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Event Detail (Archived)

Uncovering Mechanisms for Microbiome-Nervous System Interactions

Postdoctoral Researchers’ Sponsored Lecture

  • This event already took place in March 2024
  • Caspary Auditorium

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
Elaine Hsiao, Ph.D., director, UCLA Goodman-Luskin Microbiome Center, De Logi Associate Professor in Biological Sciences, department of integrative biology and physiology, University of California, Los Angeles
Speaker bio(s)

The gut microbiota is emerging as an important modulator of brain function and behavior, as several recent discoveries reveal substantial effects of the microbiome on neurophysiology, neurogenesis, blood brain barrier permeability, neuroimmunity, brain gene expression and animal behavior. Despite these 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, the Hsiao laboratory is 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. They aim to dissect biological circuits for communication between the gut microbiota and nervous system, toward understanding fundamental biological pathways that influence brain and behavior.

Elaine Hsiao leads a laboratory studying fundamental interactions between the microbiome, brain, and behavior, and their applications to neurological disorders. Research from the Hsiao lab has provided foundational evidence for microbiota-based interventions to treat gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms of autism, regulate intestinal motility by controlling serotonin biosynthesis, promote the anti-seizure effects of the ketogenic diet, and alleviate hyperlipidemia in metabolic disease. Their work in these areas form the bases of programs in four biotechnology companies and has led to several honors, including the Blavatnik National Award in Life Sciences, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and New York Academy of Sciences Innovators in Science Award, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Ben Barres Career Award, Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in Neuroscience, Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship in Neuroscience, Kavli Fellowship of the National Academy of Sciences, National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award, Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Science and Healthcare, and National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Award. Elaine received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Caltech, and her B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA.

FLS lectures will take place in Caspary Auditorium and virtually via Zoom. We recommend virtual participants log out of VPN prior to logging in to Zoom. Please do not share the link or post on social media. This talk will not be recorded for the RU community. 

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