Meghali Nighot, MVSc, PhD

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    Research interests

    Dr. Meghali Nighot's research has been focused on colonic homeostasis in health and disease. Her lab is interested especially in the role of intestinal tight junction (TJ) barrier in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and alcoholic liver disease. Alterations in luminal pH and microbiome are known to affect intestinal TJ barrier and defects in TJ barrier promotes penetration of luminal antigens leading to excessive immune and inflammatory response.

    Emerging evidence shows that the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is increasingly associated with Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, alteration in the microbiome, and colitis. In a Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America funded study, we are examining how PPI changes colonic physiology via novel intracellular pH mechanisms, regulation of TJ barrier through intracellular endocytic processes, and colonic microbiome. Our studies will provide basis to understand why long term PPI usage in IBD patients may worsen the intestinal TJ barrier and affect the quality of life for IBD patients.

    The lab's pioneering studies have shown that long term use of PPI affects the expression of various gastric and non-gastric H+K+ATPase and can disrupt the intestinal TJ barrier. In clinical projects, the lab is also studying the effect of long term use PPI's on the patients with IBD, celiac and liver diseases, in collaboration with the leading Gastroenterologists.

    Meghali Nighot's lab is also interested in the role of potassium in colonic homeostasis, intestinal TJ barrier and gut microbiome in Ulcerative colitis and Microscopic colitis. The lab is also investigating gut-liver axis in terms of gut microbiome alterations. A special interest is in Enterococcus faecalis and its role in intestinal TJ barrier in IBD and colon cancer. Nighot's lab employs in vivo approaches including several mouse models of IBD, liver diseases, and microbiome alterations, and in-vitro cellular and molecular techniques and imaging in their research. 

    Teaching and educational interests

    Dr. Meghali Thakre Nighot is passionate about the teaching and education of medical and graduate students. She is currently in the GI Pathophysiology course for medical students and facilitates problem-based learning sessions.


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