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Professor Fiona Powrie, Director of the Kennedy Institute has received the inaugural Lloyd Mayer award at the first annual Mount Sinai - Weill Cornell joint symposium, for her work on inflammatory bowel disease.

An intestine (blue) infected with Citrobacter rodentium bacteria (red) © Johanna Pott and Kevin Maloy, William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.
An intestine (blue) infected with Citrobacter rodentium bacteria (red)

The meeting was established to honour the late Lloyd F. Mayer, M.D., an American gastroenterologist and immunologist who was Co-Director of Mount Sinai's Immunology Institute, which he helped found.

When receiving her award, Professor Powrie discussed the impact of Professor Mayer's work for the field of gastroenterology. Professor Powrie said, "Lloyd was an outstanding clinician scientist and his work deciphering the cellular networks that control intestinal homeostasis inspired a generation of mucosal immunologists and gastroenterologists. It is a great honour to receive an award in his name".

Professor Mayer made seminal discoveries for understanding of human intestinal immunity and pioneered the concept that epithelial "barrier" cells in the intestine regulate the behaviour of surrounding immune cells.

His research suggested the failure of epithelial cells to activate a specific subset of suppressor T regulatory (Treg) cells could promote inappropriate inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease.

Treg cells dampen the immune response and Professor Powrie's work has characterised how they prevent inflammation in the intestine; she has also demonstrated that Treg cell deficiencies could lead to chronic intestinal inflammatory disease.

The symposium was attended by leading scientists in the field of intestinal immunology, and by members of Professor Mayer's family.