The Claud laboratory is focused on understanding the role of microbes in development of the preterm infant. Her laboratory utilizes state-of-the-art experimental approaches including cultivation-independent molecular analyses of microbial community structure and function as well as in vitro and in vivo modeling of intestinal and brain development. She is using both 16S rRNA-derived data and shotgun metagenomic analyses to demonstrate differences in microbial community taxonomy, function, and temporal development in preterm infants. She has also developed a model of host/microbe interaction in which fecal microbiome samples from preterm infants are transfaunated to pregnant germ free dams resulting in pups with a growth phenotype that matches that of the human infant source of the microbiome community. She is the PI of the MIND (Microbiome in Neonatal Development) cohort which has established a biorepository of microbiome samples with corresponding clinical, social, and environment data of preterm infants from birth to school age.
The Sanders research group studies the diverse cellular and molecular mechanisms that are necessary for the formation of the early embryo and nervous system, stem cell behavior and tissue regeneration. Congenital malformations and birth defects remain the leading cause of infant mortality posing innumerable challenges for children as well as society. Despite our numerous insights into early embryonic and fetal life, a more detailed understanding is essential for the diagnosis and eventual treatment of complex congenital disorders. The Sanders laboratory is located within the Grossman Institute for Neuroscience, Quantitative Biology and Human Behavior and is an active research program within Development, Regeneration and Stem Cell Biology. Combining classical embryological approaches with sophisticated genetic manipulations, Dr. Sanders and his group interrogate cell signaling and patterning at the molecular level through high resolution and technically advanced imaging techniques. His work has described a novel cellular organelle termed specialized filopodia or cytonemes present in diverse developmental contexts which serves as the fundamental mechanism by which the early embryo forms.