Our research on rotavirus and norovirus is hypothesis driven and translational. Currently, we investigate the cross-talk between enterochromaffin cells, enteric glia cells, enteric nerves and CNS during rotavirus and norovirus infections and how infection activates brain structures associated with the feeling of sickness. We also investigate human genetic factors associated with rotavirus and norovirus susceptibility, to explain why certain individuals get sick and not others when exposed.
Current projects at a glanceDoes the vagal nerve and/or enteric glial cells contribute to maintaining a tight intestinal epithelium during rotavirus infection?
We have previously shown that intestinal permeability remains unaffected during rotavirus infection in children and mice, which is in contrast with increased intestinal permeability during bacterial infections. Since intestinal permeability is partially regulated by the vagus nerve and neurotrophic factors released from enteric glial cells, we propose that vagus and/or enteric glial cells contribute to maintaining a tight intestinal epithelium during rotavirus infection. These studies may uncover how the gut epithelium remains intact during rotavirus infection in human and mice.