissue Repository (Garman, PI), Duke contributed patient samples to this working group. Work is progressing on the first esophageal TCGA paper. The first gastric paper has been published. The paper describes four molecular subtypes of gastric cancer: EBV-infected tumors (PIK3CA mutations, CDKN2A silencing, PD-L1/2 overexpression), MSI tumors (hypermutation), genomically stable tumors (diffuse histology, CDH1, RHOA mutations, cell adhesion), and chromosomally unstable tumors (intestinal histology, P53 mutations, RTK-RAS activation). http://cancergenome.nih.gov/newsevents/newsannouncements/TCGA_STAD_press... The paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v513/n7517/full/nature13480.html


With a medicine resident, Alan Erdman, Dr. Garman and the Duke GI Women’s Group have identified knowledge gaps in ergonomics of endoscopy. We have designed a survey for GI endoscopists. We are working with the AGA Women’s Committee on this project. https://www.gastro.org/about-aga/committees/womens-committee.