The forecast for March 14, 2017 warned of a late-season nor’easter, but pediatric gastroenterologist Victoria Martin and her undergraduate student Hannah Seay had to hit the roads. Their mission: transporting a giant Styrofoam cooler of frozen stool samples from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) across the Charles River, so they could reach the Broad Institute before they thawed.
Wayne Shreffler is the director of the Food Allergy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, the division chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, a principal investigator at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, an associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and a member of FASI’s scientific steering committee.
What does your lab study?
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) afflicts 1.6 million people in the United States, with 70,000 new cases of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis diagnosed each year. There is currently no cure for these painful disorders. But thanks to the generous support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Broad Institute is trying to change that.
Food allergies threaten the lives of millions of children and adults in the United States, and the prevalence of these dangerous reactions to everyday foods appears to be growing. Yet, scientists understand very little about the basic biology of what provokes the body to respond to certain foods in this way.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), are chronic, debilitating illnesses. To date, scientists have uncovered more than 150 common genetic variants associated with the disease. But they still lack a complete picture of how and why IBD develops.