Event Information

BIOE Seminar: Engineering the Intestinal Mucosal Barrier
Friday, October 22, 2021
9:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
For More Information:
Dr. Gregg Duncan

Rebecca Carrier (Northeastern University)

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Engineering the Intestinal Mucosal Barrier

The intestinal mucosal barrier is highly significant to effective oral drug delivery, nutrient absorption, and interactions between microbes and underlying tissues. One limitation to studying the intestinal mucosal barrier is lack of appropriate in vitro experimental models. Dr. Carrier's laboratory is working to develop engineered intestinal models incorporating microbiota in homeostasis with intestinal epithelium and immune cells for studying the links between ingested material and intestinal homeostasis/inflammation. Such models can be useful for studying mucosal transport in a physiological context, and for understanding how changes in mucosal barrier properties may contribute to disruptions in homeostasis of the microbiome-epithelium-immune axis. The mucosa is exposed each day to dynamic and variable intestinal lumen contents, yet the impact of these contents on the mucosal barrier is not well understood. Dr. Carrier's laboratory is studying the impact of ingested materials, such as lipids in drug delivery systems or food, on transport through the intestinal mucosa of molecules (e.g., drugs and nutrients), particulates (e.g., drug carrier systems), and microbes. Results indicate that mild stimuli, such as those presented by food, can modulate the intestinal barrier, for example to impact oral drug delivery or microbial invasion, and that permeation through mucus is highly dependent on the physical and chemical properties of the penetrating material (drug, particle, microbe). Dr. Carrier and her group hypothesize, given the crucial role of intestinal mucus in modulating interactions between intestinal contents and underlying tissues, that ingested materials directly impact the mucus barrier in vivo, and that an altered mucus barrier modifies interactions of microbes and other lumen contents (e.g., drugs, signaling molecules including bile acids) with underlying tissues.

About the Speaker

Rebecca Carrier is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. After completing her graduate studies, Dr. Carrier worked at Pfizer, Inc., as a Senior Research Scientist in oral controlled release drug delivery. She joined Northeastern in 2003, and the overall theme of her research interests is the interaction between biological systems and materials, with specific applications in drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She has worked collaboratively with multiple industrial partners including Pfizer, Merck, Genentech, and Novartis, and has received honors including the NSF CAREER award, NU “Outstanding Teacher (2011),” “Faculty Fellow (2014),” and Soren Buus Outstanding Research (2017) Awards for excellence in teaching and research leadership. She was also invited to participate in the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering (2016) and Frontiers of Engineering Education (2013) Symposia, served as the Member-At-Large for the Society for Biomaterials from 2018-2019, and was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2019.



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