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Dr Henry Binder is a Professor of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University where he has been on the faculty for more than thirty years.
He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and New York University School of Medicine, was an Internal Medicine Resident at Bellevue Hospital and a Gastroenterology fellow at Yale University. After two years in the Air Force and a year as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Dr Binder returned to Yale as an Assistant Professor in 1969.
Dr Binder has had a research program devoted to understanding the mechanisms of colonic electrolyte transport in health and disease. The clinical expression of these studies is diarrheal disease.
Several of his noteworthy observations include establishing that bile acids and fatty acids induce fluid secretion which explain the diarrhea of cholorrheic enteropathy and steatorrhea.
Extensive studies of oxalate absorption resulted in the concept that oxalate is primarily absorbed in the colon and is the basis for enteric hyperoxaluria.
His laboratory has also emphasized detailed studies of short chain fatty acid transport that has led to the demonstration that resistant starch is an effective adjunct to oral rehydration solution in the treatment of cholera.
Finally, in more recent years there have also been extensive studies of colonic potassium transport which resulted in the molecular identification of a colonic H,K-ATPase and innovative studies of the isolated colonic crypt with identification that the colonic crypt, in addition to its accepted secretory function, also absorbs fluid most likely via a novel Cl-dependent Na-H exchange.
As a result of these studies, Dr Binder is a recognized international authority on colonic ion transport. His laboratory has been supported for now thirty years by research grants from the NIDDK and recently received an award from the Wellcome Trust in collaboration with Prof B.S. Ramakrishna of Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, and Prof Michael Farthing.
Dr Binder has also been an Associate Editor of American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology and is presently a Special Section Editor of Gastroenterology for Selected Summaries. At present Dr Binder has published more than 240 original articles, reviews and invited chapters and has had approximately thirty post-doctoral fellows, several of whom have established independent research laboratories.
Dr Binder established the Training Program in Investigative Gastroenterology at Yale and has been its Director since 1972.
- What made you decide to become a gastroenterologist?
- I truly cannot recall what led me to become a gastroenterologist, but I do know that it must have been in Medical School as I took gastroenterology electives with Kurt Isselbacher at MGH and Henry Janowitz at Mt. Sinai Hospital during my senior year. In 1960 there were no "modern" gastroenterologists at Bellevue.
- Who was the teacher you admired the most?
- John Fordtran.
- Which research paper influenced you the most?
- What is the most important fact that you have discovered?
- I will have to identify two: 1) The demonstration that bile acids and fatty acids induce active Cl secretion which is the basis for the diarrhea of cholorrheic enteropathy and steatorrhea, respectively. At the time of those studies bile acids and fatty acids were thought to "stimulate and irritate" the intestine but not to have a direct effect on fluid and electrolyte movement; and 2) That the colonic crypt has the ability to absorb fluid which was contrary to the established dogma that crypt cells secrete and villus/surface cells absorb.
- What is your unfulfilled ambition?
- Not to have to work for a living!
- What is your greatest regret?
- How do you relax?
- Spending time in Northern Vermont.
- What is your favorite sport?
- What is your best place in the world?
- Stowe, Vermont and Paris, France.
- What is your favorite film?
- Do not go to movies!
- What car do you drive?
- A 1970 yellow Volkswagon beetle that I bought new and drive to the medical school, except some days in the winter! For reasons that are obscure, my wife and I have three other cars.
- What is your best electronic 'toy'?
- Email and my non-electronic PDA.
- What book are you reading at the moment?
- "Encore Provence" by Peter Mayle.
- Why did you get in involved in GastroHep.com?
- Roy Pounder asked me to get involved.