Comparative Mucosal Biology Group

The Comparative Mucosal Biology Group is focused on understanding the role mucosal surfaces play in promoting and maintaining health. This research effort has been divided into two main components. Research projects focused on understanding the normal functional properties of epithelial cells, how these cells communicate their status to the body, and how changes in their status affect the cells in other organ systems. The other primary focus is to understand how the introduction of infectious agents change how these tissues behave and what that means for the the host.

Resistance to Infectious Diseases
How the innate immune system recognizes and responds to infection has a profound affect on the adaptive immune response and ultimately the fate of the host. Understanding how stimulation of the innate immune system leads to different clinical outcomes is critical to understanding the genetic basis of disease resistance.  Our laboratory is currently engaged in several projects investigating the molecular and biochemical signals which trigger the innate immune system, and the countermeasures employed by pathogens to avoid detection.

Nutritional Immunology and Physiology

Our research program seeks to expand our understanding of feed and food additives, such as direct-fed-microbials and probiotics, on  innate and systemic immune functions. Of special interest are the energetic costs of immune function on whole-body and tissue energy expenditures in health and diseased states as well as during changes in gastrointestinal commensal bacterial population shifts. . In addition, we are investigating mechanisms of communication between autocthonous and allocthonous gastrointestinal bacterial populations and host animal tissues. 

We are currently emphasizing the study of neuro/endocrine communication axes between these bacteria and tissues that modulate immune challenges  as well as broad metabolic responses, such as growth, food intake and tissue lipid deposition and energy expenditures. Future research will include the examination of specific chemo-therapeutic  pharmaceuticsals and compounds of plant origin on these processes.

Group Publications
Qiu, R.,  J. Croom, R. A. Ali, C. Ashwell, H. M. Hassan, C. C. Chiang, and M. D. Koci. Direct fed microbial supplementation repartitions host energy to the immune system. J. of Anim. Sci. (in press 2012)

Chichlowski, M., J. Croom , B.W. McBride, G.B. Havenstein and M.D. Koci. 2007. Metabolic and physiological impact of probiotics or direct-fed-microbials on poultry: A brief review of current knowledge. Int. J. of Poult. Sci.  6 (10): 694

Chichlowski, M., J. Croom, B. W. McBride, L. Daniel, G. Davis and M. D. Koci.  2007. Direct-ded microbial PrimaLac and Salinomycin modulate whole-body and intestinal oxygen consumption and intestinal mucosal cytokine production in the broiler chick. Poult Sci. 86:1100

Chichlowski, M.,  W. J. Croom, F. W. Edens, B. W. McBride, R. Qiu, C. C. Chiang, L. R. Daniel, G. B. Havenstein and M. D. Koci. 2007. Microarchitecture and spatial relationship between bacteria and iIeal, cecal, and colonic epithelium in chicks fed a direct-fed Microbial, PrimaLac, and Salinomycin. Poult  Sci. 86:112

Associate  Professor, Viral Immunology
Warren J. Croom, Jr. 
Professor, Nutrtional Physiology and Biochemistry
Rizwana Ali
Research Specialist
Tamer Helmy
Anne Ballou
PhD Student

Animal Science

Grad School
Undergrad Research

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