Alain J. Benitez, MD

Alain J. Benitez, MD

Alain J. Benitez, MD, is a clinical research program manager with the Suzi and Scott Lustgarten Center for GI Motility at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Locations: Main Campus

Background

After completing his medical degree at Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) in the Dominican Republic, Alain started his research career at the University of Miami focusing on autoimmune disorders. There, he not only applied his clinical experience in the design and implementation of translational research studies, but also was able to enhance his molecular biology techniques. After moving to Philadelphia, Alain took a position at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP), studying the psychosocial effect of traumatic injury in children.

In 2011, the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition became Alain’s new home where he developed clinical and animal studies focusing on inflammation, fibrosis, and microbiota of allergic disorders of the GI tract. One of his main accomplishments was joining forces with his past colleagues at CIRP in developing the first coping kit for children with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), EoE Cellie Coping Kit. Alain recently joined the Center for GI Motility where he hopes to build a comprehensive translational research program in which he would be able to study the role of brain-gut-microbiome interactions in the etiology of functional GI and motility disorders. 

Education and Training

Medical School

Doctor of Medicine - Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Titles and Academic Titles

Clinical Research Program Manager

Departments and Services

Publications

Papers

2017

Menard-Katcher C, Benitez AJ, Pan Z, Ahmed FN1, Wilkins BJ, Capocelli K, Liacouras CA, Verma R, Spergel JM, Furuta GT, Muir AB: Influence of Age and Eosinophilic Esophagitis on Esophageal Distensibility in a Pediatric Cohort. American Journal of Gastroenterology May 2017.

2016

Chandramouleeswaran Prasanna M, Shen Dawen, Lee Anna J, Benitez Alain, Dods Kara, Gambanga Fiona, Wilkins Benjamin J, Merves Jamie, Noah Yuliana, Toltzis Sarit, Yearley Jennifer H, Spergel Jonathan M, Nakagawa Hiroshi, Malefyt Rene deWaal, Muir Amanda B, Wang Mei-Lun: Preferential Secretion of Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin (TSLP) by Terminally Differentiated Esophageal Epithelial Cells: Relevance to Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). PloS one 11(3): e0150968, 2016

Muir AB, Dods K, Henry SJ, Benitez AJ, Lee D, Whelan KA, DeMarshall M, Hammer DA, Falk G, Wells RG, Spergel J, Hakagawa H, Wang ML: Eosinophilic Esophagitis-Associated Chemical and Mechanical Microenvironment Shapes Esophageal Fibroblast Behavior. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 63(2), August 2016 Notes: DOI: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000001100.

2015

Muir Amanda B, Dods Kara, Henry Steven J, Benitez Alain J, Lee Dale, Whelan Kelly A, DeMarshall Maureen, Hammer Daniel A, Falk Gary, Wells Rebecca G, Spergel Jonathan, Nakagawa Hiroshi, Wang Mei-Lun: Eosinophilic Esophagitis Associated Chemical and Mechanical Microenvironment Shapes Esophageal Fibroblast Behavior. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition Dec 2015.

Benitez Alain J, Hoffmann Christian, Muir Amanda B, Dods Kara K, Spergel Jonathan M, Bushman Frederic D, Wang Mei-Lun: Inflammation-associated microbiota in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis. Microbiome 3: 23, 2015.

Merves J, Chandramouleeswaran PM, Benitez AJ, Muir AB, Lee AJ, Lim D,  Dods K, Mehta I, Ruchelli E, Nakagawa H, Spergel J, Wang ML: Altered esophageal histamine receptor expression in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE): Implications on disease pathogenesis. PLOSone  10(2):e0114831, Feb 2015.

Muir Amanda B, Dods Kara, Noah Yuli, Toltzis Sarit, Chandramouleeswaran Prasanna Modayur, Lee Anna, Benitez Alain, Bedenbaugh Adam, Falk Gary W, Wells Rebecca G, Nakagawa Hiroshi, Wang Mei-Lun: Esophageal epithelial cells acquire functional characteristics of activated myofibroblasts after undergoing an epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Experimental cell research 330(1): 102-10, Jan 2015.

2014

Adam M Zahm, Calies Menard-Katcher, Alain J. Benitez, Daphne M Tsoucas, Claire L Le Guen, Nicholas J Hand, Joshua R Friedman: Pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis is associated with changes in esophageal microRNAs. AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 08/2014; 307(8). DOI:10.1152/ajpgi.00121.2014

2013

Muir AB, Lim DM, Benitez AJ, Chandramouleeswaran PM, Lee AJ, Ruchelli ED, Spergel JM, and Wang ML: Esophageal epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talk lead to features of epithelial to mesenchymal transition in vitro. Experimental Cell Research  319(6): 850-9, 2013.

Noti Mario, Wojno Elia D Tait, Kim Brian S, Siracusa Mark C, Giacomin Paul R, Nair Meera G, Benitez Alain J, Ruymann Kathryn R, Muir Amanda B, Hill David A, Chikwava Kudakwashe R, Moghaddam Amin E, Sattentau Quentin J, Alex Aneesh, Zhou Chao, Yearley Jennifer H, Menard-Katcher Paul, Kubo Masato, Obata-Ninomiya Kazushige, Karasuyama Hajime, Comeau Michael R, Brown-Whitehorn Terri, de Waal Malefyt Rene, Sleiman Patrick M, Hakonarson Hakon, Cianferoni Antonella, Falk Gary W, Wang Mei-Lun, Spergel Jonathan M, Artis David: Thymic stromal lymphopoietin-elicited basophil responses promote eosinophilic esophagitis. Nature medicine 19(8): 1005-13, Aug 2013.

Abstracts

2017

Lynch KL, Benitez AJ, Kluger J, DeMarshall M,  Falk GW,  Muir AB: Esophageal Distensibility in Proton Pump Inhibitor Responsive Esophageal Eosinophilia Is Decreased Compared to Controls. Digestive Disease Week, Chicago, IL 2017.

Kasagi Y, Gambanga F, Whelan KA, Benitez AJ, Gross, J, Kluger J, Chandramouleeswaran P, DeMarshall M, Cianferoni A, Spergel J, Falk G, Nakagawa H, Muir AB: Lysyl oxidase is a novel fibrostenotic indicator in eosinophilic esophagitis induced via the TNFα-TGFβ axis in the epithelial-fibroblast crosstalk. Digestive Disease Week, Chicago, IL 2017.

Benitez AJ, Bittinger K, Tanes C,  Hofstaedter CE,  Kim D,  Gross J,  Spergel JM, Muir AB: Therapy associated bacterial and fungal dysbiosis in Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Digestive Disease Week, Chicago, IL  2017.

2016

Muir AB, Gambanga F, Kluger J, tanaka K, Benitez B, Modayr P, Whelan K, Nakagawa N: Epithelial-Fibroblast interaction drives pro-fibrotic milieu in eosinophilic esophagitis.  Accepted for oral presentation at Digestive Disease Week and the 117th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association 2016.

Menard-Katcher C, Benitez A, Ahmed F, Kramer R, Spergel J, Verma R, Liacouras C, Nakagawa H, Furuta G, Muir AB: Esophageal distensibility provides measure of remodeling in pediatric EoE. Digestive Disease Week and the 117th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association 2016.

Godwin, B. , Whelan, K., Benitez, A., Klein-Szanto, A., Spergel, J., Falk, G., Muir, A., Nakagawa, H.: Persistent Epithelial Changes in Inactive Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Is Inactive Really Inactive? Accepted for oral presentation. Digestive Disease Week and the 117th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association 2016.

2015

Muir AB, Dods K, Merves J, Whelan KA, Benitez AJ, DeMarshall M, Spergel J, Falk G, Wells RG, Wang ML, Nakagawa H : Epithelial lysyl oxidase is an early mediator of fibrotic remodeling in eosinophilic esophagitis. Oral presentation: Digestive Disease Week and the 116th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Washington, DC, May 16-19, 2015 2015.

Posters and Presentations

2015

Muir AB, Dods K, Henry S, Benitez AJ, Lee D, Whelan K, DeMarshall M, Falk G, Wells RG, Spergel J, Hammer D, Nakagawa H, Wang ML: Chemical and mechanical stimuli drive esophageal fibroblast activity: Implications for EoE Fibrosis. Oral Presentation at NASPGHAN annual meeting 2015.

Muir AB, Dods K, Henry S, Benitez AJ, DeMarshall M, Falk G, Wells RG, Hammer D, Nakagawa H, Wang ML: Matrix-stiffness enhances esophageal fibroblast activation, proliferation and contractility in pediatric and adult fibroblasts. Poster presentation at Digestive Disease Week and the 116th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Washington, DC, May 16-19, 2015  2015.

Merves J, Whelan KA, Muir AB, Masterson J, Guo A, Benitez AJ, Blair A, Gimotty PA, Klein-Szanto A, Spergel J, Furuta GT, Wang ML, Falk GW and Nakagawa H : Autophagy-Related Gene 7 (ATG7) may serve as a biomarker of EoE disease status. Poster presentation: Digestive Disease Week and the 116th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Washington, DC, May 16-19, 2015 2015.

Benitez AJ, Hoffmann C, Muir AB, Spergel J, Bushman F, and Wang ML: Inflammatory signature in the tissue-associated microbiota in pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis. Oral Presentation: Digestive Disease Week and the 116th annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association, Washington, DC, May 16-19, 2015 2015.

Awards and Honors

2016, CHOP Cares Community Grant

2006, Cum-laude, Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic