Deciphering host microbial interactions in the intestine in health and disease


  • Prof Fiona Powrie

    University of Oxford

Project summary

Trillions of bacteria live in our intestines and they promote healthy immune function in the gut. The immune system, in turn, keeps the bacteria in check. 

We will study the beneficial interactions between bacteria and immune cells in the gut and how things go wrong in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic debilitating disease of the gastrointestinal tract. By measuring bacterial DNA and proteins in healthy and diseased tissue, we will be able to pinpoint the types of bacteria and their secreted products that are associated with inflammation. Using this information together with data already generated in the lab, we will examine precisely how bacteria and the molecules they produce act on different types of immune cell in the gut to boost protective immunity or elicit damaging inflammation. 

Our findings will uncover new targets for interventions that promote health or prevent or treat inflammatory or infectious disease.