The Significance of Gut Bacteria: Microbiome-nervous system interactions in health and disease

The gut microbiota is emerging as an important modulator of brain function and behavior. Recent discoveries reveal substantial effects of the intestinal flora on neurophysiology, neurogenesis, blood brain barrier permeability, neuroimmunity, brain gene expression and animal behavior. To better understand these emergent findings, my lab and others are mining human intestinal flora to further investigate the impact of the microbiota-immune system interactions on neurodevelopment, and examine the interface between gene-environment interactions in neurological diseases. 

2018 Hastorf Lecture
Sponsored by Barbara and Albert Hastorf

The Significance of Gut Bacteria: Microbiome-nervous system interactions in health and disease
Elaine Y. Hsiao, University of California, Los Angeles

Thursday, February 8th, 4:15 pm
Hooker Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College

Despite findings supporting a “microbiome-gut-brain axis”, the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie interactions between the gut microbiota and brain remain poorly understood. To uncover these, my laboratory and others are mining the human microbiota for microbial modulators of host neuroactive molecules, investigating the impact of microbiota-immune system interactions on neurodevelopment and examining the microbiome as an interface between gene-environment interactions in neurological diseases. We aim to dissect biological circuits for communication between the gut microbiota and nervous system, toward understanding fundamental biological pathways that influence brain and behavior.

Free and open to the public ■ Refreshments will be served For more information call 413-538-2338

Elaine Y. Hsiao

Assistant Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Elaine Hsiao

Elaine Y. Hsiao is an emerging leader in the field of gut-brain connections. Her research explores how microbe-nervous system interactions impact mental health and brain development, with a focus on identifying ways to modify the microbiota to treat symptoms of neuropsychiatric diseases. In 2014 Dr. Hsaio was recognized by Forbes 30 under 30 as an innovator in Health and Science. Her work has been featured in top tier journals including Cell, Nature Neuroscience, and Biological Psychiatry. More recently, Dr. Hsiao was named one of 2015’s Emerging Explorers by National Geographic and she was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.