Mechanisms underlying gut microbiome effects on the gut-brain axis
Genomic approaches are greatly advancing our knowledge of the human microbiome and its role in health and disease states. It is becoming clear that the composition of the microbiota varies greatly between individuals, contributes to many diseases and plays an active role in human health. A number of recent studies have shown that the gut microbiota modulates important aspects of human physiology, including the ageing process and the myriad of associated diseases, and also the gut-brain-axis, resulting in effects on neural chemistry, behaviors, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. Thus, the microbiota presents an avenue to target novel treatments to a number of diseases and to modulate brain plasticity and cognitive function during ageing.
Due to the inherent complexity and heterogeneity of the human microbiome this complex relationship between the host and its microbiota is very difficult to disentangle in mammalian systems. I am combining two strong model organisms, the nematode C. elegans and the bacterium E. coli, to identify the microbial and host pathways underlying microbiome effects on the gut-brain axis during ageing. The combination of these two model offers an exceptional experimental model that allows the systematic manipulation of the host and its microbiota, and the use of all the tools these models offer to gain mechanistic insight into microbiome effects on host physiology.
Start Lab in 2017