The human body is estimated to contain 100 trillion bacteria–at least 10 times the number of human cells present. Dr. Surana’s research explores the nexus between these bacteria normally present in the body–collectively referred to as the microbiota–and the host immune system. His work focuses on two primary areas: 1. identifying specific bacteria that have immunomodulatory effects, and 2. understanding the mechanisms through which the host recognizes these immunomodulatory commensal organisms. Dr. Surana uses a combination of immunological tools, germ-free and gnotobiotic mice, and relevant animal models of disease to refine the biological mechanisms underlying the intricate balance between intestinal health and disease. Appreciating how the microbiota and the intestinal immune system are intertwined is critical to understanding the development and maintenance of mucosal immunity. Gaining insight into these relationships will allow future work to focus on clinically-relevant means of manipulating these mechanisms to treat patients with inflammatory conditions.
About Neeraj Surana
Dr. Surana received undergraduate degrees in Biology, Economics, and Biochemistry at Indiana University. He subsequently joined the MD/PhD program at Washington University School of Medicine. During his graduate work in the laboratory of Joseph St. Geme, III, Dr. Surana studied mechanisms of protein secretion in gram-negative bacteria. He completed his pediatric residency and fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2010, Dr. Surana joined the laboratory of Dennis Kasper in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School to study the interactions between the microbiota and the host immune system. He joined the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2012.
Chung, H., Pamp, S.J., Hill, J.A., Surana, N.K., Edelman, S.M., Troy, E.B., Reading, N.C., Villablanca, E.J., Wang, S., Mora, J.R., Umesaki, Y., Mathis, D., Benoist, C., Relman, D.A., Kasper, D.L. (2012) Gut immune maturation depends upon colonization with host specific microbiota. Cell. 149: 1578-93.
Surana, N.K. and Kasper, D.L. (2012) The yin yang of bacterial polysaccharides: Lessons learned from B. fragilis PSA. Immunol Rev. 245: 13-26.