– Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine
– Associate Director, Academic Programs and Training in Gastroenterology
– The University of Chicago Medicine
Dr. Eugene Chang has been studying host-microbial interactions of the intestine, particularly in defining communication signals/pathways that are involved in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. These studies are also aimed at better understanding how perturbations or types of enteric flora contribute to the development of digestive diseases, especially inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). As part of his research, Dr. Chang has defined several novel mechanisms and mediators of action of probiotic organisms that are currently being developed as therapeutic agents. One of the major actions of the enteric microbes is the maintenance of intestinal, epithelial heat shock proteins inherently important for enhancing cellular protection against immune/inflammatory stress, inhibiting apoptosis, and suppressing intestinal inflammation.
In addition, Dr. Chang is interested in the study of intestinal epithelial biology and pathobiology. His investigations include studies of the function and regulation of apical membrane Na-H exchangers (NHEs) that are major mediators of Na absorption by the intestine. He has been particularly interested in defining adaptor proteins involved in membrane trafficking of NHEs and functional coupling with other membrane transporters. He is also investigating the acute and chronic effects of immune and inflammatory mediators on epithelial barrier and transport functions.
Dr. Chang’s laboratory is developing serological and tissue biomarkers predictive of risk for colorectal, hepatocellular, and esophageal cancers.