The human gut microbiome plays key roles in health and disease. Although diet is a major driver of the microbiota physiology, the gut microbiota-mediated mechanisms that link diet to intestinal disorders and enteric infections are poorly understood. Our work is focused on discerning these mechanisms and underlying eco-immunological processes via colonic mucus barrier−gut microbiota interactions. Since the modern diet of developed countries  includes significantly reduced dietary fiber, we seek to understand how a fiber-deprived gut microbiota impacts human  health.


  • Prof. Eric Martens, University of Michigan, USA
  • Prof. Gabriel Nunez, University of Michigan, USA
  • Prof. Bruce R. Hamaker, Purdue University, USA

Research Projects

Using gnotobiotic mouse models containing fully characterized human gut bacterial communities, we inted to:

  • Study how a fiber-deprived gut microbiota resorts to host-secreted mucin glycoproteins leading to erosion of the colonic mucus barrier
  • Investigate host immune regulation in response to the fiber-deprived gut-microbiota-mediated erosion of the colonic mucus layer
  • Examine changes in host susceptibility to an intestinal pathogen (Citrobacter rodentium) during microbiota-mediated erosion of the colonic mucus layer
  • Design and test practicable prebiotic diets in order to maintain populations of fiber-degrading bacteria

Featured Publications

A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility.

  • Eco-Immunology and Microbiome
  • Genomics Center
November 17, 2016
2016 Nov. Cell.167(5):1339-1353.e21.
  • Desai MS
  • Seekatz AM
  • Koropatkin NM
  • Kamada N
  • Hickey CA
  • Wolter M
  • Pudlo NA
  • Kitamoto S
  • Terrapon N
  • Muller A
  • Young VB
  • Henrissat B
  • Wilmes P
  • Stappenbeck TS
  • Nunez G
  • Martens EC.
See all publications


Mahesh Desai


29, rue Henri Koch
L-4354 Esch-sur-Alzette
Tel. : +352 26970-389