Dr. Joannie Allaire’s research is focused on gastrointestinal disease, and more specifically, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and mucosal immunology with a particular interest in epithelial cells biology and their innate immune signalling.
IBD patients suffer exaggerated gut inflammation that often leads to an imbalance in the types of microbes found in their intestines. In healthy individuals, such responses are typically prevented by the expression of SIGIRR, a protein expressed by the epithelial cells that line the gut. SIGIRR plays a key role in suppressing responses that drive inflammation and kill bacteria. While we currently do not have a way to promote the beneficial actions of SIGIRR in the gut, recently, interleukin (IL)-37, a newly recognized anti-inflammatory cytokine, has been shown to use SIGIRR to inhibit inflammatory responses in human cells.
Allaire hopes to test the ability of IL-37 to signal through SIGIRR to control inflammatory and bacterial killing responses in epithelial cells, limit experimental IBD in mice, and promote normal gut microbe balance. Ultimately, her studies will explore the potential for IL-37 to act as a new therapeutic for patients with IBD.
For an up-to-date list of publications by Dr. Allaire, please see ResearchGate.