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John Garber, MD
Over the past decade, John Garber, MD, has been deeply engaged in a dual program of clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology, while at the same time cultivating basic and translational research experience that has enabled me to focus on aspects of specific gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)—diseases whose pathogenesis are increasingly recognized to arise at the intersection of epithelial biology, host immunology and response to pathogens and dysregulated innate immune/allergic signaling processes. My initial experience in the lab during my fellowship provided me with a fundamental framework for approaching epithelial cell biology and the role of cytoskeletal regulation in maintaining gut homeostasis and response to pathogens. This work naturally complemented a growing clinical practice focusing on patients with IBD, and helped set the stage for subsequent human immunology studies of celiac disease and EoE. In the spring of 2012, I joined the full-time faculty in the Gastrointestinal Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and in 2014 I helped establish the Adult Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic at MGH, which brings together gastroenterologists, allergists and nutritionists, and represents the first such clinic in the U.S. that provides coordinated, multidisciplinary care to adult EoE patients while also serving as a central mechanism for organizing cutting-edge basic and translational research on the underlying biology of EoE. During this time, my own laboratory has worked toward establishing novel methods for detailed studies of tissue eosinophils, and our initial efforts have specifically focused on understanding the roles of eosinophil integrins and vascular adhesion molecules and the mechanisms of eosinophil-epithelial cross talk in the pathogenesis of EoE. Utilizing the truly special resource of a large cohort of EoE patients while taking advantage of the significant research expertise in human immunology and translational research available at MGH and across Harvard Medical School, we have a unique opportunity to advance our fundamental understanding of the pathogenesis and potential treatments of EoE.