• 5827 Citations
  • 41 h-Index
1989 …2019

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Thomas Ma’s research focus for more than 25 years has been to delineate the role of defective intestinal epithelial tight junction (TJ) barrier in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Long-term goals of the Ma Laboratory have been:

  • to delineate the intracellular processes that regulate the intestinal epithelial TJ barrier under normal physiological conditions;
  • to elucidate the pathogenic mechanism involved in dysregulation of intestinal TJ barrier in IBD; and
  • to discover novel therapeutic agents to enhance the intestinal TJ barrier during disease states.

Ongoing research efforts have resulted in a number of important scientific advancements that have impacted the current understanding of the intestinal TJ barrier regulation in health and in disease states.

The laboratory has extensive expertise delineating the intracellular and molecular mechanisms of intestinal TJ barrier regulation in in-vitro (cell-culture) and in-vivo (live mouse intestinal permeability studies) models, using cutting-edge cell biology and molecular approaches. Dr. Ma’s research has been continuously funded since 1990 by VA and NIH grants to study the mechanisms that regulate the intestinal TJ barrier and intestinal inflammation.

In addition to his own work, Dr. Ma has chaired several NIH and Veterans Affairs study sections and panels. He also serves or has served on the editorial board or as a reviewer for more than 25 journals.

Clinical interests

Consistent with his research interests, Dr. Thomas Ma’s clinical expertise is in the management of inflammatory bowel disease. He has been involved in number of clinical trials and investigator-initiated clinical studies related to defects in the intestinal barrier in inflammatory bowel disease, necrotizing enterocolitis and alcoholic hepatitis.

Teaching and educational interests

Dr. Thomas Ma has mentored undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, postdoctoral research fellows, gastroenterology fellows and junior faculty throughout his career. He has moderated and/or organized educational symposia at the institutional, regional and national levels.

Professional information

Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine, 1988

Member, American Gastroenterological Association, 1988 to present

Diplomate, American Board of Gastroenterology, 1991, 2001 and 2013

Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1994 to present

Fellow, American College of Gastroenterology, 1999 to present

Fellow, American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine, 2003 to present

Member, American Physiological Society, 2005 to present

Education/Academic qualification

Gastroenterology, Fellowship, University of California Irvine School of Medicine

… → 1990

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of California Irvine School of Medicine

… → 1990

Internal Medicine, Residency, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

… → 1987

Medicinal Chemistry, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University

… → 1985

MD, The Medical College of Virginia

… → 1983

Biology/General Science, BS, Fordham University

… → 1978

External positions

Editor in Chief, World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pathophysiology


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  • Research Output

    • 5827 Citations
    • 41 h-Index
    • 85 Article
    • 3 Chapter
    • 3 Letter
    • 3 Review article

    Intestinal epithelial tight junction barrier regulation by autophagy-related protein ATG6/beclin 1

    Wong, M., Ganapathy, A. S., Suchanec, E., Laidler, L., Ma, T. & Nighot, P., May 2019, In : American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology. 316, 5, p. C753-C765

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 4 Scopus citations

    Investigating intestinal permeability and gut microbiota roles in acute coronary syndrome patients

    Alhmoud, T., Kumar, A., Lo, C. C., Al-Sadi, R., Clegg, S., Alomari, I., Zmeili, T., Gleasne, C. D., Mcmurry, K., Dichosa, A. E. K., Vuyisich, M., Chain, P. S. G., Mishra, S. & Ma, T., Aug 2019, In : Human Microbiome Journal. 13, 100059.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Increase in Intestinal Permeability Is Mediated by TAK-1 Activation of IKK and MLCK/MYLK Gene

    Nighot, M., Rawat, M., Al-Sadi, R., Castillo, E. F., Nighot, P. & Ma, T. Y., Apr 2019, In : American Journal of Pathology. 189, 4, p. 797-812 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 6 Scopus citations

    MMP-9-induced increase in intestinal epithelial tight permeability is mediated by p38 kinase signaling pathway activation of MLCK gene

    Al-Sadi, R., Youssef, M., Rawat, M., Guo, S., Dokladny, K., Haque, M., Watterson, M. D. & Ma, T. Y., Feb 2019, In : American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology. 316, 2, p. G278-G290

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Scopus citations

    Expression of programmed death-ligand 1 by human colonic CD90+ stromal cells differs between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease and determines their capacity to suppress Th1 cells

    Beswick, E. J., Grim, C., Singh, A., Aguirre, J. E., Tafoya, M., Qiu, S., Rogler, G., McKee, R., Samedi, V., Ma, T. Y., Reyes, V. E., Powell, D. W. & Pinchuk, I. V., May 30 2018, In : Frontiers in immunology. 9, MAY, 1125.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 12 Scopus citations