Cathryn R. Nagler

Research Summary
The Nagler Lab studies the mechanisms governing tolerance to dietary antigens. They were one of the first to identify a link between resident intestinal bacteria and the regulation of mucosal immunity. During the last fifteen years, their work has focused on examining how commensal bacteria regulate susceptibility to allergic responses to food. They have proposed that the striking generational increase in food allergies can be explained, in part, by alterations in the composition and function of the commensal microbiome. In support of this hypothesis, Nagler Lab described a role for a particular population of mucosa-associated commensal bacteria in protection from allergic sensitization in mice. Initial translational studies showed that the composition of the fecal microbiota is altered in infants with cow’s milk allergy. To understand how the microbiota regulates allergic disease in humans they have colonized germ free mice with human bacteria from the feces of healthy or cow’s milk allergic (CMA) infants. The group discovered that mice colonized with CMA infants’ microbiota exhibited an anaphylactic response to the cow’s milk allergen b-lactoglobulin, while mice colonized with healthy infants’ microbiota were protected against an allergic response. They defined a microbiota signature that distinguishes the CMA and healthy populations in both the human donors and the colonized mice. Analysis of gene expression in ileal intestinal epithelial cells of colonized mice identified a significant correlation between the genes associated with allergy protection and taxa from the Lachnospiraceae family, supporting a causal role for specific bacterial species in protection against food allergy. These robust, pre-clinical, gnotobiotic models are an ideal system to identify key host-microbial interactions that contribute to allergic sensitization to food. With support from the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Nagler Lab has created a start-up company, ClostraBio, to develop novel microbiome-modulating therapeutics to prevent or treat food allergy.
Microbiome, Food Allergy, Tolerance
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, Postdoctoral Fellowship Immunology 07/1990
  • NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, Ph.D. Immunology 09/1986
  • Barnard College (Columbia University), New York, NY, BA Biology 05/1979
Biosciences Graduate Program Association
Awards & Honors
  • 2017 - Distinguished Faculty Award for Leadership in Program Innovation University of Chicago
  • 2018 - Tech Top 50 Women Crain's Chicago Business
  • 2019 - Louis M. Mendelson Award Lectureship American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
  • 2019 - Notable Women in Health Care Crain's Chicago Business
  • 2019 - Siegel Lectureship UCLA
  • 2020 - Distinguished Fellow American Association of Immunologists
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  2. New and emerging concepts and therapies for the treatment of food allergy. Immunother Adv. 2022; 2(1):ltac006. View in: PubMed

  3. Interpreting success or failure of peanut oral immunotherapy. J Clin Invest. 2022 01 18; 132(2). View in: PubMed

  4. Host-Microbiota Interactions in the Esophagus During Homeostasis and Allergic Inflammation. Gastroenterology. 2022 02; 162(2):521-534.e8. View in: PubMed

  5. Modern World Influences on the Microbiome and Their Consequences for Immune-Mediated Disease. J Immunol. 2021 10 01; 207(7):1695-1696. View in: PubMed

  6. A wild approach to obesity prevention. Nat Metab. 2021 08; 3(8):1038-1039. View in: PubMed

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  9. Engineered yeast tune down gut inflammation. Nat Med. 2021 Jul; 27(7):1150-1151. View in: PubMed

  10. Publisher Correction: Fiber-poor Western diets fuel inflammation. Nat Immunol. 2021 Jun; 22(6):795. View in: PubMed

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  13. Fecal microbiome and metabolome differ in healthy and food-allergic twins. J Clin Invest. 2021 01 19; 131(2). View in: PubMed

  14. B cells and the microbiota: a missing connection in food allergy. Mucosal Immunol. 2021 01; 14(1):4-13. View in: PubMed

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  46. Multivariate modeling identifies neutrophil- and Th17-related factors as differential serum biomarkers of chronic murine colitis. PLoS One. 2010 Oct 19; 5(10):e13277. View in: PubMed

  47. Vaccine-induced antibody isotypes are skewed by impaired CD4 T cell and invariant NKT cell effector responses in MyD88-deficient mice. J Immunol. 2009 Aug 15; 183(4):2252-60. View in: PubMed

  48. Toll-like receptor 4-mediated regulation of spontaneous Helicobacter-dependent colitis in IL-10-deficient mice. Gastroenterology. 2009 Oct; 137(4):1380-90.e1-3. View in: PubMed

  49. Immunologic responses to Vibrio cholerae in patients co-infected with intestinal parasites in Bangladesh. PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2009; 3(3):e403. View in: PubMed

  50. Lymphocyte-dependent and Th2 cytokine-associated colitis in mice deficient in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein. Gastroenterology. 2007 Oct; 133(4):1188-97. View in: PubMed

  51. Infection with parasitic nematodes confounds vaccination efficacy. Vet Parasitol. 2007 Aug 19; 148(1):14-20. View in: PubMed

  52. The Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein is required for the function of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells. J Exp Med. 2007 Feb 19; 204(2):381-91. View in: PubMed

  53. Immune privilege in the gut: the establishment and maintenance of non-responsiveness to dietary antigens and commensal flora. Immunol Rev. 2006 Oct; 213:82-100. View in: PubMed