Elena Verdú, MD, PhD
Division of Gastroenterology
Department of Medicine
Director, Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit
1200 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 3Z5
Telephone: (905) 525-9140 Ext. 20051
Fax: (905) 522-3454
MD, University of Buenos Aires
Doctoral MD thesis, University of Lausanne
PhD (Microbiology and Immunology) Czech Academy of Sciences
Canada Research Chair in Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition
About 40 per cent of most populations have a genetic predisposition to celiac disease, but only one per cent develop the autoimmune condition when exposed to dietary gluten, and this could be influenced by the type of bacteria present in the gut. Research performed in our lab discovered that opportunistic pathogens and commensal bacteria that colonize the small intestine are capable of degrading dietary gluten differentially, increasing or decreasing the immunogenicity of gluten peptides. Our lab also investigates the role of microbial colonization in intestinal barrier homeostasis and gut proteolytic/ anti-proteolytic balance. These are key mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of IBD.
The main focus of research is to study the role of host-microbial and dietary interactions that may affect susceptibility to intestinal diseases such as celiac disease and IBD. Research tools include gnotobiotic mouse models of colonization using bacteria isolated from patients’ samples. Sequencing, isolation and metabolic activity of intestinal bacteria are investigated through collaboration with the Sequencing Facility at the Farncombe Institute and the Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Department at McMaster. Collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology enables translational clinical studies in patient cohorts.
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