Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic inflammatory disorders affecting the human gastrointestinal tract. IBD pathogenesis in genetically predisposed individuals results from loss of tolerance of the immune system towards the intestinal microbiome and its persistent antigenic stimuli. Recent studies have dissected key molecular aspects of human IBD, such as impaired host-microbiome interaction, novel pro-inflammatory immune cell populations and micro-environmental factors in the IBD pathogenesis. Nevertheless, the descriptive nature of many human studies and lack of representative mouse models still greatly limit mechanistic studies of key events at the molecular level, decipher their effects on IBD, and elucidate new and potent therapeutic IBD targets.
Our Weizmann-based multidisciplinary consortium tackles these problems by advanced clinical and basic science research strategies and technologies. Using innovative platforms, including the transfer of personalized components from human IBD patients into animal models, bio-imaging center, personalized medicine infrastructure and germ free facility, we study effects of genetic host deficiencies and host/microbial interactions on IBD development and progression.
Collectively, the Weizmann Crohn & Colitis focus group aims at the characterization of IBD biological and signaling pathways and the identification of novel personalized therapeutic IBD targets.