An especially sensitive period for environmental factors modulating immunity is early in life, and the human microbiome may have important functions in health and disease. By focusing on epithelial barriers, we are primarily interested in understanding how exposure to external agents or colonization by opportunist microbes impacts on barrier function and immunity and systemic immune responses. Our aim is to integrate multi-omic approaches to uncover the mechanisms behind the factors linking environmental exposures with immune system activation or immune tolerance.
We work with data deriving from large human cohorts and clinical studies, and validate the results using in vivo and in vitro models. We carry out genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, and interpret the results using various bioinformatics methods.
Our unit collaborates with many research groups around the world, and we participate in several international research consortia funded by the European Commission.