Dr. Guandalini received his medical degree from the University of Messina, Italy in 1971, where he graduated with high honors. After his pediatric residency at University of Messina, he completed his fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology at the prestigious University of Naples, where he became an Assistant Professor. In 1977-79, he spent two years as a research associate in the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, where he did active bench research on the pathophysiology of diarrheal disease. Shortly after he returned to Italy, he received a promotion to associate professor and then became a full professor at the University of Naples in 1988. From 1990 to 1995, Dr. Guandalini served as the Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Catanzaro.
Dr. Guandalini’s scientific and professional career has focused on diarrheal diseases of children, with a major emphasis on celiac disease. In 1990 he coordinated a national effort in Italy resulting in the publication of the largest series of patients ever published, which resulted in the revision of the 20-year old ESPGHAN guidelines of diagnosing celiac disease. These new guidelines are currently used worldwide both for pediatric and adult celiac patients.
Dr. Guandalini joined the University of Chicago Department of Pediatrics in 1996, where he serves as Section Chief of the Department of Pediatrics Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
When Dr. Guandalini came to the United States from Italy nearly a decade ago, he was shocked. Where were the children with celiac disease? A world-renowned researcher on celiac disease and a noted pediatrician, Dr. Guandalini knew that the projected prevalence of celiac disease in the U.S. was comparable to that of his native country – 1 in 200 people. The fact that so few children or adults were being diagnosed with celiac disease in this country was astounding to him, especially given the fact that undiagnosed celiacs have a higher risk for cancer, osteoporosis and infertility, among other illnesses. This disparity in detection and diagnosis led Dr. Guandalini to create the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program, the only organization of its kind in the US to address medical education, advocacy, patient services, scientific research and public awareness on celiac disease.
Guandalini is the immediate past president of FISPGHAN, the Federation of International Societies for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, selected from a world-wide pool of candidates as the first president for this federation. Dr. Guandalini has been President of the Italian Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, and Hepatology. He is a past president of ESPGHAN, the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.
Dr. Guandalini was a member of the NASPGHAN working group which finalized new recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of celiac disease in the United States. These guidelines were released in spring, 2005.
Dr. Guandalini was born in Rome, and spent his childhood in Messina, Italy, where his mother’s family originated. His father’s family is from the northern Italian town of Modena.