University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The work of Dr. Gulati’s laboratory is focused on understanding interactions between the commensal microbiota of the gut and the host epithelium in the context of chronic intestinal inflammation found in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Specifically, they are interested in determining the mechanisms by which various susceptibility genes for IBD affect the structure and composition of the intestinal microbiota through their influences on the intestinal epithelium. In particular, his lab is exploring the mechanisms by which various IBD risk alleles induce dysfunction of a specific intestinal epithelial subtype known as the Paneth cell. Dr. Gulati’s team has established that mice on different genetic backgrounds, with varying susceptibilities to experimental colitis, possess profound differences in Paneth cell function. Using the tools developed in these studies, they are now assessing Paneth cell function, global enteric microbial composition, and susceptibility to intestinal inflammation in mice deficient for known IBD risk alleles such as Nod2, Irgm1, and Agr2. Dr. Gulati expects these studies will lead to the development of safer, patient-specific therapies for individuals with IBD.