Nathalie Vergnolle studies proteases, enzymes that are deregulated in inflammatory bowel diseases. Her work is paving the way for the development of innovative therapies for patients with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome.
Nathalie Vergnolle manages the Digestive Health Research Institute* in Toulouse. She uses intestinal tissue samples taken from patients during biopsies to create mini-intestines in vitro. By studying these mini-organs, the researcher and her team have discovered that inflammatory bowel disease is associated with an overexpression of protease in the intestinal lumen.
The team has also identified a protein capable of inhibiting these proteases called elafin. Patients' intestines produce very little of this protein, so it could be used to help calm their symptoms.
*Inserm unit 1220/INRA/University of Toulouse 3-Paul-Sabatier/National Veterinary School, Toulouse