Dr. Bhatt has studied the interplay between persistent microorganisms and the host in a variety of physiologic contexts. As a graduate student, she discovered the mechanisms by which a persistent oncogenic herpesvirus induces cancer by reprogramming host cellular signaling and metabolism. During her postdoctoral training with Dr. Matthew Redinbo, she worked alongside structural and chemical biologists to uncover mechanisms by which the intestinal microbiota impacts the incidence and progression of cancer, and how microbial enzymes alter the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer compounds. In collaboration with Dr. Nancy Allbritton, she has developed tools to study host- microbe-drug interactions ex vivo using organotypic cell culture platforms. As a new Assistant Professor at UNC, she is combining her multidisciplinary training to uncover reciprocal interactions between the intestinal microbiota and pharmaceutical compounds, and their implications on host gastrointestinal health.
Relevance of Research to CGIBD Mission: Dr. Bhatt’s multidisciplinary research is directly in line with the CGIBD’s mission statement: it combines the diverse disciplines of chemical and structural biology to study how intestinal microbiota can alter the metabolism of various pharmaceutical compounds, and the resultant effects on the intestinal epithelium. By including gnotobiotic mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease, in addition to wild type mice, Dr. Bhatt is executing granular and mechanistic studies of host-microbiota interactions, and how they impact gastrointestinal health.
CGIBD Focus Area(s): Microbiome
Pilot and Feasibility Award 2019
Collaborators: Allbritton, Bultman, Magness, Redinbo