Funded Research

Reprogramming Colon to Small Bowel as a Therapy for Short Bowel Syndrome
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Samantha Morris, Ph.D. Developmental Biology
  • Center for Metabolism and Immunity
Award Mechanism:
Interdisciplinary Research Initiative
Project Period:
2/1/2016 - 1/31/2018
Total Amount:

Project Summary
Short bowel syndrome (SBS) arises from the surgical loss of a significant length of small intestine, resulting in impaired nutrient absorption. Intestinal cell fate engineering is a potential “regenerative medicine” therapy for SBS. Recent research has shown that mouse skin cells can be converted to induced endoderm progenitor cells (iEPs), which possess dual small bowel and colon identity following transplantation into the colon. These results suggest that small bowel function can be engineered and maintained in the colon. The aim of this project is to reprogram portions of the colon into small bowel as part of a team goal to restore nutrient absorption in SBS.

Specific aims

·   Engineer mouse iEPs with functional small bowel potential and map their stages of maturation to guide future regenerative medicine strategies using this approach.

Potential impact on child health
SBS is an increasingly encountered major condition for which the outcomes are poor and morbidity is high. This work represents an important first step toward regenerative cell therapy for SBS and other childhood gut abnormalities.