Dr. Alessio Fasano is the W. Allan Walker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. He is also the Director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MGHfC. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which bacterial pathogenesis, activity of the gut microbiome, and intestinal mucosal biology impact the development of chronic inflammatory conditions such as celiac disease. As part of this research, he discovered zonulin, a protein responsible for regulating intestinal tight-junctions. Recently, he turned this expertise to the study of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) – a life threatening illness that can develop in children weeks after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In a seminal study, his team showed that a SARS-CoV-2 reservoir in the gut and associated intestinal permeability can allow viral spike protein to leak into the blood in a manner that can drive hyperinflammation in patients with the disease.