Gwo-Tzer Ho aims to understand how the deregulation of the key intestinal epithelial protective mechanisms which regulate mucosal homeostasis underpin the development of the inflammatory bowel diseases (Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease).
Gwo-Tzer Ho completed his undergraduate- and postgraduate medical training (MBChB 1997 and MRCP 2000) in Glasgow, and his PhD in Edinburgh University under Professor Jack Satsangi (2000-2003). He specialised in gastroenterology in Edinburgh (2003-2008) and has a special interest in the molecular mechanisms in the pathogenesis of IBD. Gwo-Tzer currently holds an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship award and is an honorary consultant gastroenterologist at the Western General Hospital. Gwo-Tzer trained under Professor Balfour Sartor in University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA (2009-2010) studying epithelial-microbial interactions in IBD and moved to the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research in 2011 to establish his current program of in vivo work ,whilst maintaining close collaborations with the Gastrointestinal Unit led by Professor Jack Satsangi at the Centre for Genomic and Experimental Medicine (CGEM).
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are common chronic relapsing inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affecting 0.5% of the population in Northern Europe and USA. The global incidence and prevalence of IBD is set to rise dramatically with the Westernisation of the developing world. Our current understanding of disease pathogenesis remains incomplete and there is a major unmet clinical need for new treatments for these conditions associated with considerable morbidity. My program of work aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which intestinal epithelial dysfunction influence mucosal homeostasis in IBD. A major focus is how distinct inflammatory signals originating from the dysfunctional gut epithelium drives the abnormal inflammation in IBD. We are interested in how mucosal protective processes, in particular epithelial detoxification, autophagy and mitochondrial function, become deregulated leading to the genesis of these inflammatory signals. Our aim is to use this as the basis for the development of new therapies in IBD. Our scientific work is closely integrated to the clinic, where I am actively involved in tertiary IBD patient care (Western General Hospital) and research (Scottish NIHR member and British Society of Gastroenterology Academic committee 2011-present). In recent studies, we have established studies focused on patients as a key link to current findings from our in vivo colitis models (co-PI in Chief Scientist Office-funded IBD biobank 2010-2011).