Mucus as a Diagnostic Tool for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Primary Researchers:

Katharina Ribbeck

Principal Investigator: Katharina Ribbeck, MIT

Project Summary:

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), including Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, are a set of chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions that affect 1.5 million individuals in North America. Inflammation and injury to the intestinal tract is normally prevented by the maintenance of a healthy mucus barrier, which houses the commensal microbiome, aids in nutrient uptake during digestion, and protects from infection by harmful bacteria. There is increasing evidence that dysregulation of the mucus barrier is strongly associated with the onset of both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, although the mechanistic details of this relationship are still unknown. In this project, we aim to develop techniques and concepts to analyze the mucus barrier in association with these diseases. This will aid in our understanding of disease progression, drive development of diagnostic tools, and even inspire targeted therapeutics.