Meet the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment

Clinical Team

The celiac clinic is held on Thursdays for both adult and pediatric patients at the pediatric gastroenterology unit on the 6th floor of Yawkey Center for Outpatient Services at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children (MGHfC), 55 Fruit Street, Boston, Mass.

Alessio Fasano, MD
Alessio Fasano, MD
Director Alessio Fasano, MD, is a graduate of the University of Naples School of Medicine and founder of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MGHfC (see related article). He oversees the Center’s clinical team of four doctors, a nurse practitioner and a registered dietitian. The team treats both pediatric and adult patients. When needed, the celiac center team consults with other members of Massachusetts General Hospital, including gastroenterologists, pediatric gastroenterologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and other healthcare professionals.
Aeri Moon, MD
Aeri Moon, MD
A graduate of Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Aeri Moon, MD, is a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist who is fluent in Korean. Her clinical interests include video capsule endoscopy, celiac disease, H. pylori infection, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, eosinophilic esophagitis and constipation.
Mark Salvatore, MD
Mark Salvatore, MD
Board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist Mark Salvatore, MD, is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine and an instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. His clinical interests include celiac disease, colic, infantile and childhood food protein intolerances, and the application of Mind Body Medicine to pediatric patients with gastrointestinal diseases.
Maureen Leonard, MD
Maureen Leonard, MD
A graduate of the New York Medical College School of Medicine, Maureen Leonard, MD, is in her third and final year in the Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Fellowship Program. Along with her current research interests of celiac disease, probiotics, intestinal permeability and the role of the microbiome in health and disease, Dr. Leonard is working with Dr. Fasano in the CDGEMM clinical study.
Awab Ali Ibrahim, MD
Awab Ali Ibrahim, MD
Born in the Republic of Sudan, Awab Ali Ibrahim, MD, is a graduate of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. As a research fellow at MGHfC, Dr. Ibrahim is working on a study between MGHfC and a Sudanese hospital to test the use of Arabic Gum as a medical therapeutic. He is also assisting Dr. Stefania Senger in her work to develop model systems called organoids for laboratory research into intestinal diseases and working with Dr. Fasano and other physicians and healthcare professionals.
Martha Pacetti McInnis, RN, MSN, CPNP
Martha Pacetti McInnis, RN, MSN, CPNP
Certified Nurse Practitioner Martha Pacetti McInnis, RN, MSN, CPNP, sees patients at the Center and helps to coordinate their clinical care. She has extensive experience in the area of celiac disease and gluten-related disorders. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Nursing Science, nurse McInnis also works in the pediatric Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Program.
Pam Cureton, RD, LDN
Pam Cureton, RD, LDN
A clinical and registered research dietitian specializing in celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders, Pam Cureton RD, LDN, has been working with Dr. Fasano since 1993. She helps to coordinate the clinical management of patients, does presentations on the gluten-free diet, and also develops educational material and outreach programs for increasing national awareness of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.

Research Team

Carlo Catassi, MD
Carlo Catassi, MD
Carlo Catassi, MD, is a visiting scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at MGH. A graduate of the University of Pisa School of Medicine, Dr. Catassi is also associate professor of pediatrics at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, where he is engaged in clinical, teaching and research responsibilities. An expert on the prevalence of celiac disease worldwide, Dr. Catassi has led many research studies at the Center and co-authored review articles with Dr. Fasano for The New England Journal of Medicine and other journals.
Karen Lammers, PhD
A graduate of the Free University of The Netherlands, Karen Lammers, PhD, is an assistant immunologist at MGHfC and lecturer in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. She is studying the early immune-mediated changes in response to gliadin, the immunotoxic component of gluten-containing cereals, in healthy individuals and individuals at risk of developing gluten-related disorders. She has identified the chemokine receptor, CXCR3, as a receptor to which gliadin can bind. Dr. Lammers is also conducting award-winning research on the role of neutrophils (a type of white blood cells) in the immune response to gliadin.
Stefania Senger, PhD
Stefania Senger, PhD
Stefania Senger, PhD, is a developmental biologist at MGH and instructor in pediatrics at Harvard School of Medicine. Her research focuses on intestinal stem cell modulation in non-pathological and pathological settings including interactions with microbiota and pathogens, as well as in celiac disease. Dr. Senger, who received her PhD in genetics from Federico II University of Naples, makes use of novel model systems (organoids) generated from human and mouse intestinal primary cells.
Gloria Senger, MA
Gloria is a PhD candidate studying under Dr. Fasano. She received her master’s degree in Medical Biology from the University of Florence in Florence, Italy. Her research is focused on the role that T regulatory cells, which suppress the immune response of other cells, play in the onset of celiac disease. Nine months after joining MGH, Gloria received most outstanding abstract from the Department of Pediatrics on MGH Research Day in October 2013.
Craig Sturgeon
Craig Sturgeon
Craig Sturgeon is a PhD candidate studying under Dr. Fasano and a research coordinator in the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MGHfC. Using both human tissue samples and mouse models, he is examining the relationship between different genotypes and inflammatory disorders, including celiac disease.
Stephanie Camhi
Stephanie Camhi
As clinical research coordinator, Stephanie Camhi is responsible for the recruitment and enrollment of all study subjects in the Center’s clinical trials. She interviews patients, maintains IRB regulatory documentation for study protocols, provides research-related results to patients, and manages the Center’s clinical laboratory data. Stephanie also assists with laboratory tasks and completes genetic testing for HLA DQ2/DQ8. She is currently enrolled in a pre-medical program through Harvard Extension School.
Shu Yan
Shu Yan
Shu Yan is the research technician responsible for clinical testing at the Center. He is also involved in the study of zonulin and its role in intestinal permeability, a major milieu of disease, and other related research projects.

Administrative Team

Lisa Milone
Lisa Milone
As an administrative director of MGHfC, Lisa Milone oversees adolescent medicine, pediatric group practice, pediatric gastroenterology, medical genetics and the Danvers and South Shore Pediatric outpatient clinics. Lisa has an extensive background working in the field of information management systems for healthcare focusing on ambulatory medical and surgical clinics. Her 24 years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve provided excellent training for overseeing the busy pediatric practice of 46 physicians and a large support staff.
Omayra Blackmon
As patient services coordinator for the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment, Omayra is often the first point of contact for both pediatric and adult patients coming to the Thursday celiac clinic. Working with the celiac clinic team, she ensures patients are seen as quickly as possible.
Susie Flaherty
Susie Flaherty
Director of Communications Susie Flaherty is an award-winning writer and editor with extensive experience in media and executive public relations, strategic communications and marketing, and publications production in both higher education administration and private business. A collaborator with Dr. Fasano on Gluten Freedom, she is currently working with the MGH Public Affairs office to promote the work of the Center to a wide array of national and international media outlets to increase awareness of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
Pam King
Pam King
Director of Development Pam King has been with the Center since its inception and oversees its fundraising efforts. Working with local support groups, Pam also directs and organizes the walk/runs that take place in cities nationwide to increase awareness of celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders and raise critical funds for research and local awareness initiatives.
Joanne O’Brien
As executive assistant to Dr. Fasano, Joanne O’Brien maintains his complex schedule, including extensive travel and speaking engagements, daily appointments and meetings with media and industry representatives, and other constituents. Dr. Fasano plays many roles—including administrator, researcher, physician, teacher, mentor and expert on gluten-related disorders—which he is able to keep up with only through Joanne’s wizardry in dealing with spreadsheets and international travel agents.
Ellen Plapinger
Senior Director of Development Ellen Plapinger assists with fundraising, stewarding major gift donors and planning major events for MGHfC. Ellen and her family have been fortunate to have MGH as their community hospital for many years and have found Dr. Fasano’s research and work on gluten-free labeling especially helpful. A member of the Development team for more than five years, Ellen considers it a privilege to raise funds to help improve the lives of all of our patients and their families.