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Alessio Fasano, MD: How a Cholera Researcher Became an Expert on Autoimmune Disease

Alessio Fasano, MD; Craig Gustafson

Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal (IMCJ): Your most widely known work is related to celiac disease and autoimmune disease. How did you get interested in this research? Dr Fasano: Originally, I was not interested at all. In the early days, I was really focused on diarrheal diseases, believe it or not, particularly infective diarrhea diseases like cholera. Being a pediatric gastroenterologist, I focused on what is the most impactful science I can do to make a difference. We still lose 4 or 5 million kids a year to diarrheal disease. It seems to be insane, but that is the truth. So, that is what I was focusing on, to understand how pathogens cross-talk with us to achieve whatever goal they need to achieve. As a byproduct of that interaction, you got sick with diarrheal disease, so you die from dehydration.

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