Wendy Garrett

Associate Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases

Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

665 Huntington Avenue
Building 1, Room 909
Boston, Massachusetts 02115



The focus of my research program is host-microbiota interactions in health and disease. My laboratory studies the interplay between the gastrointestinal immune system and the gut microbiota in health, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer  (CRC). Inflammatory bowel disease afflicts over 4 million persons worldwide and colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death. Our IBD and CRC focused research program is directly tied to the core mission and objectives of Harvard Chan to address problems of critical import to public health.

Our research in mucosal immunology focuses on how the gut microbiota influence both innate (myeloid cell) and adaptive (T cell) populations and the contribution of these cells to immune homeostasis and disease. Our studies of the gut microbiota have focused on complex communities of gut microbes as well as specific species from the Enterobacteriaceae Family, Fusobacterium genus, and lactic-acid producing bacterial clades. We have identified both specific species, pathways, and metabolites made by the microbiota that influence health and disease states.

My laboratory’s research interests center on microbes and immune cells that are not only instrumental in potentiating carcinogenesis but also that are integral to intestinal homeostasis. In this way, we are poised to actualize our basic science findings to promote health and combat disease.

We use a multi-faceted approach to address our research questions, including meta’omics, microbiology, cellular immunology, biochemistry, cell biology, and cancer biology. We employ mouse models, human specimens, and primary and transformed mammalian cells and bacterial cells in our experiments. We endeavor to move facilely between large human data sets and in vivo and in vitro model systems with a core mission of determining basic biologic mechanism and realizing our findings for precision medicine. Our science and our research group are highly collaborative. We have deep collaborations with many laboratories at institutions in the greater Boston area, Harvard-affiliated hospitals and institutes, and national and international research centers.