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How do intestinal immune cells distinguish the trillions of normal, endogenous bacteria in the gut from pathogenic ones. How do normally harmless external dietary substances sometimes elicit a potentially life-threatening immune response in an individual?
Pathologist Cathryn Nagler’s laboratory at the University of Chicago is pursuing several complementary lines of research aimed at examining these questions. She studies non-responsiveness to these stimuli in healthy individuals and the harmful responses in individuals with food allergies or inflammatory bowel disease.