The long-term goal of my research program is to understand the biological mechanisms by which stress impacts the development and clinical severity of important GI diseases. My work has specifically targeted signaling pathways in the mast cell, a critical effector cell in the intestinal response to a number of psychological, physical, and environmental stressors. Currently, we are investigating the role of mast cell corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) receptors the in modulation of the intestinal stress response. We are also investigating how early life environmental factors (e.g. stress, infection, and diet) influence the long-term function of the mast cell and its implications in intestinal disorders such as IBS and IBD.