The University of Maryland School of Medicine's Mucosal Biology Research Center (MBRC) became a reality on June 23, 2004, with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. The organized research center was established to investigate causes and treatments for diseases of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. The MBRC brings together clinicians and basic scientists with expertise in cell biology, mucosal immunology, infectious diseases, inflammatory processes, drug and antigen delivery, trauma and wound repair.
"The increase in inflammatory disease of the intestines and lungs, including inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, suggest that environmental toxins and allergens are overcoming our body's natural defense mechanisms," says Dr. Howard B. Dickler, senior associate dean for research and graduate studies. "Through this organized research center, we will be able to study how our health is affected by environmental factors."
The newly created MBRC will also house the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. Celiac disease, a digestive disorder triggered by the protein gluten, is much more common in this country than previously thought.
"There are many similarities in the function of diseases that affect the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, and that is the scientific rationale for developing this center," says Alessio Fasano, M.D., professor of pediatrics, medicine and physiology. The MBRC is co-directed by Dr. Jeffrey Hasday, M.D., professor of medicine and head of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and Dr. Simeon Goldblum, M.D., professor of medicine.
"The MBRC will include a network of distinguished physicians and researchers to study how our health is affected by environmental factors," says Dean Donald E. Wilson, M.D., MACP, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and Dean of the School of Medicine. This organized research center also will create a unique scientific and teaching environment that will draw the highest quality scientists and trainees to our campus."