The Microbiota in Immune-Mediated Diseases
Cladogram generated from IgA-Seq data of patients with antiphospholipid syndrome and control subjects.
The gut microbiota, the collection of trillions of commensals colonizing the gastrointestinal tract, does not elicit a pathologic immune response in healthy hosts even though immune cells are constantly in contact with microbial antigens at the mucosal surfaces. This phenomenon is partly due to the fact that the human microbiota and immune system have co-evolved for millennia with the host. Diet and environmental influences that have shaped these processes in the past are very different in today's societies. Recent changes in the gut microbial community composition are thought to contribute to metabolic and immune-mediated diseases.
An emerging theme in autoimmunity research is that outgrowth of detrimental commensals ("pathobionts") or loss of beneficial commensals ("symbionts") unleashes the autoimmune process in a genetically susceptible host by various mechanisms. While evidence exists for this paradigm in some mouse models, the proof in human autoimmune diseases is still outstanding.
Major aims of this laboratory are to define the microbial community composition of gastrointestinal, cutaneous and oral microbiomes in autoimmune diseases, to study host-microbiota interactions in vitro and vivo, and to potentially prove causal relationships using humanized gnotobiotic animals. The ultimate goal is to develop novel biomarkers and therapeutic strategies for human autoimmune diseases.
Lab Meetings take place every Friday at 10:30 A.M. in conference room 131G at 10 Amistad Street.
Research in Progress/Journal Club takes place every Tuesday at 3:00 P.M. in conference room 112 at 10 Amistad Street.