Ryan Brown

I am interested in studying how the gut contributes to CNS pathologies, namely the animal model of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS patients commonly report gastrointestinal symptoms and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are a common risk factor for developing MS. In the animal model, Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), damage to the Enteric Nervous System has been reported to precede the onset of neurological symptoms, though the gut is often overlooked in disease contexts. I seek to address the role of Enteric Glial Cells (EGCs) in contributing to disease pathology. EGCs are a largely uncharacterized cell type that bear resemblance to CNS astrocytes, as well as oligodendrocyte-lineage cells. EGCs are immunocompetent as they express several cytokines, pattern recognition receptors, and antigen presentation machinery. I am currently developing tools to genetically target EGCs and seek to address putative roles in contributing to the inflammatory environment  in the gut during the onset of EAE.