Division of Gastroenterology

Elena Verdú


Professor, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine

Canada Research Chair in Nutrition, Inflammation and Microbiota

Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit, Director
Lab website: www.verdulab.ca



Research Interests

Main Research Interest
The pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases is complex and involves a combination of genetic and environmental determinants. The mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract is constantly exposed to the presence of dietary antigens, microbes and their metabolites. We study the complex diet-microbe-host interactions that lead to maintenance of gut homeostasis or development of host aberrant immune and functional responses.

The main focus of research in my lab is to study the role of microbial and dietary factors in the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory disorders such as celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. Research tools include gnotobiotic mouse models of colonization using bacteria isolated from patient samples. Sequencing, isolation and metabolic activity of intestinal bacteria are investigated through collaboration with the Sequencing Facility at the Farncombe Institute and the Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Department at McMaster. Collaboration with the Division of Gastroenterology enables translational clinical studies in patient cohorts.

We use a combination of microbial, molecular, cell culture, and animal modelling approaches to study host barrier and immune function, as well as dietary protein metabolism by bacteria in the context of celiac disease and inflammatory bowel diseases. Animal models include a variety of transgenic and knock-out germ-free, and microbiota- and immune system-humanized mice. 

Selected Publications

  1. McCarville JL, Dong J, Caminero A, Bermudez-Brito M, Jury J, Murray JA, Duboux S, Steinmann M, Delley M, Tangyu M, Langella P, Mercenier A, Bergonzelli G, Verdu EF. A commensal Bifidobacterium longum strain improves gluten-related immunopathology in mice through expression of a serine protease inhibitor. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017 Aug 4. pii: AEM.01323-17.
  2. Thevaranjan N, Puchta A, Schulz C, Naidoo A, Szamosi JC, Verschoor CP, Loukov D, Schenck LP, Jury J, Foley KP, Schertzer JD, Larché MJ, Davidson DJ, Verdú EF, Surette MG, Bowdish DME. Age-Associated Microbial Dysbiosis Promotes Intestinal Permeability, Systemic Inflammation, and Macrophage Dysfunction. Cell Host Microbe. 2017;21:455-66.e4.
  3. Verdu EF, Caminero A. How infection can incite sensitivity to food. Science. 2017;356:29-30. doi: 10.1126/science.aan1500.
  4. De Palma G, Lynch MD, Lu J, Dang VT, Deng Y, Jury J, Umeh G, Miranda PM, Pigrau Pastor M, Sidani S, Pinto-Sanchez MI, Philip V, McLean PG, Hagelsieb MG, Surette MG, Bergonzelli GE, Verdu EF, Britz-McKibbin P, Neufeld JD, Collins SM, Bercik P. Transplantation of fecal microbiota from patients with irritable bowel syndrome alters gut function and behavior in recipient mice. Sci Transl Med. 2017;9(379). pii: eaaf6397.
  5. Rey M, Yang M, Lee L, Zhang Y, Sheff JG, Sensen CW, Mrazek H, Halada P, Man P, McCarville JL, Verdu EF, Schriemer DC. Addressing proteolytic efficiency in enzymatic degradation therapy for celiac disease. Sci Rep. 2016;6:30980.
  6. Caminero A, Galipeau HJ, McCarville JL, Johnston CW, Bernier SP, Russell AK, Jury J, Herran AR, Casqueiro J, Tye-Din JA, Surette MG, Magarvey NA, Schuppan D, Verdu EF. Duodenal Bacteria From Patients With Celiac Disease and Healthy Subjects Distinctly Affect Gluten Breakdown and Immunogenicity. Gastroenterology. 2016;151:670-83. doi:
  7. Kirkby NS, Chan MV, Zaiss AK, Garcia-Vaz E, Jiao J, Berglund LM, Verdu EF, Ahmetaj-Shala B, Wallace JL, Herschman HR, Gomez MF, Mitchell JA. Systematic study of constitutive cyclooxygenase-2 expression: Role of NF-κB and NFAT transcriptional pathways. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2016;113:434-9.
  8. Natividad JM, Pinto-Sanchez MI, Galipeau HJ, Jury J, Jordana M, Reinisch W, Collins SM, Bercik P, Surette MG, Allen-Vercoe E, Verdu EF. Ecobiotherapy Rich in Firmicutes Decreases Susceptibility to Colitis in a Humanized Gnotobiotic Mouse Model. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2015;21(8):1883-93. doi: 10.
  9. Verdu EF, Galipeau HJ, Jabri B. Novel players in coeliac disease pathogenesis: role of the gut microbiota. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015;12:497-506.
  10. Galipeau HJ, Wiepjes M, Motta JP, Schulz JD, Jury J, Natividad JM, Pinto-Sanchez I, Sinclair D, Rousset P, Martin-Rosique R, Bermudez-Humaran L, Leroux JC, Murray JA, Smecuol E, Bai JC, Vergnolle N, Langella P, Verdu EF. Novel role of the serine protease inhibitor elafin in gluten-related disorders.Am J Gastroenterol. 2014;109:748-56.
  11. Natividad JM, Hayes CL, Motta JP, Jury J, Galipeau HJ, Philip V, Garcia-Rodenas CL, Kiyama H, Bercik P, Verdu EF. Differential induction of antimicrobial REGIII by the intestinal microbiota and Bifidobacterium breve NCC2950. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013;79:7745-54.
  12. Pinier M, Fuhrmann G, Galipeau HJ, Rivard N, Murray JA, David CS, Drasarova H, Tuckova L, Leroux JC, Verdu EF. The copolymer P(HEMA-co-SS) binds gluten and reduces immune response in gluten-sensitized mice and human tissues. Gastroenterology. 2012;142:316-25.e1-12.
  13. Galipeau HJ, Rulli NE, Jury J, Huang X, Araya R, Murray JA, David CS, Chirdo FG, McCoy KD, Verdu EF. Sensitization to gliadin induces moderate enteropathy and insulitis in nonobese diabetic-DQ8 mice. J Immunol. 2011;187:4338-46.