RESEARCH GROUP

Rescigno Group

Mucosal Immunology and Microbiota Lab
  • Maria Rescigno Group Leader, Mucosal Immunology and Microbiota Lab View More

Contact Information

  • Address
    Building C, Humanitas University Campus, Pieve Emanuele (MI), Italy
  • Telephone
    +39 02 8224 5431
  • E-mail
    maria.rescigno@hunimed.eu

Our research aims at dissecting the crosstalk between the host – especially the immune system – and gut microbiota, with the final aim of understanding its role in disease development.

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The challenge

In the human body there are approximately 30 trillion human cells and around 39 trillion bacteria, living in different niches and organs, the principal one being the gut. Thanks to new advancements in technology, we are just starting to unveil the extraordinary power that these organisms have in maintaining our health and contributing to many high-impact diseases, such as cancer, immune-mediated, systemic and neurological diseases.

Main research areas

Mucosal immunology

We have shown that dendritic cells actively participate to bacterial uptake in the gut, and that the local microenvironment dictates immune homeostasis by releasing factors that control the activity of immune cells in the gut. We also discovered the existence of a gut vascular barrier that resembles the blood brain barrier and that restrains bacteria from entering the blood stream. Current research projects are investigating the mechanisms behind its disruption, which appear to be a key feature of several disorders in the gut-liver axis.

Cancer immunotherapy

We have shown that bacteria can drive the establishment of gap junctions between tumor cells and immune cells for an efficient priming of anti-tumor immunity able to prevent cancer development or counter its progression. We have also developed tumor-specific bacteria that act as intelligent missiles, targeting and killing cancer cells.

Gut-brain axis

We recently identified a new choroid plexus vascular barrier (PVB) which receives and integrates information coming from the gut and is fundamental in the modulation of the gut-brain axis. Several pathologies – gastrointestinal, systemic and neurological disorders – are linked to functional dysregulation of either the more known gut vascular barrier, or the PVB, and are associated to the translocation of bacterial metabolites, microbes, inflammatory molecules, toxins and immune cells across these barriers.

    Selected Publications

  • Rescigno selected publications

    Azzolini, ED, Levi, R. Sarti, R., Pozzi, C. Mollura, M. Mantovani, A., and Rescigno, M; Association Between BNT162b2 Vaccination and Long COVID After Infections Not Requiring Hospitalization in Health Care Workers ...

Group Members