Ciona robusta for studies of gut host-microbiome interactions.

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Our lab uses the simple chordate model, Ciona robusta. There are many really good reasons to use Ciona, one of which is the fact that it has a simple (yet complex...) gut ecosystem that is colonized by distinct bacterial communities. We are interested in how the gut is colonized and, more specifically, characterizing the interface between host immunity and microbiomes. Secreted immune effectors serve critical roles at this interface...
Ciona juveniles are transparent and can be grown on plastic dishes, and this facilitates in vivo observations of gut colonization.

We have developed and utilize Ciona germ-free mariculture approaches.

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Ciona juveniles are transparent and are like mini- guts on plastic dishes... by the hundreds or thousands!

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Our research with Ciona has been supported by:
National Science Foundation (IOS and MCB)
All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine Foundation (several earlier studies)
University of South Florida College of Medicine Deans Office (several early studies in Ciona)