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The Microbiota and Immuno-Endocrinology & Immuno-Metabolism

Expandable List



Research Foci

  • Investigating the interactions of enteroendocrine cells, microbiota, and immune system in intestinal inflammation
  • Understanding parasite, microbiota, and host interactions in relation to intestinal goblet cell biology, mucin production and host defense

Main Research Areas

Intestinal inflammation, Immunology, Enteroendocrine Cells, Goblet cells, Gut Microbiota, and Host Defense in Enteric Infection

Specific Areas

Inflammation and Infection in the gut are associated with activation of mucosal immune system and alteration in enteroendocrine cell function, gut microbiota, and goblet cell biology and mucin production. Major programmatic themes of current research program in Khan’s lab include:

  • Investigating the role of enteroendocrine cell and its major product serotonin in regulation of intestinal immune response, microbial composition, and inflammation
    • By utilizing experimental models of colitis, intestinal organoids, microbiota, and human samples (biopsy and blood) this program focuses to understand the role of enteroendocrine cell/ serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) signalling in pathogenesis of colitis with a view to develop new therapeutic strategies in inflammatory conditions in gut including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Understanding host-parasite-microbiota interactions with focus on intestinal goblet cell and mucins
    • By utilizing enteric nematode parasite infection model this program focuses on host-parasite-microbiota interactions, as a better means to understand the functionality of the gut epithelium specifically goblet cells.

Models & Methodologies

Models: DSS, DNBS & T cell transfer models of colitis (IBD); Trichuris muris parasite model of enteric infection, intestinal organoids, and human cell lines

Methodologies:  cell culture, immunohistochemistry, immuno-fluorescence, ELISA, multiplex immunoassay, real time PCR, western blotting. microbiota analysis, flow-cytometry etc.

Recent Selected Publications

Kwon YH, Banskota S, Wang H, Rossi L, Grondin JA, Syed SA, Yousefi Y, Schertzer JD, Morrison KM, Wade MG, Holloway AC, Surette MG, Steinberg GR, Khan WI. Chronic exposure to synthetic food colorant Allura Red AC promotes susceptibility to experimental colitis via intestinal serotonin in mice. Nature Communications. 2022 Dec 20;13(1):7617.

Jeyanathan M, Vaseghi-Shanjani M, Afkhami S, Grondin JA, Kang A, D’Agostino MR, Yao Y, Jain S, Zganiacz A, Kroezen Z, Shanmuganathan M, Singh R, Dvorkin-Gheva A, Britz-McKibbin P, Khan WI, Xing Z. Parenteral BCG vaccine induces lung-resident memory macrophages and trained immunity via the gut-lung axis. Nature Immunology  2022 Dec;23(12):1687-1702.

Haq S, Wang H, Grondin J, Banskota S, Marshall JK, Khan II, Chauhan U, Cote F, Kwon YH, Philpott D, Brumell JH, Surette M, Steinberg GR, Khan WI. Disruption of autophagy by increased 5-HT alters gut microbiota and enhances susceptibility to experimental colitis and Crohn’s disease. Science Advances 2021 Nov 5;7(45):eabi6442.



Jon Schertzer:

The SchertzerLab studies the role of the microbiota in immunometabolism. This research aims to understand how xenobiotics, diet and microbial stress promote or combat obesity, prediabetes, and diabetic complications. We aim to discover new aspects in the 2-way street between host glucose metabolism and bacteria (both commensal and pathogenic). Our lab is also aligned with the nutrition initiative that is aimed at integrating nutritional science, microbial metabolism, and the host, particularly during obesity and metabolic disease.