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Listen to your gut: Deciphering the role of immune cells in inflammatory gut disorders

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Listen to your gut: Deciphering the role of immune cells in inflammatory gut disorders

03 June 2021

12:00 p.m. ET

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Millions of adults live with inflammatory disorders affecting the gut, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—which includes Crohn’s Disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis—and ileitis, or inflammation of the ileum, which includes Crohn’s ileitis and CD-like ileitis. These diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, where an impaired mucosal barrier, dysbiosis, and disrupted communication between the innate immune system and commensal microflora can lead to painful symptoms. They are affected by environmental conditions, such as the balance of animal and plant protein sources in the patient’s diet, and by genetic factors, including polymorphisms in genes such as NOD2 and ATG16L1, which are involved in innate immunity, autophagy, and phagocytosis. The intersection of gut cells, immune cells, and the microbiota is clearly a critical communication axis and the junction through which errant signaling, including interleukins like IL-1, can lead to dysfunction and disease. The gut-associated lymphoid tissue that is spread throughout the intestine comprises a significant portion of the body’s immune system, and research shows that the human gut holds a large quantity of immune cells, including CD8+ T cells that can contribute to the tissue damage experienced in IBD. In this webinar, the speakers will discuss inflammatory disorders in which altered innate immune cell function leads to diseases such as CD-like ileitis and IBD, and potential ways to mitigate the mechanisms that drive this inflammation.

During the webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn how investigation of the gut cell–immune cell–microbiota axis can inform the way inflammatory gut diseases are understood and treated
  • Discover the combination of genetic and environmental factors that lead to inflammatory gut diseases
  • Explore how new techniques can identify and target inflammatory signaling in gastrointestinal immune cells
  • Be able to ask questions during the live broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Please note that this webinar was originally scheduled for 27 April 2021 and has been moved due to unforeseen schedule conflicts.

Speaker bios

Fabio Cominelli, M.D., Ph.D.

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

Dr. Cominelli is professor of medicine and pathology, chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Disease, and director of the Digestive Health Research Institute at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He is also chief scientific officer of the Digestive Health Institute at University Hospitals of Cleveland and inaugural awardee of the Hermann Menges, Jr. Chair in Internal Medicine as well as associate dean for program development. He has over 30 years of experience and continuous NIH funding in cytokine biology and has made many seminal discoveries in this field. His group was the first to report that specific blockade of a single proinflammatory cytokine (interleukin-1) was effective in reducing disease severity in an animal model of experimentally induced colitis, and that an imbalance between intestinal pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines represents a pathogenic mechanism of autoinflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These and other studies have formed the foundation for clinical trials using anticytokine therapy and the administration of anti-inflammatory cytokines in patients with autoinflammatory diseases.  More recently, Dr. Cominelli has developed strong expertise in nutrition and gut microbiome research by investigating the composition and function of the gut microbiome in humans and murine models of IBD. He has published extensively and is an associate editor and editorial board member for several journals in his field.

Subra Kugathasan, M.D.

Emory University
Atlanta, GA

Dr. Kugathasan is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Human Genetics at Emory University School of Medicine. He also serves as scientific director of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease program and codirector of the Children’s Center for Immunity and Applied Genomics. He earned his M.D. from the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka and completed his residency at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He then pursued a fellowship at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Kugathasan’s research goal is to further extend novel genomic discoveries in inflammatory bowel disease into therapeutic targets. In addition, he has been investigating the heterogeneity of immunogenetic mechanisms that underlie every individual with inflammatory bowel disease and how these findings can help in developing precision medical approaches.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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