null Irah King, PhD

Scientist, RI-MUHC, Glen site

Translational Research in Respiratory Diseases Program

Centre for Translational Biology

Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University



infection and immunity • microbiome • intestine and other barrier tissues

Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding how immune cells communicate with their local environment to promote protective responses relevant to human disease. I am particularly interested in barrier tissues such as the intestine, lung and skin, which contain a complex network of immune cells patrolling just beneath the surface to protect us from environmental insults and pathogen invasion. The importance of the immune system at these sites is underscored by individuals with immunodeficiencies who suffer from recurrent life-threatening mucocutaneous infections and inflammatory disorders. When the host defense system is not tightly regulated, unchecked responses lead to chronic inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, fibrosis and psoriasis. My research team also investigates how commensal microbes that reside on or in us, referred to as our microbiota, shape immunity to infection and impact inflammation. Collectively, our work aims to identify tissue-specific mechanisms of immune defense that will inform clinical approaches to maximize health and minimize disease.

Research initiative
McGill Centre for Microbiome Research

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • Karo-Atar D*, Gregorieff A, King IL*. Dangerous liaisons: how helminths manipulate the intestinal epithelium. Trends in Parasitology 2023 April 17. PMID: 37076358.

  • Karo-Atar D, Javkar T, Ouladan S, Joumier L, Matheson MK, Merritt S, Westfall S, Rochette A, Gentile ME, Fontes G, Parisien M, Diatchenko L, Von Moltke J, Malleshaiah M, Gregorieff A*, King IL*. Helminth-induced reprogramming the intestinal stem cell compartment inhibits type 2 immunity. Journal of Experimental Medicine 2022 Sept 5; 219(9):e20212311. PMID: 35938990.

  • Singh A, Li Y, Mirzaei MK, Shamash M, Samadfan R, King IL*, Maurice CF*. Transplantation of bacteriophages from ulcerative colitis patients shifts the gut bacteriome and exacerbates DSS-colitis severity. Microbiome 2022 Jul 8;10(1):105.PMID: 35799219.

  • Polese B, Thurairajah B, Zhang H, Leung Soo C, MacMahon CA, Fontes G, Hussain SNA, Abadie V, King IL*. Prostaglandin E2 amplifies IL-17 production by gd T cells during barrier inflammation. Cell Reports 2021 Jul 27;36(4):109456. PMID: 34320346.

  • King IL, Divangahi M. Training the metaorganism: the microbial counterpart. Cell. 2021 Feb 4;184(3):574-576. PMID: 33545033.