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Jaewon Lee Receives IFER Fellowship for Intestinal Inflammatory Disease Research

photo of Jaewon Lee

The International Foundation for Ethical Research (IFER) has awarded Jaewon Lee, a graduate student working with Professor Hyun Jung Kim, with the IFER Graduate Student Fellowship in Alternatives in Scientific Research.

She received the fellowship for her project, which aims to explore novel therapeutics against intestinal inflammation using the human gut-on-a-chip microphysiological system. Dozens of animal models of intestinal inflammation exist, but they all have limitations including expense, time, ineffectiveness, and ethical challenges that can be overcome with this microengineered human gut model.

Lee plans to co-culture human intestinal cells, gut microbes, and immune cells to reconstitute mechanically active microenvironment of the living human gut. In this biomimetic in vitro mini-gut, she will demonstrate chemically induced inflammation that has been conventionally applied in mice colitis models; she will then examine the therapeutic effect of health-promoting beneficial microbes such as probiotic bacteria that are used in yogurt fermentation, in an effort to reduce and replace animal use in drug development process.