We explore unknown molecules, sensory pathways and cellular connections that underpin inflammation
The mucosal barriers of the body facilitate the arduous task of promoting symbiosis with the resident microbiota while simultaneously preventing microbial invasion and pathogenic inflammation.
By identifying novel molecules, sensory pathways and inter cellular signalling circuits, we aim to uncover not only how tissue-wide homeostasis is achieved but also how its breakdown can be averted to prevent disease.
Using genome-wide transcriptomic and translatomic sequencing approaches during inflammation, we have identified a vast array of transcripts with interesting translation dynamics and novel protein coding potential.
Using a combination of forward and reverse genetic approaches, we aim to delineate the function of these unknown proteins and interrogate their contribution to inflammation and disease.
New Sensors of Inflammation
Innate immune cells utilize a plethora of membrane-bound and intracellular sensors that directly recognize microbial invasion to mount an inflammatory response.
We have discovered that immune cells express a mechanosensory ion channel that triggers inflammation in response to pulmonary fluctuations in cyclical pressure during mucosal infection and fibrosis. Identification of novel strategies that cells utilize in the tissue microenvironment to instruct immunity is a major direction of our research.
We have recently uncovered that enteric neuron expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines is vital for intestinal epithelial cell-mediated antimicrobial barrier defense.
Understanding how neurons communicate with the entire cellular architecture of the mucosa to influence homeostasis, inflammation and disease is of the foremost interest to our ongoing studies.