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Matthew J. Tyska, Ph.D.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
Scientific Director, Cell Imaging Shared Resource

The overarching goal of the Tyska Laboratory is to understand how transporting epithelial cells assemble a functional apical surface. Intestinal epithelial cells in particular build one of the most elaborate apical specializations, an array of microvilli known as the brush border. Our current studies are investigating how enterocytes assemble this domain, how the brush border contributes to maintaining physiological homeostasis, and how perturbation of this interface by inherited or infectious causes leads to human disease. Over the past decade, the Tyska Laboratory has made a number of fundamental and field-leading discoveries on the assembly and function of the brush border interface. Although light and electron microscopy serve as our principle discovery tools, our investigations are decidedly broad in scope, ranging from physiological experiments in mouse model systems to single molecule imaging in live cells. Importantly, the critical physiological significance of the brush border means that many of our basic science findings hold direct relevance for understanding human disease. Indeed, a broad long-term goal is to develop our understanding of molecules and pathways that may be perturbed in GI diseases characterized by loss of the brush border (e.g. enteropathogenic E. coli infection, celiac disease, and microvillus inclusion disease).