Center for Mucosal Biology Research
Simeon Goldblum, MD
Director for Basic Science Research, Professor of Medicine and Pathology
Jeffrey Hasday, MD
Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Director for Clinical & Translational Research, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Stefanie Vogel, PhD
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology and Medicine
Terez Shea-Donohue, PhD
Professor of Medicine and Physiology
The MBRC is comprised of 33 University of Maryland faculty members, plus adjunct members in associated academic and biotechnology centers. Overall direction of the MBRC is the primary responsibility of its Director, assisted by the Associate-Directors, and Steering Committee members.
An innovative partnership "bridging science and life". The Mucosal Biology Research Center (MBRC), located at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore MD, is a partnership between leading scientists and physicians working at the cutting edge of mucosal biology research. Mucosal biology research investigates diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and lung, the two major organs of the body that possess a protective mucosal barrier that is essential for health.
The mission of the MBRC is to serve as a unique multidisciplinary research center focused on using "cutting edge" tools to understand the molecular basis for human diseases of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.
The MBRC is also designed to establish joint ventures with innovative biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in areas of translational research. Translational research is the process by which discoveries made in the laboratory are developed into novel drug candidates, new models of human disease, pioneering therapies, and drug delivery systems that can benefit patients with a various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and lung. A partial list of these diseases includes: inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, bacterial sepsis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, autoimmunity, and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
The intellectual and physical resources of the MBRC are largely centered in more than 7000 square feet of laboratory and office space located in the Health Sciences Facility II building, opened on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus in 2003. This central facility houses five of the core laboratories that comprise the MBRC. This new building is fully outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, and utilizes numerous high-technology core services on the Baltimore campus. Additional laboratories, under the direction of 28 additional MBRC faculty members, are also located nearby on campus.
The mucosa is a dynamic, multilayered tissue barrier that separates the internal host milieu from the external environment and all the microorganisms that reside there. The MBRC has a wide range of expertise that can focus on the epithelial, neuronal, and endothelial components as well as the immune cells that comprise the mucosal barrier. The expertise with multiple experimental systems enables the MBRC to apply an interdisciplinary approach to solve problems at the mucosal barrier. Some of the most important basic research interests of the MBRC include:
- Characterization of novel molecules (e.g. ZOT, zonulin) that regulate the intercellular tight junctions within the gut epithelium that have now been linked to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases including diabetes mellitus.
- Studies on the regulation of the tyrosine phosphorylation-responsive, pulmonary vascular endothelial paracellular pathway through which cells, macromolecules, and fluid move.
- Studies on the control of fever and how changes in core temperature exert effects on key components of the pulmonary response to acute injury.
- Defining components of the innate immune response to bacterial and viral lung infections. This work focuses on the inflammatory response initiated by Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, with special emphasis on the genetic susceptibility of individuals to inflammatory diseases initiated or exacerbated by TLR agonists.
- Research on the interactions between immune and non-immune cells in the regulation of the host cytokine response to intestinal parasites and other pro-inflammatory pathologies including inflammatory bowel disease.
The MBRC supports active translational research programs that extend our basic research in gastrointestinal, pulmonary and systemic diseases into the clinical arena. These programs include:
- University of Maryland Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program, a multi-disciplinary practice with specialists in gastroenterology, general surgery, radiology and support services dedicated to accurately diagnosing and managing IBD and increasing patients' quality of life and conducting research and clinical trials to improve the treatment and care of IBD patients;
- Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis Study Group, which studies the mechanisms and treatment of interstitial lung diseases;
- Combined Critical Care Clinical Research Consortium, which coordinates research in the 140 critical care beds at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the Baltimore Veterans Administration Hospital, and the world-renowned R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center;
- COPD Clnical Network, which performs multicenter clinical trials on various aspects of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease pathogenesis and treatment;
- ARDSNet, a network that performs multicenter clinical trials on ARDS, including the paradigm-shifting study on low tidal volume ventilation in patients with ARDS;
- University of Maryland Airway Research Center, which designs and tests therapeutic inhaled delivery devices for clinical trials of treatment for asthma and COPD;
- University of Maryland Genomics Core Facility, which supports the genetic analysis of patients with gastrointestinal and pulmonary diseases using approaches that target candidate genes as well as those that use a genome-wide approach;
- University of Maryland General Clinical Research Center, which offers nursing and ancillary services for inpatients and outpatients, as well as core services in biostatistics, bioinformatics, and nutrition.
The MBRC is affiliated with several other research centers and biotechnology companies in Maryland. These include the Center for Vaccine Development, the Greenebaum Cancer Center, the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center, the Institute for Human Virology, GCRC, Tap Pharmaceuticals and Alba Therapeutics Corporation.