Alessio Fasano, MD, is W. Allan Walker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). His visionary research, which established the rate of celiac disease at one in 133 people, led to the awareness of celiac disease as a growing public health problem in the United States. Dr. Fasano founded the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment in 1996, where he treats adults and children for gluten-related disorders.
Dr. Fasano is also Director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center (MIBRC) at MGHfC. In 2000, he and his team discovered the protein zonulin, opening up the door to a new way of looking at the function of intestinal permeability, not only as it affects the gut, but also what role it plays in both inflammation and autoimmunity throughout the body. Current research directed by Dr. Fasano encompasses both basic science focused on bacterial pathogenesis, the gut microbiome and intestinal mucosal biology, as well as translational science focused on interventional clinical trials in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
Led by Dr. Fasano, MIBRC researchers are looking at how qualitative or quantitative defects in the regulation of the immune system and the role of dysbiosis can lead to the onset and progression of celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders. Dr. Fasano’s objective is to understand the molecular