Students working on a double blind study of testing for a drug for treatment of colitis.


Dr. Najma Javed (third from left) with graduate and undergraduate students in the Gastrointestinal Neuroimmune Laboratory.

Dr. Javed helping students with the experimental procedure.

This research laboratory is directed by Dr. Najma H. Javed as the principle investigator. It focuses on understanding the gastrointestinal neuroimmune mechanisms that have clinical significance and therapeutic applicability to human gastrointestinal disorders and diseases.

Projects involve investigations at multiple levels by using human cancer cell-line models and animal models of human gastrointestinal disorders that involve regulation and alteration of motility and secretory functions. The gastrointestinal tract is unique in the sense that it is the largest immune organ in the body with its own built-in nervous system as well as having its own endocrine cells.

Prior research projects and the results of work done in this laboratory have provided the evidence that:
1. There is a close association of immune cells, epithelial cells and neurons in the gut wall;
2. there is a functional interaction between the immune cytokines, mast cell mediators and neurotransmitters secreted from these cells;
3. there are interconnected neuro-secretory reflex pathways that utilize these interactions involved in food antigen uptake and processing resulting in "intestinal anaphylaxis" or food allergy with gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain etc.;
4. there are neuroimmune interactions in the gut that may lead to tolerance called "oral tolerance" that can be used as a therapeutic approach to suppress T cell-mediated systemic autoimmune disorders;
5. the gut neuroimmune interactions play an important role in inflammatory bowel diseases (as colitis) in individuals of various age groups and can vary based on gender differences.

This gastrointestinal neuroimmune laboratory has the three-fold mission of: Teaching, Research and Service and thus provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue studies in basic and medical sciences, nursing and other health related fields.

This laboratory also has collaborative ties with the gastrointestinal laboratory of Dr. Helen Cooke and Dr. Fevus Christofi at the Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio.

For further information, contact Dr. Najma Javed