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2020-2021 Jon Isenberg Fellowship

2020-2021 Awardee

Jon I. Isenberg Fellowship Award ($40,000):

The Isenberg Endowed Fellowship jointly awarded by the Pilot/Feasibility Program of the San Diego Digestive Diseases Research Center and the Hellman Family Foundation. The fellowship, given in honor of the late Dr. Jon Isenberg 1979-1993 to promote Dr. Isenberg's lifelong research interests including intestinal epithelial ion transport mechanisms, mucosal defense, peptic ulcer disease, and cystic fibrosis, as applied to the intestine, liver, and biliary system. 

Cristina Llorente​, PhD
Assistant Adjunct Professor
About the Awardee: Dr. Llorente graduated from the Autonomous University of Madrid with a PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biomedicine. After her doctorate, Dr. Llorente completed an internship at Dr. Jerrold Olefsky’s laboratory at UC San Diego, studying the pathogenesis of diabetes and obesity. As a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Schnabl’s laboratory, her focus was to understand the influence of microbiota in liver diseases. Dr. Llorente’s long-term goal is to build a research program dedicated to mechanistically understand the role of host-microbiota interactions in modulating inflammation, the immune system, intestinal homeostasis, to decipher the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the progression of liver diseases, and to discover therapies and molecular targets to alleviate it. Dr. Llorente would like to understand, how its dysregulation orchestrates the development of liver pathologies.

Project Title: "Goblet cells and intestinal immune response in alcohol-associated liver disease"

Summary: Alcohol consumption is the 7th leading risk factor for death worldwide. Alcohol-associated liver disease is the most prevalent ethanol-related illness and is the major cause of advanced liver disease and liver transplantation in Europe and the United States. There is no treatment for alcohol-associated liver disease. Ethanol abuse is associated with intestinal dysbiosis and bacterial overgrowth. Microbiota alterations lead to intestinal barrier dysfunction, facilitating translocation of viable bacteria and microbial products to mesenteric lymph nodes (MLN) and liver, which causes inflammation and progression of liver disease. Increased translocation of microbial products activates the mucosal immune system and secretion of inflammatory mediators, amplifying barrier dysfunction. In turn, the host immune system influences the intestinal microbiota composition. The effect of chronic ethanol overuse on the LP-immune system remains to be fully characterized. This proposal will characterize the implication of goblet cells-mediated regulation of the LP-immune response and the impact in alcohol-associated liver disease in mice and in patients with alcohol use disorder.