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