Rodney D. Newberry, MD
Professor of Medicine
Dr. Newberry joined the Gastroenterology Division faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in 1998. He received his M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine in 1987. He completed his internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship at Barnes Hospital. Dr. Newberry’s major research interest is the function of the mucosal immune system in health and disease. Dr. Newberry’s clinical interests include intestinal inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and celiac disease.
“The gastrointestinal immune system is continuously exposed to luminal antigens in the form of normal microbial flora and non-pathogenic dietary antigens. Crucial to normal gastrointestinal function is the ability of the gastrointestinal immune system to avoid a potentially damaging inflammatory response to non-pathogenic luminal antigens, despite the concurrent exposure to bacterial stimuli known to induce inflammatory responses in other lymphoid organs. The major aim of our research is to understand the mechanisms allowing tolerogenic responses to predominate in intestinal immune responses, and to identify pathways to manipulate these responses in a therapeutic manner.”
Our laboratory investigates how the intestinal immune system maintains the delicate balance between tolerance to innocuous substances, such as those derived from the diet, while maintaining the ability to mount inflammatory responses to potential infectious organisms. Using state of the art imaging techniques we have discovered a novel mechanism delivering innocuous substances across the epithelium to immune cells in the intestine. Further studies are underway to define how this delivery mechanism is regulated and its role in tolerance to substances in the diet. We are also investigating how diet and other environmental cues shape the intestinal immune system to induce protective immunity and repair of the epithelium.