Gastrointestinal Infection and Inflammation

Gastrointestinal Infection and Inflammation Research Group

Research Group Head

h-pyloriUnder the direction of Associate Professor Richard Ferrero, research conducted in this laboratory is focused on understanding how the host immune system recognises and responds to invading micro-organisms. A key area of interest is the disease-causing bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, responsible for the development of peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancer in humans. The ultimate aim of the research is to develop novel strategies to prevent the development of stomach cancer, a disease representing the third leading cause of death due to cancer world-wide.

A hallmark of H. pylori infection is the chronic inflammation (gastritis) that precedes these severe diseases. The major research theme in the group focuses on understanding how and why H. pylori induces gastritis. A broader interest of the group is to use H. pylori and other infection models to address key questions relating to the mechanisms whereby pathogens engage with the innate immune system to cause inflammation in the host.

Research Projects:

  • The use of ‘next-gen’ sequencing to identify novel H. pylori factors involved in host-pathogen interactions
  • Understanding the role of cholesterol in H. pylori-mediated inflammation and disease
  • Characterisation of NOD-like receptor (NLR) family members involved in innate immune signalling to H. pylori
  • Investigation of the physiology of bacterial outer membrane vesicles and their role as mediators of host immune responses

The ultimate aim of these studies is to better understand the pathophysiology of the inflammatory processes that precede gastric cancer formation, a condition that causes millions of deaths worldwide each year.

 

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Research Group

Selected publications