The Center for Nanomedicine engineers drug and gene delivery technologies that have significant implications for the prevention, treatment and cure of many major diseases facing the world today. Specifically, we are focusing on the eye, central nervous system, respiratory system, women's health, gastrointestinal system, cancer, and inflammation.
We are a unique translational nanotechnology effort located that brings together engineers, scientists and clinicians working under one roof on translation of novel drug and gene delivery technologies
Research in the Francis Giardiello Lab focuses on the study of cancer and cancer chemoprevention in the gastrointestinal tract. This has included the investigation of the genetic basis of familial colorectal cancer and the use of genetic testing in the hereditary forms of colorectal cancer. We have a continuing interest in the study of the genotypic-phenotypic correlations in polyposis syndromes, which include familial adenomatous polyposis, juvenile polyposis and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
The GI Biomarkers Laboratory studies gastrointestinal cancer and pre-cancer biogenesis and biomarkers. The lab is led by Dr. Stephen Meltzer, who is known for his research in the molecular pathobiology of gastrointestinal malignancy and premalignancy. Research in the lab has led to several groundbreaking genomic, epigenomic and bioinformatic studies of esophageal and colonic neoplasms, shifting the gastrointestinal research paradaigm toward genome-wide approaches.
Investigators in the IBD and Autoimmune Liver Diseases Laboratory conduct basic and translational research in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autoimmune liver diseases. One area of focus is discovering and developing biomarkers for diagnosing and prognosticating IBD and other autoimmune liver diseases (AILDs). We also are exploring the molecular pathogenesis of—and developing novel therapies for—IBD. In addition, we are working to understand the molecular reason why many IBD patients fail to respond to mainstay drug therapies—and to develop diagnostic assays that can predict non-responders before starting them on those therapies. These biomarker studies have led to our application for four U.S. and international patents.
Research in the Mark Donowitz Lab is primarily focused on the development of drug therapy for diarrheal disorders, intestinal salt absorption and the proteins involved including their regulation, and the use of human enteroids to understand intestinal physiology and pathophysiology. We study two gene families initially recognized by this laboratory: mammalian Na/H exchangers and the subgroup of PDZ domain containing proteins present in the brush border of epithelial cells called NHERF family. A major finding is that NHE3 exists simultaneously in different sized complexes in the brush border, which change separately as part of signal transduction initiated by mimics of the digestive process. Relevance to the human intestine is being pursued using mini-human intestine made from Lgr5+ stems cells made from intestinal biopsies and measuring function via two-photon microscopy.
The Zsuzsanna McMahan Lab conducts translational research that seeks to identify the novel antigens in scleroderma and to define the target tissue in this disease. We are conducting two active clinical research trials, including one that studies skin biopsy specimens as biomarkers of scleroderma and the response to mycophenolate mofetil (MMF or Cellcept). The other study is a gastrointestinal involvement registry that follows patients who are experiencing GERD, small bowel bacterial overgrowth, constipation, fecal incontinence and gastroparesis to see if there is improvement in symptoms after a change in treatment is implemented.