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Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD

Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD

  • Specialty: Gastroenterology
    View Expertise
  • Languages Spoken: English, Italian

Office Locations

UH Cleveland Medical Center Bolwell (0 mi.)

11100 Euclid Ave
Bolwell 6th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44106

Biography: Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD


  • Crohn's Disease
  • Gastroenterology
  • Gastrointestional Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Ulcerative Colitis


  • Chief Scientific Officer, Digestive Health Institute, University Hospitals
  • Division Chief, Gastroenterology, UH Cleveland Medical Center
  • Professor, CWRU School of Medicine


Fellowship | Gastroenterology
Gastroenterology - Harbor-Ucla Medical Center (1987 - 1989)

Residency | Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine - Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze (Florence) (1983 - 1986)

Other Education
Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze (Florence) (1991)

Medical Education
Universita Degli Studi Di Firenze (Florence) (1983)


Fabio Cominelli, MD, PhD, is the Chief Scientific Officer of the Digestive Health Institute at University Hospitals of Cleveland, the inaugural awardee of the Hermann Menges Jr Chair in Internal Medicine and Associate Dean for Program Development. He is also a Professor of Medicine and Pathology, Chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, and Director of the Digestive Health Research Institute at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).  Dr. Cominelli is also a highly respected clinician with strong expertise in clinical program development for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with digestive diseases.  He has conceived and developed one of the first multi-disciplinary Center of Excellence in Digestive Health at University of Virginia and the Digestive Health Institute at UH Cleveland Medical Center, University Hospitals of Cleveland. He has been named “American Top Doctor” in Gastroenterology by Castle Connonly Medical Ltd for the last 23 years (2001-2023).

Dr. Cominelli is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Program Project Grant, studying the role of innate immunity in experimental Crohn’s disease, and an R01 grant focused on the role of cytokines and the gut microbiome in the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation.  He is also the PI of a T32 Training grant in Digestive Disease Sciences at CWRU, the T35 Case Medical Student Summer Training program as well as the PI and Director of the Cleveland NIH P30 Digestive Diseases Research Core Center. His research interest in the area of experimental inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal cytokines dates back more than 30 years to his fellowship in Gastroenterology research under Dr. Robert Zipser at Harbor UCLA Medical Center.  These two general areas of research have remained the focus of his investigation ever since. 

Dr. Cominelli has been a member of the GMA-2 Study Section and the Chairperson of the Research Training Grant Committee of the CCFA. He was also the Chairman of the Research Initiatives Committee for the CCFA and Chair of the Research Policy Committee of the AGA.  Dr. Cominelli was a member of the Advisory Council of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and a member and Chairperson of the GMPB Study Section.  In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Cominelli was the recipient of the 2002 Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation for Medical Research for his studies establishing that targeted neutralization of a specific cytokine was effective for the treatment of experimental IBD. In 2017 he was awarded The Distinguished Faculty Research Award and the Medal for Excellence in Health Science Innovation, Case Western Reserve University, the highest honor in the School of Medicine. In 2018 he was selected as the winner of the Maurice Saltzman Award from The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Cominelli has over 30 years of experience and continuous NIH funding in cytokine biology and many seminal discoveries in this field of investigation.  His group was the first to report that specific blockade of a single pro-inflammatory cytokine, i.e. interleukin-1 (IL-1), was effective in reducing disease severity in an animal model of experimentally-induced colitis and that an imbalance between intestinal pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines represents a pathogenic mechanism of auto-inflammatory diseases, including IBD. This concept has now gained considerable attention through reports of severe inflammatory disease in infants with homozygous germ-line mutations in the IL-1 gene family.  These and other studies have formed the foundation for clinical trials using anti-cytokine therapy (e.g., anti-TNFα therapy) as well as administration of anti-inflammatory cytokines, (e.g., IL-1 receptor antagonist) in patients with auto-inflammatory diseases.  He was also the first to demonstrate a critical role of TL1A/DR3 in the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation and recent clinical trials have shown that blockade of TL1A signaling if effective in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. More recently, Dr. Cominelli has developed strong expertise in nutrition and gut microbiome research by investigating the composition and function of the gut microbiome in humans and murine models of IBD.

Dr. Cominelli has published more than 200 original articles and has extensive editorial experience.  He has been an Associate Editor and an Editorial Board Member for several Journals including the Journal of Immunology, Gastroenterology, Digestive and Liver Disease, The American Journal of Physiology, Translational Research and others.  He is currently an Academic Editor for PLoS One, Associate Editor for Frontiers in Immunology and the Editor-in Chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.  Dr. Cominelli has been also an outstanding mentor and has trained more than 150 individuals many of them being independent investigators or academic leaders in Gastroenterology.

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Industry Relationships

University Hospitals is committed to transparency in our interactions with industry partners, such as pharmaceutical, biotech, or medical device companies. At UH, we disclose practitioner and their family members’ ownership and intellectual property rights that are or in the process of being commercialized. In addition, we disclose payments to employed practitioners of $5,000 or more from companies with which the practitioners interact as part of their professional activities. These practitioner-industry relationships assist in developing new drugs, devices and therapies and in providing medical education aimed at improving quality of care and enhancing clinical outcomes. At the same time, UH understands that these relationships may create a conflict of interest. In providing this information, UH desires to assist patients in talking with their practitioners about industry relationships and how those relationships may impact their medical care.

UH practitioners seek advance approval for certain new industry relationships. In addition, practitioners report their industry relationships and activities, as well as those of their immediate family members, to the UH Office of Outside Interests annually. We review these reports and implement management plans, as appropriate, to address conflicts of interest that may arise in connection with medical research, clinical care and purchasing decisions.

View UH’s policy (PDF) on practitioner-industry relationships.

As of December 31, 2016, Fabio Cominelli disclosed the following Outside Relationships with Industry:

  • - Advance Health Media LLC - Consulting