• Summary
  • Publications
  • Research
  • Locations

D. Brent Polk, MD, is chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Director of The Saban Research Institute. He is also chair of pediatrics and vice dean for Child Health at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. A distinguished researcher and clinician, Dr. Polk serves as a professor of pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine. As chair of pediatrics, he is responsible for the department’s educational, research and service missions, and oversees faculty working at Children’s Hospital and Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center.

Dr. Polk previously 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 Medical Center. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Ouachita University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and his medical degree from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Clinical Interests

Digestive diseases


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Childrens Hospital; Pediatrics


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Childrens Hospital; Pediatrics

Stanford University School of Medicine; Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition



Pediatric Gastroenterology; American Board of Pediatrics

Medical Memberships: 

American Gastroenterological Association; American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP); American Gastroenterological Association (AGA); American Pediatric Society (APS); American Physiological Society (APS); American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB); American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB); American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN); Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA); Council of Delegates, Intestinal Disorders Section of AGA; Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB); Gastroenterology Research Group (GRG); North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN); Society for Pediatric Research (SPR).

Medical Awards: 

Fellow, 2008; University of Arkansas College of Medicine, Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009; Grant W. Liddle Award, 2009


Zhang Y, Dubé PE, Washington MK, Yan F, Polk DB. ErbB2 and ErbB3 regulate recovery from dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis by promoting mouse colon epithelial cell survival. Lab Invest, 2011

Yan F, Polk DB. Probiotics and immune health. Curr Opin Gastroenterol, 27(6):496-501, 2011.

Chaturvedi R, Asim M, Romero-Gallo J, Barry DP, Hoge S, de Sablet T, Delgado AG, Wroblewski LE, Piazuelo MB, Yan F, Israel DA, Casero RA Jr, Correa P, Gobert AP, Polk DB, Peek RM Jr, Wilson KT. Spermine oxidase mediates the gastric cancer risk associated with Helicobacter pylori CagA. Gastroenterology, 141(5):1696-708, 2011.

Ueno PM, Oriá RB, Maier EA, Guedes MM, de Azevedo OG, Wu D, Willson T, Hogan, SP, Lima AA, Guerrant RL, Polk DB, Denson LA, Moore SR. Alanyl-glutamine promotes intestinal epithelial cell homeostasis in vitro and in a murine model of weanling undernutrition. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol, 301(4):G612-22, 2011.

McElroy SJ, Prince LS, Weitkamp JH, Reese J, Slaughter JC, Polk DB. Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor 1-Dependent Depletion of Mucus in Immature Small Intestine: A Potential Role in Neonatal Necrotizing Enterocolitis. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol, 301(4):G656-66, 2011.

Research Interests: 

My laboratory is focused on the regulation of growth and development of the intestinal cell as it relates to ontogeny and disease. Current areas of investigation include epidermal growth factor and tumor necrosis factor receptor family member signaling mechanisms leading to proliferation, differentiation or migration of intestinal cells and the relationship between inflammation and tumorigenesis. These findings have been extended to understanding the relationship between commensal and pathogenic enteric bacterial flora and regulation of intestinal cell proliferation, integrity and apoptosis with implications for health and disease.

4650 Sunset Blvd.
MS #126
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-2278Office
Fax: 323-361-3719Fax