Grants Awarded to GI Research Projects at the CVM

Three NC State College of Veterinary Medicine researchers were awarded grants for digestive disease pilot studies at this month’s Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease Research Day.

Tobias Kaeser, Laurianne Van Landeghem, Amanda Ziegler won three of the five $30,000 grants for pilot studies presented at the event at the CGIBD, a research partnership between NC State University and UNC Chapel Hill. It is the only gastrointestinal center in the United States that has an official association with a veterinary school.

Kaeser, assistant professor in swine immunology, won for his look at the role T-helper 2 cells have in pigs developing a type of food allergy. For her project, Van Landeghem, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, will investigate how enteric glial cells of the enteric nervous system impact colon cancer stem cell chemoresistance.

Graduate student Ziegler received a grant for a study into the postnatal development of intestinal repair mechanisms. Ziegler is pursuing a Ph.D. as a research assistant in the Gastrointestinal Physiology Lab of Anthony Blikslager, CVM professor of equine surgery and gastroenterology. In August, she received the 2018 Young Investigator Award at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium for her translational gastrointestinal research.

Amanda Ziegler, Ph.D. Candidate

Additionally, a postdoctoral fellow in the gastrointestinal diseases lab of Casey Theriot, CVM assistant professor of infectious disease, won the event’s poster contest for his presentation of research into Clostridioides difficle, a bacterium that can cause fatal infections. His poster was titled, “Clostridioides difficile toxin activity induces host matrix metalloprotease gene expression in vivo.”

Josh Fletcher, Postdoctoral Fellow

The CGIBD, established in 1983, fosters advancements in the study of inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In 2015, more than three million adults in the United States reported being diagnosed with IBD. IBD is also found in dogs, cats, horses and other animals.