Vereecke team - Host-Microbiota Interaction lab (HMI)

Research Field: Role of intestinal microbiota in inflammatory pathologies

Team leader: Prof. Dr. Lars Vereecke

Tel: +32 9 33 264 04

Research topic

The ‘Host-Microbiota Interaction’ lab (HMI) studies host-microbe interactions during the development of various immune disorders and colorectal cancer, using in-house developed transgenic mouse models and germ-free mouse technology. We have a historic interest in inflammatory diseases, and are using TNF overexpressing and A20 conditional knockout mouse lines. In addition, we have great interest in microbiota-driven colorectal cancer (CRC) development, using transgenic microbiota-dependent CRC mouse models. We are investigation both tumor promoting ‘onco-bacteria’ as well as beneficial bacteria during innovative anti-cancer therapies. We also study intestinal goblet-cell biology using unique transgenic approaches. The HMI-lab also established the first Belgian germ-free and gnotobiotic mouse facility a key technology platform for functional microbiota research. Our Facility can rederive transgenic disease models in germ-free conditions, in order to validate microbiota-dependency of various disease mechanisms, and study disease development in reductionistic gnotobiotic settings. Prof. Vereecke also coordinates the ‘Ghent Gut Inflammation Group’, a research consortium around intestinal inflammation at Ghent University.

Areas of expertise

  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Intestinal Mucosal Immunology
  • Goblet cell biology
  • Gut-Joint axis
  • Germfree and Gnotobiotic mouse technology

Technology transfer potential

  • Disease modeling using transgenic mouse lines (IBD, CRC, SpA,…)
  • Identification of microbiota-driven disease mechanisms
  • Therapy validation, immune or microbiota based, in representative mouse models

Selected publications

  1. Slowicka K, et al. Zeb2 drives invasive and microbiota-dependent colon carcinoma
    Nature Cancer. 1, 620–634, 2020.
  2. Anderson, CJ, et al. Intestinal microbes exploit programmed cell death-induced nutrient release by gut epithelial cells.
    Nature. 596, 262-267, 2021.
  3. Gracey ER, et al. Revisiting the Gut-Joint Axis : Links between Gut Inflammation and Spondyloarthritis.
    Nature Reviews in Rheumatology. 16, 415–433. 2020.
  4. Vereecke L, et al. A20 controls intestinal homeostasis through cell-specific activities.
    Nat Commun. 5, 5103, 2014.
  5. Takahashi N, et al. RIPK1 ensures intestinal homeostasis by protecting the epithelium against apoptosis.
    Nature. 513(7516), 95-9, 2014.

Schematic overview HMI lab. Click to enlarge.

Mucus produced by intestinal goblet cells preventing bacterial adhesion in the colon

To top