Basic Science

Our basic science research focuses on the impact of probiotics in neonatal intestinal inflammation such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and autoimmune disorders related to regulatory T cells, TH1 and TH17, such as primary immune deficiency (IPEX syndrome, IPEX-like syndrome), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). We explore, specifically, on the immune modulatory mechanism of probiotics and probiotic-modulated gut microbiota and microbiota-associated metabolites. We recently expand our research interest in the effect of probiotics on gut-brain signals of neonatal stress model.  In addition, we are interested in how human breast milk factors affect the function of probiotics in healthy infants (newborn mice) and autoimmune disorders.

Our basic research lab also involves in clinical research projects including the completed infantile colic study, and ongoing autism study. We process patient samples, analyze the circulating immune cells, plasma and fecal inflammatory biomarkers, gut permeability markers, and stool DNA isolations for gut microbiota analysis, monitoring the quality of probiotic products by measuring how many CFUs in the probiotic product.   We also support GI fellows’ research projects including assisting IRB protocol preparation (lab-related contents), study design, sample processing, assay, and analysis.

Yuying Liu, Ph.D., M.Ed, Associate Professor
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Director, Research
McGovern Medical School

J. Marc Rhoads, MD, Professor
Director, Pediatric Gastroenterology
Program Director, Fellowship Program
McGovern Medical School

Shabba Armbrister
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Research Assistant I
McGovern Medical School

Beanna Okeugo
Pediatric Gastroenterology
Research Assistant I
McGovern Medical School

Previous lab members:
Evelyn S. Park, Research Assistant
Jasmin Freeborn, Research Assistant
Thomas Hoang, Research Assistant
Baokun He, Postdoctoral Fellow