My research interest focuses on the use of human in vitro models to study gut health and disease. The models include primary epithelial cell monolayers derived from human intestinal organoids and grown on chips, polarized organ culture system of intestinal tissue as well as human cell lines. Since joining the Juge Group, I have established the colon intestine-chip technology and developed advanced cell and organoid-based models to study gut barrier function. These models have been used to investigate the effects of food components and bacterial metabolites from the gut microbiota of healthy participants and individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. I have also been involved in projects investigating the mechanisms of bacterial adhesion to gastrointestinal mucus and Lgr5+ stem cell proliferation and migration. I have recently applied the organ-on-chip technology to lung-chip models, both human small airway and human alveolus lung-chips.
Through these projects, I have been collaborating with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) (gastroenterology clinicians, nurses from the endoscopy facility) and with the NRP Biorepository for sample collection and Ethical approvals. I hold a research passport allowing me to consent patients at NNUH.
Before joining QIB, I worked on coeliac disease at King’s College London, which included the following topics:
· Identification of toxic components in gluten for patients with coeliac disease using in vitro models: small intestinal organ culture and small intestinal gluten-specific T cells.
· Screening novel candidate foods’ safety for consumption by coeliac patients using immunoassays, in vitro models as well as clinical samples from feeding studies.
· Development of improved methods for measurement of gluten in foods including production of new monoclonal antibodies, assay development and optimization.
· Development of new blood test for coeliac disease screening based on detection of antibodies to glutenins.
1. Šuligoj et al. Effects of Human Milk Oligosaccharides on the Adult Gut Microbiota and Barrier Function. Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2808.
2. Sequeira et al. Structural basis for the role of serine-rich repeat proteins from Lactobacillus reuteri in gut microbe–host interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 115: E2706–15.
3. Owen et al. Unravelling the specificity and mechanism of sialic acid recognition by the gut symbiont Ruminococcus gnavus. Nat Commun. 2017 8:2196.
4. Šuligoj et al. Diagnostic and research aspects of small intestinal disaccharidases in coeliac disease. J Immunol Res. 2017;2017:1042606 [review].
5. Šuligoj et al. Evaluation of the safety of ancient strains of wheat in coeliac disease reveals heterogeneous small intestinal T cell responses suggestive of coeliac toxicity. Clin Nutr. 2013 32:1043-9.