Assistant Professor
Division of Pediatrics Gastroenterology

Project title: Mechanisms of gastric mucosal response to H. pylori infection at acidic pH

George Sachs, MD – UCLA
Charalabos Pothoulakis, MD - UCLA
David R. Scott, PhD - UCLA
Julian P. Whitelegge, PhD - UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
Pediatric Gastroenterology, intestinal failure, intestinal transplant, Helicobacter pylori infection, physiology and membrane biology

Project Description:
H. pylori infects 50% of the world’s population and causes gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcer disease, and gastric cancer. Infection often occurs early in life and remains lifelong without treatment. All infected develop gastritis, and it is unknown why some individuals progress to develop advanced disease. H. pylori lives in an acidic environment at the site of infection, the human gastric mucosa. The aim of this work is to establish model systems that mimic the gastric environment by using gastric cells that form a true epithelium in the setting of physiologic acidity to study host response to infection. Acidity will be modulated in an in vivo gerbil model as well. The goal is to determine factors relevant for progression to advanced disease, which will help improve treatment and decrease incidence of ulcer disease and gastric cancer.