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Research Labs

Learn more about the lab work within our division.

 Richard Green Lab

The Green Lab investigates the genetics and molecular biology of cholestatic liver diseases and fatty liver disorders. The major current focus is on the role of ER Stress and the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in the pathogenesis of these hepatic diseases.

Dr. Green’s laboratory investigates the mechanisms of cholestatic liver injury and the molecular regulation of hepatocellular transport. Current studies are investigating the role of the UPR in the pathogenesis and regulation of hepatic organic anion transport and other liver-specific metabolic functions. We employ genetically modified mice and other in vivo and in vitro models of bile salt liver injury in order to better define the relevant pathways of liver injury and repair; and to identify proteins and genes in these pathways that may serve as therapeutic targets for cholestatic liver disorders.

The laboratory also investigates the mechanisms of liver injury in fatty liver disorders and the molecular regulation of hepatic metabolic pathways. The current focus of these studies includes investigations on the role of the UPR in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and progressive fatty liver disease. We employ several genetically modified mice and other in vivo and in vitro models of fatty liver injury and lipotoxicity. Additional studies include the application of high-throughput techniques and murine Quantitative Trait Locus (QTL) analysis in order to identify novel regulators of the UPR in these disease models.  

Publications

See Dr. Green's publications in PubMed.

For more information, please see Dr. Green's faculty profile.

Contact

Contact Dr. Green at 312-503-1812 or the Green Lab at 312-503-0089

 Ann Henkel Lab

The Henkel lab studies hepatic lipid metabolism and mechanisms of liver injury related to fatty liver disease.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly becoming a major public health crisis. Hepatic steatosis is currently estimated to affect up to 30% of the US population and the prevalence continues to rise. Currently there is no definitive pharmacologic therapy to prevent or treat NAFLD which is due to the fact that the pathogenesis of this disease is incompletely understood.

The first major area of investigation in our lab is to determine the role of endoplasmic reticulum stress and the ensuing unfolded protein response (UPR) in promoting hepatic lipid accumulation and injury. We use mouse and cell culture models of UPR dysfunction to determine how the balance between pro-survival and pro-apoptotic elements of the UPR mediate the progression of liver disease.

The other major area of investigation is to determine the role of plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) in the pathogenesis of fatty liver disease.  Using genetic and pharmacologic mouse models of PAI-1 depletion we have identified PAI-1 as a potential novel target for pharmacotherapy to treat NAFLD.

Publications

View lab publications via PubMed.

For more information, visit the faculty profile page of Anne Henkel, MD.

Contact Us

Contact Dr. Henkel at 312-503-3418 or the Henkel Lab at 312-503-3580

Lab Staff

Shantel Olivares
Research Assoicate
312-503-3580

 John Pandolfino Lab

The Pandolfino Lab investigates all aspects of esophageal dysfunction.  Primary foci include pathophysiological mechanisms of symptom generation in dysphagia as well as symptom perception in patients with GERD symptoms.   

Dr. Pandolfino’s research projects span the breadth of esophageal disease.  He is the PI of two NIH-funded research projects directed at understanding the mechanisms underlying symptoms in dysphagia and GERD.   The first of these major projects focuses on the mechanics of esophageal function and how they contribute to the generation of symptoms of dysphagia.  Technologies such as High-Resolution Impedance Manometry (HRIM) and Functional Luminal Impedance Planimetry (FLIP) are used extensively to investigate aspects of esophageal dysfunction that contribute to the symptoms of dysphagia and odynophagia.

In addition, Dr. Pandolfino, along with Dr. Laurie Keefer, lead a team of research staff in a second NIH-funded project directed at the elucidation of symptom persistence in patients whose symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux fail to resolve despite medical therapy proven to reduce acid exposure in the esophagus.  This project utilizes pH-metry data along with a battery of psychological questionnaires to investigate the role of Esophageal Hypervigilance in the perception of symptoms.  Hypervigilance is measured by is measured by a single Body Hypervigilance and Awareness Scale and is highly predictive of symptom reporting.  This patient behavior develops though operant conditioning whereby an individual with a history of esophageal symptoms becomes hypervigilant around early cue detection of future esophageal discomfort.

Additional projects in the lab again utilize both physiological testing and questionnaire-based research methodologies to better understand the generation of symptoms in the esophagus. 

Publications

View lab publications via PubMed.

For more information, visit the faculty profile page of John E. Pandolfino, MD.

Contact Us

Contact the Pandolfino Lab at 312-695-2821

 Marie-Pier Tetreault Lab

The Tetreault Lab uses novel mouse models and three-dimensional organotypic culture to delineate the reciprocal contributions of the epithelium and the microenvironment to inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. 

Our research program focuses on diseases of the esophagus, which are among the most common ailments in the United States and throughout the world, resulting in significant morbidity, mortality and healthcare expenditures. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying esophageal disease pathogenesis is crucial and will lead to considerable improvements in the diagnosis and the treatment of esophageal diseases. Although alterations of the microenvironment have been described in esophageal diseases, such as esophageal cancer and esophagitis, our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that mediate changes in the microenvironment and that regulate epithelial-stromal interactions in the context of esophageal diseases is still very limited.

Our research program focuses on two key inflammatory pathways: the IKKβ/NFκB and STAT3 pathways. We employ novel in vitro and in vivo models and state-of-the-art methodology to define key factors regulating epithelial-epithelial and epithelial-stromal signaling in the esophagus. More specifically, our goal is to better understand:

  1. How epithelial IKKb regulates the balance between angiogenic and angiostatic factors and how it affects the stromal microvasculature
  2. How epithelial IKKb contributes to the phenotypic heterogeneity of stromal fibroblasts
  3. How epithelial IKKb controls the recruitment of immune cells
  4. The complex interplay existing between IKKb and STAT3 signaling pathways

We expect that these investigations will uncover novel diagnostic and therapeutic targets for esophageal diseases.

Publications

View lab publications via PubMed.

For more information, visit the faculty profile page of Marie-Pier Tetreault, PhD.

Contact Us

Email Dr. Tetreault

Contact the Tetreault Lab at 312-503-1915