We begin at the patient level with enrollment in the GI Tissue Repository in association with the Garman Lab, allowing collection of critically important patient samples during endoscopic procedures to further research. Duke GI now has strong connections with basic science labs at Duke that study the underlying biology of inflammatory bowel disease.
The Ciofani Lab uses genomic approaches to understand the underlying genetics of IBD from an immunology perspective. The Hammer Lab seeks to understand the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease, and understand interactions between host and the microbiome through the study of immune cells such as dendritic cells. The Rawls Lab uses genomic approaches in animal models to understand the transcriptional regulatory pathways utilized by the intestinal epithelium to mediate host responses to the microbiome. Using this approach, we have identified mechanisms of transcriptional and chromatin regulation that have been conserved during vertebrate evolution and also contribute to modern human diseases such as the inflammatory bowel diseases, obesity, and diabetes. The Bagnat Lab studies in vivo factors that control TNF expression in the epithelium and how epigenetic regulation can trigger IBD onset in via de-repression of TNF. The Bagnat lab uses the zebrafish system to define transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms regulating TNF expression in the intestine.