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After a PhD in Bologna, Emrah Altindis was Postdoc with Professor John Mekalanos at Harvard Medical School from 2014 - 2018. His second Postdoc was with Prof Ronald Kahn at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School. In 2018 Emrah reported the identification of functional viral insulinlike peptides. This discovery opened up an entirely new field that aims to understand the role that microbial hormones play in autoimmune diseases and cancer. Emrah is now Assistant Professor at Boston College Biology Department and an adjunct faculty member of the Joslin Diabetes Center, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The research of his group focuses on i) functional characterization of viral hormones and ii) the potential role of the gut microbiome in triggering type 1 diabetes autoimmunity.

Selected publications

Girdhar K, Dogru YD, Huang Q, Yang Y, Tolstikov V, Raisingani A, Chrudinova M, Oh J, Kelley K, Ludvigsson JF, Kiebish MA, Palm NW, Ludvigsson J, Altindis E. Dynamics of the gut microbiome, IgA response, and plasma metabolome in the development of pediatric celiac disease. Microbiome. 2023;11:9.

Moreau F, Kirk NS, Zhang F, Gelfanov V, List EO, Chrudinová M, Venugopal H, Lawrence MC, Jimenez V, Bosch F, Kopchick JJ, DiMarchi RD, Altindis E, Kahn CR. Interaction of a viral insulin-like peptide with the IGF-1 receptor produces a natural antagonist. Nat Commun. 2022;13:6700.

Girdhar K, Huang Q, Chow IT, Vatanen T, Brady C, Raisingani A, Autissier P, Atkinson MA, Kwok WW, Kahn CR,Altindis E. A gut microbial peptide and molecular mimicry in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022;119:e2120028119.

Altindis E, Cai W, Sakaguchi M, Zhang F, GuoXiao W, Liu F, De Meyts P, Gelfanov V, Pan H, DiMarchi R, et al. Viral insulin-like peptides activate human insulin and IGF-1 receptor signaling: A paradigm shift for host-microbe interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018; 115:2461-66.


Dr Valentine Macaulay


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