Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, the Conan Professor of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been elected to the Association of American Physicians in recognition of his work advancing biomedical science, medicine or health through innovative research.
Stappenbeck, who is also a professor of developmental biology and co-director of the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine, studies how the intestinal microbiome – the bacteria, viruses and other microbes that live in the gut – promotes health or causes disease by interacting with the cells that form the inner surface of the intestine as well as immune and other cells in the gut.
His research has helped define the process of intestinal wound repair. He has uncovered key host cells and molecules that control different phases of this process. His group also has advanced understanding of how specific microbial factors influence stages of repair. Stappenbeck’s work also has contributed to the recognition that the gut microbiome can influence health and disease throughout the body. Using mice, he recently showed that a gut microbe helps prevent severe flu infections, likely by breaking down naturally occurring compounds known as flavonoids commonly found in foods.