About our research group/lab
Our group is based on a solid, very direct link between the research lab and the clinical pediatric gastroenterology department. Performed together with Prof. J.C. Escher’s group, our research has a bidirectional approach: key clinical questions concerning the pathology, diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and celiac disease are translated to an experimental setting; and vice versa, fundamental data are implemented in patient diagnostics and new treatment strategies.
Our research is focused (a) on identifying immune regulatory processes that are pivotal to intestinal homeostasis; and (b) understanding the pathogenesis of intestinal diseases driven by loss of homeostasis, such as celiac disease and IBD.
Research focus areas
By developing multiple murine models, we found that functional mucosal regulatory T-cells differentiate in mucosa draining lymphoid tissue in the presence of specific mucosal factors. In our humanized mouse model of gluten tolerance we discovered that tolerance to gluten is mediated by IL-10 secreting regulatory T-cells. This finding opens new avenues for celiac disease research. Our translational IBD work focuses on dissecting inflammatory pathways that subclassify IBD patients and yield parameters to characterize the disease subtype. Analysis of infants with genetic deficiencies uncovers pathways that are pivotal to intestinal tolerance and identifies patterns of inflammation that evolve from a particular defect.