Elena Verdú, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Medicine

Canada Research Chair in Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition

Director of the Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit


Lab web site:

Research Areas

I am interested in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory disorders such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. I investigate dietary-bacterial interactions and how this impacts the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal disease, with the view to develop novel therapeutic strategies for these disorders.


The main focus of research is to study host-microbial and dietary interactions and their role in the pathophysiology of chronic gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases. Work in my lab deals with the way commensal bacteria and food components interact with host tissues to enhance or prevent susceptibility to inflammation. We use a variety of molecular, mouse humanized models and clinical translational approaches to determine whether and how gluten-induced immunopathology is modulated by the small intestinal microbiota. Another important research interest investigates the role of the intestinal microbiota in the induction of mucosal barrier dysfunction and immune responses in the host that are of relevance in inflammatory bowel disease development. As director of the Axenic Gnotobiotic Facility at McMaster, we rederive transgenic mouse strains of interest to perform gnotobiotic colonizations using clinical isolates. The long term goal is to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease.

  1. Caminero, A, McCarville, JL, Galipeau, HJ, Deraison, C, Bernier, SP, Constante, M et al.. Duodenal bacterial proteolytic activity determines sensitivity to dietary antigen through protease-activated receptor-2. Nat Commun. 2019;10 (1):1198. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09037-9. PubMed PMID:30867416 .
  2. Pinto-Sanchez, MI, Verdu, EF. Non-celiac gluten or wheat sensitivity: It's complicated!. Neurogastroenterol. Motil. 2018;30 (8):e13392. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13392. PubMed PMID:30854780 .
  3. Caminero, A, McCarville, JL, Zevallos, VF, Pigrau, M, Yu, XB, Jury, J et al.. Lactobacilli Degrade Wheat Amylase Trypsin Inhibitors to Reduce Intestinal Dysfunction Induced by Immunogenic Wheat Proteins. Gastroenterology. 2019; :. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.02.028. PubMed PMID:30802444 .
  4. Lindfors, K, Ciacci, C, Kurppa, K, Lundin, KEA, Makharia, GK, Mearin, ML et al.. Coeliac disease. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2019;5 (1):3. doi: 10.1038/s41572-018-0054-z. PubMed PMID:30631077 .
  5. Rahmani, S, Breyner, NM, Su, HM, Verdu, EF, Didar, TF. Intestinal organoids: A new paradigm for engineering intestinal epithelium in vitro. Biomaterials. 2019;194 :195-214. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2018.12.006. PubMed PMID:30612006 .
  6. Ivarsson, ME, Durantie, E, Huberli, C, Huwiler, S, Hegde, C, Friedman, J et al.. Small-Molecule Allosteric Triggers of Clostridium difficile Toxin B Auto-proteolysis as a Therapeutic Strategy. Cell Chem Biol. 2019;26 (1):17-26.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.10.002. PubMed PMID:30482680 .
  7. Hayes, CL, Dong, J, Galipeau, HJ, Jury, J, McCarville, J, Huang, X et al.. Commensal microbiota induces colonic barrier structure and functions that contribute to homeostasis. Sci Rep. 2018;8 (1):14184. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32366-6. PubMed PMID:30242285 PubMed Central PMC6155058.
  8. Caminero, A, Meisel, M, Jabri, B, Verdu, EF. Mechanisms by which gut microorganisms influence food sensitivities. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019;16 (1):7-18. doi: 10.1038/s41575-018-0064-z. PubMed PMID:30214038 .
  9. Verdu, EF, Danska, JS. Common ground: shared risk factors for type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Nat. Immunol. 2018;19 (7):685-695. doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0130-2. PubMed PMID:29925984 .
  10. Libertucci, J, Dutta, U, Kaur, S, Jury, J, Rossi, L, Fontes, ME et al.. Inflammation-related differences in mucosa-associated microbiota and intestinal barrier function in colonic Crohn's disease. Am. J. Physiol. Gastrointest. Liver Physiol. 2018;315 (3):G420-G431. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00411.2017. PubMed PMID:29848021 .
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