Dr. Mulder is an Assistant Professor at Queen's and a pediatric gastroenterologist who studies the effects of the immune system on the gastrointestinal tract.
Can you provide a brief summary of your research?
My interest both clinically and in research is in a disease called Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This is a disease where the body attacks the guts for reasons we haven’t yet discovered. We think about one in 200 people in Canada have it, but it's silent disease that too often goes undetected. We do have lots of medicines for it, but it’s a chronic disease and can’t be cured. It’s also important to keep in mind that IBD is a blanket term for several diseases that operate similarly but have different causes and could potentially be treated more effectively with personalized care.
What problem do you want to solve through your research?
I probably won't be the person to cure this disease or solve exactly what causes it, but I'd like to be the person who discovers a better way to approach this condition. As a new researcher with Queen’s health Sciences (QHS), I've been given an incredible opportunity to rethink this category of disease, and how it impacts the lives of so many Canadians. One of the fascinating things about IBD is that people who have severe cases can't take medicine by mouth; we often need IV medicines and medicines that go under the skin. This is uncomfortable, but doable for most adult patients, but the same isn’t true for children who can be easily intimidated by this kind of treatment.
Why is your research important to you?
It’s important to me because not only is IBD something I think we really under-recognize in society. We notice when someone else is having trouble breathing, but not when somebody experiences bloody diarrhea. Not only is this not something friends and family can easily notice, but anything to do with bowel functions can be quite embarrassing for patients, kids especially. I also have IBD in my family. Having this disease so close to my heart motivates me to spend those extra few hours in the lab. My work has the potential to help a lot of people, and I hope I can help my loved ones along with all my other patients.
What do you hope to learn from your research?
As I previously alluded, my main goal is to improve the methods by which we treat IBD. Different patients have different needs, and I am trying to be as receptive to this reality as possible.
What kind of impact do you hope that your research will have?
If I can help even a small subset of people or move things forward with our understanding of IBD, that would be a big accomplishment for me. As a pediatrician, I would especially love to find a way that we can provide children with more friendly and bearable treatment.
Do you do any research with KSHC?
I’m currently Kingston’s only pediatric gastroenterologist. There are many pediatricians and gastroenterologists respectively, but I'm the one sort of in the middle. I love having a job where I can see children with gastrointestinal diseases and help out in a way that other people can't, at least in Kingston. My role here also saves kids trips to CHEO or SickKids. It's rewarding to know that I’m making treatment more accessible to the local population.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a rockstar and a punk rocker. I was in a band and I played guitar and bass, but I've definitely fallen behind since I started my career in medicine. I don’t know that I could call it an actual talent at this point, but I still love it!