Highlights from the Celiac Disease Foundation Award Reception at DDW 2024

On Monday, May 20, 2024, the Celiac Disease Foundation hosted its third annual award reception at Digestive Disease Week in Washington, D.C. The event was a celebration of groundbreaking research and tireless advocacy in the field of celiac disease. From prestigious global research prizes to inaugural student and policy leadership awards, the event spotlighted the extraordinary contributions of individuals dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by celiac disease.


Since 2022, the Celiac Disease Foundation has been awarding three global research prizes to recognize the important contributions of outstanding celiac disease researchers: the Prize for Excellence in Celiac Disease Research ($25,000 USD) and the Young Investigator Prizes in Clinical and Basic Science ($10,000 USD each).

Prize for Excellence in Celiac Disease Research: Riccardo Troncone, MD (Italy)

Dr. Riccardo Troncone, a leading figure in pediatric gastroenterology, received this top honor. As a Full Professor and Director at the University Federico II in Naples, his influential work has profoundly advanced the understanding of celiac disease. With a prolific career that has included playing a key role in defining and understanding potential celiac disease, studying the induction of oral gluten tolerance in mice, and co-chairing the PreventCD Project that attempted to prevent celiac disease in at-risk infants, Dr. Troncone has set a high standard for excellence in the field.


Young Investigator Prize in Clinical Science: Marisa Stahl, MD MSCS (United States)

Dr. Marisa Stahl, an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Director of Research at the Colorado Center for Celiac Disease, was honored for her remarkable contributions to pediatric celiac disease research, including her dedication to advancing early detection and personalized screening strategies for celiac disease. Dr. Stahl announced plans to use her prize funds to support the University of Colorado’s first annual Celiac Disease Screening Symposium in November 2024.

Young Investigator Prize in Basic Science: Iris H. Jonkers, PhD (Netherlands)

Dr. Iris Jonkers, an Associate Professor at the University Medical Center Groningen, was recognized for her innovative research into the genetic and environmental triggers of celiac disease. While leading the University’s Immunogenetics group, Dr. Jonkers’ groundbreaking work has paved new pathways for understanding and treating celiac disease.


Celiac Disease Foundation – Jocelyn Silvester Rising Villus Student Research Award: Leslie Saba, MB BCh BAO

Dr. Leslie Saba received the first Celiac Disease Foundation-Jocelyn Silvester Rising Villus Student Research Award. When Dr. Silvester received the Foundation’s first Young Investigator Prize in 2022, she graciously donated the funds to establish the “Rising Villus” award to support up and coming researchers. This $5,000 USD award funds a 10-week mentored research experience to promote an interest in celiac disease research in promising medical students, graduate students, and medical residents. Dr. Saba, a third-year resident at Mayo Clinic, is working under the mentorship of Dr. Imad Absah to evaluate screening, management, and follow-up for pediatric patients with both celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. 

Celiac Disease Foundation – Takeda Early Career Research Award: Esen Sefik, PhD

Dr. Esen Sefik, an immunologist at Yale University, presented her current research supported by the CDF-Takeda Early Career Research Award. Dr. Sefik’s research is focused on modeling celiac disease in a humanized mousea mouse that has been re-engineered to have a human immune system. This innovative mouse model holds tremendous potential to provide real-time understanding of celiac disease in humans and, ultimately, help pave the way for a cure.



Inaugural Celiac Disease Policy Leadership Award: U.S. Representative Betty McCollum

This new award highlights outstanding commitment in advancing the needs of celiac disease patients, including advocacy for federal celiac disease research funding and support for legislation that will improve the health of all people affected by this life-altering diagnosis. U.S. Representative Betty McCollum of Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District, who has family directly impacted by celiac disease, was recognized in part for establishing and chairing the bipartisan Congressional Celiac Disease Caucus. She has been instrumental in promoting celiac disease research and awareness. Read more about this award.

“Representative McCollum has demonstrated a powerful, inspiring commitment to our collective mission to accelerate diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease. Her work is truly remarkable.” – Marilyn G. Geller, Chief Executive Officer, Celiac Disease Foundation





Read more about our 2024 research prize laureates.

Learn about Celiac Disease Foundation research awards and prizes.

Read about DDW research highlights.



The Celiac Disease Foundation thanks our 2024 research award and prize sponsors:


The Celiac Disease Foundation thanks our 2024 award reception sponsor: