Wael Elhenawy

Canada Research Chair in Microbiome Research

Tier 2 - 2022-05-01
University of Alberta
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Research summary

Inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s disease, affect more than one in 150 Canadians. Crohn’s disease causes relapsing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, leading to symptoms that severely diminish quality of life for those with the disease. Although the exact cause is unknown, it is believed that gut bacteria drive this inflammation. Understanding the behaviours of the different bacterial groups in the gut is crucial for developing new therapies that can eliminate harmful microbes.

As Canada Research Chair in Microbiome Research, Dr. Wael Elhenawy aims to understand the molecular mechanisms behind the development of bacteria during Crohn’s disease. Using animal infection models and genomics, he and his research team are identifying the factors that enable bacteria in the gut. By unravelling the genetic elements that drive inflammation in the gut, they hope to uncover targets for new antimicrobial therapeutics to treat Crohn’s disease.