The Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (CSIBD) is a multidisciplinary program to define fundamental mechanisms underlying Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and is sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Organizational Structure of the CSIBD
The Center encompasses 111 investigators at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and allied institutions pursuing research in a broad spectrum of basic science relevant to IBD. Since its formation 23 years ago, the CSIBD serves as a vehicle to achieve advances in our understanding of these diseases through the study of relevant basic biological processes and the directed study of the diseases themselves.
Our research is organized around the central hypothesis that IBD results from activation by luminal bacteria or their products of an upregulated chronic immune response due to genetically determined alterations of epithelial cell or immune function including a lack of appropriate downregulatory functions. The major advances made possible by the CSIBD include the development and characterization of new genetic mouse models of IBD, delineation of mechanisms of lymphocyte activation and leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation, characterization of mechanisms of innate immune response, identification of key peptides involved in sustaining mucosal integrity, characterization of the mechanisms of mucosal healing following injury, improved understanding of the regulation of epithelial function, functional mapping of genetic variants in IBD, mucosal immune responses, and delineation of the mechanisms of mucosal:microbial interaction.
A major focus of CSIBD research is the coordinated multi-disciplinary study of mechanisms leading to chronic intestinal inflammation and delineation of interactions between environmental factors and different genetic loci. The Center also actively promotes clinical and translational research efforts to apply insights gained in studying various disease mechanisms through its five biomedical cores. The cores include the Genetics, Genomics, and Molecular Biology Core, the Morphology Core, the Immunology Core, the Genetic Animal Model Core, and the Clinical/Tissue Core.
The overall goal of this Center is to promote research that will yield insights into the cause(s) and pathogenesis of IBD and lead to improved therapeutic approaches. The specific goals of the Center derive from the conviction that understanding the mechanisms of IBD will depend on progress in relevant areas of basic research and extension of these findings to explore their importance in the context of IBD. It is our further conviction that these goals can only be achieved through an increase in the number of investigators studying IBD. The latter should be achieved both through increased interest in the laboratories of basic investigators and the scientific development of investigators focused on IBD. We believe all of these goals are achieved through the scientific and material resources provided via the organizational framework of this Center. In addition we believe that in further fostering the numerous collaborative interactions among members of the Center whose expertise spans a continuum from basic laboratory to creative clinical investigation, the CSIBD serves to integrate progress from the laboratory to clinical application.
The Center goals are as follows:
- Fostering research in basic science areas relevant to better understanding of mucosal immune function and epithelial biology in IBD
- Furthering the study of the pathogenesis of IBD
- Facilitating interactions among scientists exploring diverse fields which share relevance to IBD
- Promoting translational IBD research
- Providing an environment and mechanism to foster development of young investigators focused on IBD