The Wershil laboratory is interested in the mechanisms involved in allergic and neurogenic inflammation. The lab focuses on defining the role of mast cells in both acute and chronic inflammatory processes using mouse models, and molecular and in vitro approaches.
Another area of interest for the laboratory is the study of the pathogenesis of eosinophilic esophagitis, and developing new diagnostic and treatment modalities for this disease.
Current Research Projects
Potential Non-Invasive Biomarkers as a Surrogate to Repeated Histologic Evaluation to Assess Esophageal Inflammation
Upper endoscopy is the only method currently available to diagnose and monitor response to treatment for eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Therefore, patients are subjected to multiple invasive procedures with added morbidity and cost. The goal of this project is to identify a series of non-invasive biomarkers that can be used as surrogates for endoscopy to follow patients with EoE.
The Role of Mast Cells in Neurogenic Inflammation in the Gastrointestinal Tract
Mast cells have been thought to be involved in a broad spectrum of gastrointestinal (GI) conditions from inflammatory bowel diseases to irritable bowel syndrome. However, these conditions do not seem to involve classical mast cell activation through the IgE/antigen pathway seen in many allergic diseases. Mast cells in the GI tract have been shown to lie in close anatomical proximity to the abundant nervous innervation of the gut. This project is examining the participation of mast cells in gastrointestinal inflammation through an interaction with nerves and neurotransmitters.