Gut Challenge

How we can understand and improve epithelial barrier function by preventing its porosity?

The epithelial barrier function of the digestive tract is critical to prevent many diseases such as obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and systemic disease. Understanding how we can improve this barrier by preventing porosity, provides significant opportunities to develop cures and prevent diseases. During the project, we will analyse epithelial barrier functions in patients and model organisms, and create artificial barrier mimicking systems to analyse and model porosity changes and test potential cures.

For example we will use fluorescent beads (shown in red and epithelial cells in green) to measure porosity and permeability of the mucus layer under different conditions.

Figure: using fluorescent beads (shown in red and epithelial cells in green) to measure porosity and permeability of the mucus layer under different conditions. Credit: Noortje IJssennagger