We are honored to have Dr. Alessio Fasano as a Keynote Speaker. He is a pediatric gastroenterologist and researcher. He currently holds many roles, including professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and professor of nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, both in Boston. He serves as director of the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and co-director of the Harvard Medical School Celiac Research Program. In addition, he is director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MGHfC, where he oversees a research program with approximately 50 scientists and staff researching a variety of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases, including cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, enteric infections and necrotizing enterocolitis. A common theme of these programs is the study of the emerging role of the gut microbiome in health and disease. Fasano is also the scientific director of the European Biomedical Research Institute of Salerno (EBRIS) in Italy. Along with these leadership positions, he is a practicing outpatient clinician in pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition and the division chief.
Fasano began his career as a pediatric gastroenterologist interested in treating debilitating diarrhea, as well as a researcher determined to find a vaccine for cholera. He was responsible for the discovery of several new enterotoxins involved in the diarrheal pathogenesis of several pathogens, including Shigella, E. coli, and V. cholerae. These discoveries led to the engineering of attenuated enteric vaccines, some of them currently used in clinical practice.
The course of this research path eventually led him and his team to the "serendipitous" discovery of zonulin in 2000, a protein responsible for regulating intestinal tight-junctions. His major research focus then shifted to the study of intestinal permeability, the pathophysiology of the paracellular pathway, and how disruption of gut barrier function factors into chronic inflammatory disease development.
His current research focuses include intestinal mucosal biology and immunology, the gut microbiome, and bacterial pathogenesis, as well as the immune host response. His clinical specialty lays in gluten-related disorders (celiac disease, wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity) as well as other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders (diabetes mellitus type 1, autism, schizophrenia, and others).
Fasano is considered an expert and pioneering researcher worldwide in the field of celiac disease and bacterial pathogenesis. Not only did he found the premier celiac research center in the United States, but the impact of his more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications and 160 patents has greatly shaped and advanced the knowledge of a multitude of chronic inflammatory diseases and immune diseases. He was among the top 1 percent cited scientists worldwide based on Web of Science Group's annual list of Highly Cited Researchers.
Information courtesy of Wikipedia.
Dr. Alessio Fasano
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