Tan Laboratory

The research in this lab focuses on understanding of the role of mucosal innate immunity in preservation of intestinal epithelial barrier function. The undergoing projects are listed below:

  • Preservation of mucosal barrier function in surgical diseases: Sepsis and traumatic stress are associated with intestinal mucosal barrier dysfunction. Repair of intestinal mucosa is promoted by a group of endogenous molecules called restitution factors. The major goal of this project is to elucidate molecular mechanisms through which restitution factors such as trefoil factor 3 and milk fat globule-EGF factor 8/lactadherin protect the intestinal mucosal barrier function. 
  • Molecular mechanisms through which probiotics prevent septic shock and severe tissue injury: Sepsis is a systemic inflammatory response syndrome that is often initiated by infection. Currently, the management of sepsis is still a major challenge in clinical practice. Probiotics are defined as non-pathogenic microbial cell preparations or components of these organisms that have benefits to health when ingested. Recently, we and others have demonstrated prophylactic effects of probiotics against sepsis. We have shown that probiotic components target macrophages in vivo, and this in turn enhances the innate immune capacity of macrophages and protects against polymicrobial sepsis. In this project, we will test the hypothesis that probiotic components modulate macrophage function in turn protecting against sepsis.

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