Ph.D.: 1984, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Postdoctoral: University of California, San Francisco
The focus of my research is investigation of pathobiology of cystic fibrosis (CF) in the gastrointestinal (GI) system.
CF is one of the most common life-shortening genetic diseases in Caucasians and is caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. CFTR is a cAMP-regulated chloride channel expressed in many epithelial cells. In the absence of functional CFTR, exocrine secretions are poorly-hydrated and viscous mucus covers affected epithelial surfaces. In the GI system accumulation of mucus can lead to obstruction of the lumen. Accumulated mucus also provides a niche for abnormal bacterial colonization and overgrowth. In the healthy gut, gastrointestinal motility is an important control for bacterial load, especially in the proximal small intestine. GI motility has been reported to be impaired in about ½ of CF patients, and this may contribute to bacterial overgrowth. These effects of CF interfere with proper nutrition, are detrimental to overall health, and lower the quality of life in CF patients.
Using the Cftr knockout mouse (Cftr tm1UNC) model of CF we are investigating the inter-related roles of excessive mucus, abnormal bacterial growth, and impaired motility in the pathophysiology of CF in the intestine. Pharmacological and dietary approaches are being used to determine the mechanisms of intestinal dysfunction in CF. Recent work from our lab shows significant changes in expression of genes whose products control prostaglanind levels, and these changes are implicated in the CF pathophysiology. The long term goal is to provide new therapeutic interventions to improve intestinal function in CF. This work includes in vivo and in vitro studies; morphological and immunocytochemical techniques; and measurement of mRNA and protein levels for various inflammatory markers and signaling molecules.
Current Postdoctoral Fellows
Former trainees (Postdoc & Graduate Students)
Robert C. De Lisle, PhD
Mail Stop 3038
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160
F: (913) 588-2710