What's New

  • Read about Karen in the Philadelphia Inquirer - More Info
  • Congratulations to Matt! He received the best thesis award from the Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine graduate program.
  • Chris's pioneering patch-clamp study measuring single channel events across tight junctions is now in press at eLife. - More Info

Our Research

In vitro purse-string wound closure

Live cell imaging of actin dynamics during purse-string wound closure in EGFP-ß-actin-expressing Caco-2 cells. Within 2 minutes after wounding, actin polymerization occurred at the wound edge. By 8 minutes, a continuous ring of actin was present and the wound rounded, indicating the development of circumferential tension. This was followed by contraction of the actomyosin ring as the wound closed. Cells surrounding the wound also contracted. Most activity occurred within the first 30 minutes, and wound closure was complete by 60 minutes. The wound-healing process was associated with stretching and flattening of some cells, resulting in a shift out of the plane of focus at the last time points. (Gastroenterology 2005;128:987-1001.)

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Our Goals 

Our interests are focused on how epithelia establish, maintain, and regulate barriers. This fundamental property is essential for survival of multicellular organisms and allows controlled interactions with the external environment and compartmentalization of distinct tissues. The structure that maintains these barriers and regulates flux between cells is the tight junction. The primary goal of our laboratory is to understand the biology of the tight junction.

We take a multidisciplinary approach that integrates cell and developmental biology, transport physiology, electrophysiology, structural biology, molecular biology, and mucosal immunology to define fundamentals of structure and function; understand mechanisms of regulation in vitro and in vivo models; determine the contributions of barrier dysfunction to gastrointestinal disease; understand the role of the epithelial barrier in regulating other mucosal processes, e.g. immune responses; and develop novel means to correct barrier function and restore health.

— Jerrold R. Turner MD, PhD

Jerrold R. Turner, MD, PhD
Departments of Pathology
and Medicine (Gastroenterology)

Brigham and


Thorn 1428
20 Shattuck Street
Boston, MA 02115