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Lora Hooper is interested in how resident intestinal bacteria influence the biology of humans and other mammalian hosts. More specifically, Hooper and her team want to understand the immune mechanisms that limit the ability of these resident bacteria to cross intestinal barriers and enter host tissues. Using a mix of experimental approaches, the team works to define antimicrobial protein function and to determine how intestinal immune cells detect and respond to intestinal bacteria. Their aim is to obtain a detailed, mechanistic understanding of how the immune system copes with enormous numbers of symbiotic intestinal bacteria.