Sean R. Moore, MD

Sean R. Moore, MD white coat head shot

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is the largest tissue interface of humans with their environment, providing a massive surface area for: 1) the absorption of energy from food for growth and sustenance and 2) symbiosis with—or defense against—trillions of gut microbes. The Moore Lab studies the structure and function of the GI tract in the context of childhood nutrition, growth, immunity, and host-microbe interactions. We draw inspiration from the children whom we care for locally at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital and, globally, by the search for breakthroughs to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals 2 and 3.

A long-term goal is to elucidate underlying mechanisms of diarrhea and undernutrition and improve therapies to break their vicious cycle in low-resource settings. Both conditions remain major causes of childhood deaths in the developing world. With partners at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan and the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil, we are engaged in field studies of childhood diarrhea, undernutrition, and environmental enteric dysfunction (EED). These include clinical trials of repair nutrients and observational, tissue-based studies of EED.

In the laboratory, we are refining mouse models of environmental enteric dysfunction as pre-clinical platforms for EED discovery. This work has sparked explorations into the role of intestinal stem cells and the microbiome in the pathogenesis and reversal of EED and other forms of intestinal failure. Exploiting recent advances in intestinal stem cell organoid models, we have also been exploring the role of aging, circadian rhythms, and microbial metabolites in GI functions and in diverse manifestations of enteric infections with the pathogens Clostridium difficile and Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

In the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition at the University of Virginia, we are partnering with ImproveCareNow to apply best evidence in pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) to improve outcomes for the hundreds of children with IBD cared for by UVa clinicians.

The Moore Lab is directed by Dr. Sean Moore, a physician-scientist with a background in pediatrics, gastroenterology, global health, and intestinal biology. He joined the Department of Pediatrics at UVa in 2016 as Director of Research for the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Nutrition.