Research Lab – Department of Clinical Sciences
Intestinal Regenerative Medicine
Lab Contact: 919.513.6919
Liara Gonzalez, an assistant professor of gastroenterology and equine surgery at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, was the first to develop a large animal porcine model to study intestinal stem cells and was the first to identify these cells in horses.
She and her team are also the first to grow and expand intestinal stem cells into 3-D complex structures from tissues derived from both pigs and horses.
Intestinal disease is severely debilitating to both veterinary and human patients. In horses, colic is the leading known cause of death. Additionally, gastrointestinal diseases affect approximately 60 to 70 million Americans annually. One of the most dangerous forms of intestinal disease that afflicts both humans and animals is intestinal ischemia and reperfusion injury, which result in a lack of blood flow to the intestine.
In the face of no new therapies for treatment of intestinal ischemia in decades, intestinal stem cells have been heralded as the greatest potential therapeutic because of their tremendous capacity for proliferation and mucosal repair. Intensive study is underway to understand and harness the therapeutic potential of intestinal stem cells. NC State is leading the way in the field of large animal intestinal stem cells and novel stem cell-driven structures called enteroids, or “mini guts.”
Learn More About Dr. Gonzalez
“Working with horses suffering from colic and their loving and dedicated owners has been the driving force to improve the medicine we have to offer. The reality is that there has been a failure to develop new, innovative therapies despite the fact that colic is the leading cause of death from disease in horses.
The potential to make a difference excites me. “
- (2016) Large Animal Models: The Key to Translational Discovery in Digestive Disease Research.Ziegler A, Gonzalez LM, Blikslager AT. | Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2016 Nov;2(6):716-724.
- (2016) Book Chapter: Intestinal Stem Cells.Gonzalez LM. | In: Blikslager AT, White NA, Moore JN, Mair TS, Eds., Equine Acute Abdomen, 3rd Edition. Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ, 2016
- (2016) Book Chapter: Intestinal Viability.Gonzalez LM. | In: Blikslager AT, White NA, Moore JN, Mair TS, Eds., Equine Acute Abdomen, 3rd Edition. Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ, 2016
- (2016) An evaluation of the psychometric properties of an advising survey for medical and professional program students.Royal KD, Gonzalez LM. | Journal of Educational Developmental Psychology 2016;6(1):195-203.
- (2015) The mother of a gut cell: Intestinal epithelial stem cells. Gonzalez LM, | Equine Vet Educ. Invited editorial 2015;27(11)559-560.
- (2015) Porcine models of digestive disease: the future of large animal translational research. Gonzalez LM, Moeser AJ, Blikslager AT. | Translational Research 2015;166(1)12-27. PMID:25655839. Epub 2015 Jan 13.
- (2015) Characterization of Discrete Equine Intestinal Epithelial Cell Lineages.Gonzalez LM, Kinnin LS, Blikslager AT. | Am J Vet Res 2015;76(4)358-66. PMID:25815577
- (2015) Animal models of ischemia-reperfusion induced intestinal injury: progress and promise for translational research.Gonzalez LM, Moeser AJ, Blikslager AT. | Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2015;308(2)G63-75. PMID:25414098. Epub 2014 Nov 20.
- (2015) Operative Factors Associated with Short-term Outcome in Horses with Large Colon Volvulus: 47 cases from 2006 to 2013.Gonzalez LM, Fogle CF, Baker WT, Hughes FE, Law JM, Motsinger-Reif AA, Blikslager AT. | Equine Vet J 2015;47(3)279-84. PMID:24735170. Epub 2014 May 29.
- (2013) Cell lineage identification and stem cell culture in a porcine model for the study of intestinal epithelial regeneration. Gonzalez LM, Williamson I, Piedrahita JA, Blikslager AT, Magness ST. | PLoS ONE 2013;8(6):e66465. PMID:23840480. Print 2013.
- (2010) Magnetic resonance imaging of metacarpo(tarso) phalangeal region.Gonzalez LM, Schramme MC, Redding WR, Robertson ID, Thrall DE. | Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2010;51:404-414. PMID:20806872.
Dr. Liara Gonzalez, DVM, PhD, DACVS is a veterinarian, specialty trained in large animal surgery, with a clinical and research focus on intestinal disease. Dr. Gonzalez’ research has aimed to develop and utilize large animal models to translate lab bench findings into clinically relevant therapeutic interventions that benefit both human and veterinary patients.
John Freund: John Freund joined the Gonzalez lab in June of 2015. He studied Molecular Biology at Westminster College before post graduate education in Forensic science at at Duquesne University and in Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh. John brings 20 years of hands-on laboratory experience to the Gonzalez lab . Before moving to Raleigh, John was a lab manager at the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Pittsburgh and at West Virginia University. John is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a life long Steelers fan. He and his wife Janice enjoy their rescue dog, riding motorcycles, fishing and boating.
- Cecilia Kucera: Cecilia is a veterinary student at NC State CVM in the class of 2018. She has spent her vet school summers working in the Gonzalez lab focusing on clinical studies of the role of intestinal stem and progenitor cells in cases of equine large colon volvulus and small intestine strangulations. Cecilia is originally from Winston-Salem, NC and attended Wake Forest University for her undergraduate degree. While her career goals are still in the developing stages, Cecilia plans on pursuing a PhD post-graduation from veterinary school in order to obtain her dream job as a combined researcher and clinician. Outside of school, Cecilia enjoys playing the fiddle with several bluegrass/old time and Irish music groups, backpacking, and riding/competing with her horse, Dill Pickle.
- Madison Voigt: Madison is a veterinary student at North Carolina State University class of 2019. Madi is from Brighton, Michigan and attended the University of Georgia. She competed as a division 1 athlete on the equestrian team during her undergraduate tenure and graduated with a major in biological science. Madi joined the Gonzalez lab as an undergraduate student and returned for the summer following her first year of veterinary school to participate in the Merial Veterinary Scholars program, where she researched porcine intestinal stem cells utilizing surface markers and flow cytometry. Madi enjoys nurturing enteroids and helping them grow to their full potential, and has increasing interests in flow cytometry and fluorescence activated cell sorting. In her free time she enjoys riding horses, running, and spending time with family.
Justin Davidson: I am a junior majoring in Biology with a concentration in Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology at NC State. I work on various roles in the lab as well as analyzing and imaging Crypt Cells. Outside of the lab, I enjoy exercising and playing sports especially basketball, listening and playing music, as well as playing videogames. I am a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. as well as an NC State University Ambassador. In the future I hope to attend medical school to study to become a surgeon and find new ways to combine research and medicine.