Elena Verdu
Professor, Medicine

I have had a longstanding interest in microbial commensal influence on chronic inflammatory disorders, long before the topic gained center stage in gastroenterology. After completing my MD studies in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I began clinical research training on Helicobacter pylori infection and chronic gastritis at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. This was followed by a Ph.D. degree at the Institute of Microbiology and Gnotobiology of the Czech Academy of Science on the effect of commensal bacterial antigens in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. As a post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, I focused on beneficial (probiotic) bacteria and their effect on gut function and inflammation. As faculty at McMaster University, I developed a program to investigate host-microbial and dietary interactions in the gastrointestinal tract. In particular, I am interested in the role microbial factors play in modulating immune responses in the context of chronic intestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease. Mechanistically, I focus on commensal and opportunistic pathogen metabolism and proteolytic activity, with the long-term objective to develop therapies to prevent or treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
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