C. elegans is a transparent nematode with simple polarized organ epithelia. Intestinal and pharyngeal epithelia are labeled with an apical marker (red outlining the lumen) and a basolateral marker (green outlining single intestinal cells and the pharynx). Head: right; intestine/tail: below.
Located in the historic Charlestown Navy Yard, the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center (MIBRC) houses six principal investigators under the leadership of Dr. Alessio Fasano, MD. Supported by the staff and facilities of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, MIBRC scientists conduct basic research in mucosal immunology topics ranging from Salmonella food poisoning to intestinal inflammatory diseases such as celiac disease.
Using a multidisciplinary approach, our major mission is to characterize the role of the enterocyte in mucosal barrier function at the interface between microbial luminal stimuli and lymphoid effector responses. We focus on the enterocyte and its involvement in microbial “crosstalk,” lymphoid-nerve-epithelial interactions, and inappropriate developmental responses.
We also look at how the enterocyte functions both as a barrier to microbial penetration and a site for the beneficial effects of probiotics in intestinal inflammation. The MIBRC examines the strategies used by enteric pathogens and bacterial enterotoxins to affect the host and how these interactions combine to play a role in the pathogenesis of infectious intestinal diseases and intestinal inflammation.