CD3+ (green) T lymhocytes infiltrate the mucosa and E-cadherin (red) labeled epithelium when channels are active.
Albumin (pseudocolor) is normally retained within blood vessels (left). In GVHD (center and right), albumin leaks from vessels, but in mice lacking epithelial MLCK (right) albumin accumulates between epithelial cells (arrow).
Size- and charge-selective tight junction permeability increases promote resolution of infection.
Occludin and caspase-3 expression are coordinately reduced in Crohn's disease patient biopsies.
Neuronal activation in the thalamus of control mice (left) and mice with intestinal barrier loss (right).
The viability of complex organisms relies on barriers at sites where tissues meet the external world. These barriers are formed by cells and the intercellular tight junctions, which seal the spaces between cells. Transport of water, salts, and nutrients across these barriers requires tight junction seals to be selectively-permeable. The balance between permeability and barrier function is precisely regulated. Dysregulation of this balance has been linked to both systemic and organ-specific disease, particularly in the intestines, where tissues interface with the gut microbiome.
We focus on understanding the structure, function, and regulation of intercellular tight junctions using a multidisciplinary approach. This integrative approach is key to reaching our goal of fundamentally advancing tight junction biology as a means to augment fundamental understanding and improve health.
While we study biological barriers, we strive to eliminate systemic barriers and continue to grow our culture of inclusion, innovation, continuous learning, and creativity. We embrace individuality but function as a group to both overcome obstacles and celebrate achievements. All who strive to improve the world through biomedical research are welcome; we especially invite BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and members of other communities that are underrepresented in science. We are committed to the foundational values of equality, fair consideration of all viewpoints, and willingness to participate in challenging conversations.
Please contact Dr. Turner directly for more information and opportunities to join our team.