Jeannette Messer, DVM, PhD
Lerner Research Institute,
9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
The Messer Lab studies the role of gut microbes in chronic inflammatory diseases. Our focus is on identifying disease-causing changes in microbial behavior across the gut microbial community. In particular, we study how virulence is activated in normally commensal gut bacteria and how that virulence contributes to inflammatory bowel diseases, metabolic diseases, and cancers. We have recently discovered a novel mechanism of gut antibacterial defense that specifically targets bacteria expressing virulence, inactivates virulence mechanisms, and turns off expression of that virulence. More importantly, this antibacterial defense system is compromised in active inflammatory bowel diseases. We are now working to exploit this innate immune mechanism to identify microbes and microbial behaviors that contribute to damage during inflammatory bowel diseases and develop strategies to target these bacteria and their disease-causing behavior therapeutically.