My overall research program is focused on the regulation of innate immune signaling and tissue fibrogenesis in the gastrointestinal tract, in the context of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. We are interested in how the intestinal epithelium, resident mucosal immune and mesenchymal cells contribute to inflammatory bowel disease pathogenesis. As such, we examine how inflammatory signaling is initiated in the cells of the intestinal mucosa and mesenchyme and determine how these event can be modulated by metabolites produced by the intestinal microbiota and other small molecules that act through the stimulation of a range of ligand-activated nuclear receptors.
Some of the current projects in my lab include:
1) The regulation of epithelial and fibroblast function by xenobiotic receptors (Crohn's & Colitis Canada)
2) The regulation of the intestinal epithelium and host-pathogen interactions by the constitutive androstane receptor (NSERC).
3) Targeting intestinal mesenchymal cell populations in fibrostenotic Crohn's disease - modulation of proliferative, fibrotic and inflammatory processes by NR4A1 (CIHR).
4) Brain dysfunction in chronic inflammatory disease (CIHR Team Grant)
Techniques used in my laboratory:
Intestinal enteroid 3-D cultures
Live cell imaging
Animal models of intestinal inflammation
Key words that best describe my research:
Inflammasome, innate immunity, inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, microbiota, nuclear receptors, xenobiotic, epithelium, mesenchymal cells, smooth muscle, fibroblasts.