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Marie Robert, MD, Jordan Pober, MD, PhD, Awarded POINTS Grant to Study Pathogenesis of Celiac Disease

September 06, 2022

Marie Robert, MD, Professor of Pathology and of Medicine (Digestive Diseases), and Jordan Pober, MD, PhD, the Bayer Professor of Translational Medicine and Professor of Immunobiology, Pathology, and Dermatology, have been awarded a grant from the Program for the Promotion of Interdisciplinary Team Science (POINTS) at Yale School of Medicine to study the Pathogenesis of Celiac Disease.

The $198,947 funding is for one year beginning from September 1, 2022. POINTS grants support teams of investigators to address major questions in basic, clinical, and translational science and partner with them on grant submissions to obtain federal funding for sustainable support for these projects.

The grants provide $50,000 to $200,000 in funding to groups of two to five investigators, led by a Yale School of Medicine (YSM) faculty member in support of research projects having the potential to achieve program project or center funding. The goal is to provide seed money to teams of investigators within the YSM community to generate preliminary data and evidence of collaboration sufficient to obtain extramural funding, such as multi-investigator U01, U54, P01, P30, or P50 grants.

Dr. Robert and Dr. Pober’s study will consist of three projects:

  • Isolation and characterization of gliadin-reactive CD4+ T cells from celiac disease patients
  • Mechanisms of duodenal epithelial injury in active celiac disease
  • A human immune system mouse model of celiac disease

Dr. Robert is a leading diagnostic pathologist in this field, having led expert panels that characterized the histologic features of celiac disease at diagnosis, follow up, and in refractory states. Others working on the project include Kevan C. Herold, MD, Professor of Immunobiology and Medicine, Michael J. Caplan, MD, PhD, Professor, Departments of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Cell Biology, and Richard A. Flavell, PhD, FRS, Professor of Immunobiology.

Celiac disease is a common autoimmune disorder, affecting 3.2 million Americans. A strict gluten-free diet may alleviate symptoms in 80% of patients, but such a diet is difficult to sustain. In addition, many patients present early in childhood, requiring a lifetime of difficult dietary restrictions. Although no current therapeutic intervention exists, Dr. Robert said a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis may suggest new approaches.

Submitted by Terence P. Corcoran on September 06, 2022