Dr. Bienenstock has published more than 380 peer reviewed articles and other publications. He has authored, edited and co-edited several books including the standard text on mucosal immunology, now in its third edition. He is known best for his work in mucosal immunity in which he pioneered the concept of a common mucosal immune system and developed the first full description of bronchus associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) and its involvement in the mucosa associated lymphoid tissue system of the body. His more recent work has related to an elucidation of mechanisms of allergy, mucosal immunology, and most particularly, the interactions between mast cells and other cells of the immune system with the nervous system.
Current work tries to begin to explain the mechanisms of action of probiotic organisms through study of their interactions with intestinal epithelial cells and uses many molecular and cell biological approaches in vitro and in vivo. Continuing study of communication pathways between mast cells and nerves in co-culture represents another long-term interest.
As Director of the new Brain-Body Institute at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Dr. Bienenstock is developing a group of neuroscientists and imagers together with several colleagues in Radiology, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology and Respirology. The BBI includes an unusual imaging facility (Imaging Research Centre) which has a functional 3T MRI and unique wide field of view PET. The objective of this new institute is to have an integrated approach to the study of the role of the brain and nervous system in regulation of somatic disease. Research interests include functional disorders, depression, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome. The BBI has purpose-built facilities in imaging and within the year will occupy new laboratory space in the new tower under construction at St. Joseph’s.