In our ongoing series, “Meet Yale Internal Medicine,” today’s spotlight is on Dr. Vikas Gupta, MD/PhD, an Assistant Professor of Medicine specializing in digestive diseases and pathology. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program at Yale University.
Dr. Vikas Gupta, a physician-scientist, harbors a deep fascination for unraveling the fundamental biology underlying chronic liver diseases. His journey into the world of medicine and research was heavily influenced by his father’s career path. “My father pursued medical school when I was in high school and became a practicing physician at the age of 40. Witnessing his journey, I found medicine intriguing from a young age,” he shared.
During his high school years, Gupta began volunteering at a local hospital and shadowing physicians. His undergraduate studies further fueled his interest in medical research. “I realized that much of our medical interventions are akin to applying a band-aid and do not address the root causes of diseases. Research, I believed, was the avenue to expand our knowledge boundaries and make a substantial impact on patients with chronic illnesses. This led me to apply for an MD-PhD program,” Gupta explained.
While pursuing his MD and PhD degrees at Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Gupta focused on the regeneration of zebrafish hearts. However, it wasn’t until his internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital that he encountered numerous patients with fibrotic diseases, sparking his interest in Gastroenterology (GI).
Following his time at Duke, Gupta completed a GI fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he delved into understanding how various populations of fibrogenic cells contribute to cholestatic liver fibrosis. In July 2021, he transitioned to Yale School of Medicine, drawn by its robust research programs and the opportunity to collaborate with leading investigators in cholangiocyte biology.
During his first year at Yale, Dr. Gupta established his own lab, dedicated to making groundbreaking discoveries related to fibrosing, inflammatory, and cancerous diseases of the biliary tree. His research focuses on understanding the unique characteristics of different cell populations in the large extrahepatic bile ducts. “We aim to identify what sets each population of cells apart. Additionally, we are intrigued by the cellular homeostasis of the epithelium in the larger bile ducts,” Gupta elucidated. “Understanding these processes will provide valuable insights into human diseases, allowing us to pinpoint where things go wrong.”
In his dual role as a hepatologist, Dr. Gupta actively treats patients with liver diseases at Yale New Haven Hospital. He also plays a pivotal role in overseeing Yale’s Digestive Diseases Fellowship program, with a strong emphasis on research components within the fellowship. However, the majority of his time at Yale has been devoted to his lab, where he collaborates with fellow researchers and advances his research projects.
What keeps Dr. Gupta motivated every day? The possibility of uncovering something new. “My favorite aspect of coming to work is the idea that any given day might bring a new discovery. That’s what drives me, what keeps me excited to do what we do,” he enthused.
For over five decades, Yale’s Section of Digestive Diseases has been at the forefront of gastrointestinal and liver disorder research and healthcare. Dr. Vikas Gupta’s contributions to this legacy exemplify the institution’s unwavering commitment to advancing medical knowledge and patient care in the realm of digestive diseases. To learn more about their groundbreaking work, visit Digestive Diseases.