School of Medicine
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Michael R. Howitt
Assistant Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly InterestsOur lab is broadly interested in how intestinal microbes shape our immune system to promote both health and disease. Recently we discovered that a type of intestinal epithelial cell, called tuft cells, act as sentinels stationed along the lining of the gut. Tuft cells respond to microbes, including parasites, to initiate type 2 immunity, remodel the epithelium, and alter gut physiology. Surprisingly, these changes to the intestine rely on the same chemosensory pathway found in oral taste cells. Currently, we aim to 1) elucidate the role of specific tuft cell receptors in microbial detection. 2) To understand how protozoa and bacteria within the microbiota impact host immunity. 3) Discover how tuft cells modulate surrounding cells and tissue.
Chris C.S. Hsiung
BioChris Hsiung, M.D., Ph.D., is a molecular biologist and laboratory medicine physician developing scalable experimental methods for exploring combinatorial genetics and epigenetics.