ChE Associate Professor Rebecca Carrier Awarded $5M NIH Bioengineering Research Partnership Grant
ChE Associate Professor Rebecca Carrier (PI) and Assistant Professor Abigail Koppes (Co-I) were awarded a $5M NIH Bioengineering Research Partnership grant entitled “GuMI: New In Vitro Platforms to Parse the Human Gut Epithelial-Microbiome-Immune Axis.”
This is a collaborative project between Northeastern University, MIT, and Boston Children’s Hospital, with Linda Griffith of MIT Bioengineering as Co-PI. Within the scope of this program, Dr. Carrier and the interdisciplinary project team will develop a novel tool for studying gut microbiome impact on human health: an in vitro human model of gut epithelium-microbiome-immune homeostasis. While the gut microbiome is known to have tremendous impact on human health, these effects are complex and generally not well understood, limiting translation of observed microbiome impact to effective therapies. There is currently no in vitro model of human gut epithelium-microbiome-immune homeostasis, and most studies of these effects are thus currently carried out in gnotobiotic rodent models.
These studies have begun to reveal the tremendous impact and molecular mechanisms of the microbiome in health and disease. However, a human in vitro system capturing key gut-microbiome-immune interactions will fill a crucial need in this emerging field, offering distinct advantages including human cells, potential for high throughput, facile interrogation through microscopic techniques and liquid medium sampling, controlled and defined environment, and minimal ethical concerns. The approach combines development of hardware components, culture techniques, model microbial communities, novel biomaterials, and computational modeling frameworks.