Our research unit is rooted in the clinical gastroenterology department of Ghent University Hospital and aims to discern and modulate intestinal and extra-intestinal effects of gut inflammation, driving the identification of new therapeutic targets for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and other gut-driven pathologies such as Parkinsonís disease.
Despite the remarkable progress in modulating inflammatory processes in the gut, exemplified by the expanding drug armamentarium for IBD, these drugs seem to have only limited impact on the natural course of the disease. For example, the occurrence of structural mucosal damage (fibrosis), and the persistent manifestation of neurobehavioral changes in IBD patients remain clinical challenges. Thus, aside from aiming to modulate the inflammatory response in the intestine, we are interested in mechanisms of gut fibrosis and the development of drugs able to prevent or reverse the excess deposition of extracellular matrix. In addition, we focus on tools to modulate neurobehavioral and neurological changes resulting from gut inflammation by studying mechanisms of gut-brain communication.