Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) affects millions of children and adults. IBD is caused by damage to intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), the “lining” of the intestine. We want understand how specific genes and cell types drive IBD. Our ultimate goal is to identify less toxic, patient-tailored strategies for treating IBD.


We are growing intestinal organoids from patients with and without IBD. Intestinal organoids are 3-dimensional cultures of primary intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) that we can grow in the lab. These organoids, derived directly from patients, provide a truly unique opportunity for precision medicine. We are developing a type of "living biobank" and testing how cells from different patients respond to a variety of inflammatory stimuli.


Gastroenterologists currently use a “trial-and-error” approach in treating IBD. In contrast, precision medicine would identify the best treatment for each patient up front. Using powerful new "multi-omics" approaches, we are studying the genes and cells in the blood and intestine of patients with and without IBD. These large datasets will help identify biomarkers that predict response to specific medications.


We have developed a mouse model that provides a unique opportunity to study both TNF-dependent and TNF-independent IEC death.