My research interests are focused on the pathogenesis and immune regulation of the gastrointestinal tract. One of my study aspects is cytokine regulation of epithelial barrier function in the context of enteric bacterial infection. We also study if disrupted barrier function can act as an initiation step in allergy.
Another aspect of my research is the modulatory role of probiotics and/or prebiotics in gastrointestinal infections and allergic disorders. Currently my research work is focused on the understanding of how helminthes affect mucosal T cell responses to enteric bacterial pathogens and how helminth-induced changes in mucosal T cell function modulate intestinal epithelial barrier function.
I have demonstrated that the small intestinal Th2-stimulating helminth parasite, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, compromises mucosal barrier function in the colonic epithelial monolayer (Infection and Immunity, 2011, 79: 2285). More recently, I have also demonstrated that autophagy is involved in the macrophage killing of the extracellular enteropathogen Citrobacter rodentium following phagocytosis (J. Immunol. 2012).
Through my previous post-doctoral training at both Taiwan and MGH, I have significantly expanded my knowledge and skills, which allows me to continue to accomplish the proposed Pilot Feasibility Project.