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Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Target discovery for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has traditionally focused on cells of hematopoietic and epithelial origin. More recently, inflammatory effector functions of stromal (mesenchymal) cells were discovered. In particular, our lab has shown these cells are exclusive targets of the cytokine Oncostatin M (OSM), high levels of OSM predicting a lack of response to anti-TNF therapy in IBD patients (West&Hegazy et al., Nature Medicine 2017).
As an Oxford-UCB prize fellow, I am currently elucidating whether stromal cells – derived from the inflamed tissue of treatment-refractory IBD patients – possess a long-term memory which promotes the production of inflammatory mediators.
Overall, my research focuses on the identification of stromal cell subtypes and related pathways that perpetuate chronic intestinal inflammation. Insights from these studies could deliver potential cellular or molecular targets for the rational design of alternative therapeutic and diagnostic modalities in IBD.
West NR. et al, (2017), Nature medicine, 23, 579 - 589