Gut Immunity at BRI

Gut Immunity Program

The Gut Immunity Program at Benaroya Research Institute studies how immune responses in the gut go wrong and lead to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as, celiac diseaseCrohn's & colitis and other autoimmune conditions. Researchers use model systems, biorepository samples and clinical studies to understand how immune responses go awry. They also study the gut microbiome and how immune responses in the gut contribute to other autoimmune diseases.

Established in 2019 with the support of a $3 million donation from a private donor, this program brings BRI closer to understanding what triggers IBD. It also provides researchers with resources to identify new treatments by fostering collaboration and developing new research methods that can then be applied to other immune-mediated conditions. BRI’s expansive resource of cell samples and clinical research partnership with Virginia Mason leaves the institute well positioned for research involving gut immunity.

About Gut Immunity 

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease are chronic inflammatory immune-mediated diseases. 1.6 million people in the U.S. have IBD and the numbers are increasing. While some some treatments exist, there are no known preventions or cures. These diseases are thought to be influenced by several factors, including the immune system, gut microbes and lifestyle/environment.

Additionally, gut immunity is believed to play an important role in whole body immunity such that the health of the gut may impact other organs, including the skin and lungs.


Blog Main Image - Centrifuging Blood Samples

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Labs in the Gut Immology Group

These are the labs that make up the gut immonology program. 

Harrison Lab Main

Harrison Lab

The Harrison Lab studies the mechanisms controlling host-microbe interactions at barrier tissues, primarily the skin and the gut with the goal to understand how these immune cells promote barrier tissue integrity and repair, and to understand how this goes awry during disease.
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Lacy-Hulbert Res Proj Main - Forward Genetics

Lacy-Hulbert Lab

The Lacy-Hulbert lab works to understand how different aspects of the immune system cooperate to identify and combat potentially infectious organisms while preventing immune attack against innocuous microbes or the body’s own self.
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Lord Lab Main

Lord Lab

The Lord lab is investigating how loss of “tolerance” happens in IBD, to learn how the immune system normally coexists peacefully in close proximity to gut contents.
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Blog Stories

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January 11, 2024

Ready for This Moment: Exploring Prevention of Ulcerative Colitis

Adam Lacy-Hulbert, PhD, was reading through the latest scientific papers when one finding stopped him in his tracks: Groups from Kyoto University and Mount Sinai described an autoantibody specific to people with ulcerative colitis (UC).
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September 14, 2022

Clues into Crohn's: Exploring Why the Immune System Attacks Beneficial Bacteria

Your gut is home to a huge community of bacteria called the microbiome. Some bacteria are good, some are bad — and some might hold the key to understanding an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

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April 5, 2022

Inside BRI’s Gut Immunity Program

To most people, the gut is just a part of your body that helps digest food.

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Immuno-what? Hear the latest from BRI

Keep up to date on our latest research, new clinical trials and exciting publications.