People of the MIBRC

Principal Investigators:

Bobby Cherayil, MD

Alessio Fasano, MD

Verena Göbel, MD

Bryan Hurley, PhD

Hai Ning Shi, DVM, PhD

W. Allan Walker, MD


Beth McCormick, PhD

Hans-Christian Reinecker, MD

Curriculum Vitae

Alessio Fasano, MD

Director, Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center, MGHfC
Director, Center for Celiac Research, MGHfC
Associate Chief for Basic, Clinical and Translational Research, MGHfC
Division Chief, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, MGHfC
Visiting Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Office Address:

Department of Pediatrics
Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
114 16th Street 114-3502
Charlestown, MA 02129

Phone: (617) 726-4166
FAX: (617) 726-4172


Academic Appointments

Other Professional Positions

Administrative Leadership Positions (selected)

Committee Service (selected)

Professional Societies

Editorial Activities

Other Editorial Roles

Honors (selected)

Funded Projects (selected)


Current Licensure and Certification

Research Experience


  1. Cell biology: studies on the pathophysiology of the paracellular pathway and structural changes of cell cytoskeleton and tight junctions induced by zonulin, a physiological modulator of tight junctions recently discovered in our lab, its prokaryotic analogue ZOT, and gliadin peptides. Signal transduction involved in the regulation of epithelial and endothelial cell cytoskeleton and intercellular tight junctions. These knowledge was used to develop a series of applications, including:
    i. Innovative delivery systems of therapeutical proteins and other macromolecules through the intestinal epithelium, the nasal mucosa, and the blood-brain barrier.
    ii. Nasal delivery of antigens for vaccine development
    ii. Vector-mediated gene delivery
    iii. Antigen-specific immunomodulation
  2. Celiac disease: epidemiology of celiac disease in United States: Development of new specific and sensitive screening assays to diagnose typical, atypical, and asymptomatic celiac patients. Studies on the pathogenesis of the disease particularly focused on the alteration of tissue permeability secondary to tight junction dysfunction.
  3. Type 1 diabetes: Study on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes (T1D). We have generated data suggesting that a subgroup of subjects with T1D experiences a zonulin-dependent abnormal increase in intestinal permeability that causes non-self antigens to cross the intestinal barrier, so triggering an aberrant autoimmune response targeting the pancreatic beta cells. We are currently working on the possible links between zonulin-dependent chronic increase in intestinal permeability and the onset of T1D in order to develop strategies for the prevention of the disease. We are using the combination of an animal model of T1D and human studies in order to gain insights into T1D-associated tight junction's dysregulation at the cellular and molecular levels.

Teaching and Supervision

Selected Patents (from a total of 161)