Spring Symposium in Neuroscience: Gut Instinct: The influence of the gut on brain and behavior (Please note location and time)  Add To Calendar

Speaker: Jane Foster, McMaster University and John Cryan, University College Cork
  • Date(s): Thursday, 4/20 10:30 AM to Thursday, 4/20 1:30 PM
  • Campus Address: Room 605, Student Center East, 750 South Halsted
The Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience will presenting its Spring Symposium in Neuroscience: "Gut Instinct: The influence of the gut on brain and behavior" on April 20 in Student Center East 605, 750 South Halsted, from 10:30am-1:30pm. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served before, during and after the symposium.

The symposium will feature two fantastic speakers  (Jane Foster, McMaster University and John Cryan, University College Cork) as well as LIN graduate students presenting data blitzes about their research.
The schedule for the symposium is:
10:30 Data blitz by LIN graduate students
10:45 "Mood and microbes: an overview of how microbes influence brain and behavior" by Dr. Jane Foster
11:50 Data blitz by LIN graduate students
12:15 "A Gut Feeling About the Brain: The microbiota as a key regulator of neurodevelopment and behavior" by Dr. John Cryan
1:20 Data blitz by LIN graduate students
Here is more detailed information about the talks.

Dr. Jane Foster
, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University:  "Mood and microbes - an overview of how microbes influence brain and behavior"

Excitement has been generated in mental health research by recent findings from animal and clinical studies demonstrating an important role for gut microbiota in brain function and behaviour. This emerging area of research has researchers and the public starting to take notice of microbes and the mind. Scientists have established a link between gut bacteria and anxiety-like behaviours in animal models and with emotional brain regions in healthy people. Similar observations in rodents and humans related to microbiota-brain influence on stress circuitry and emotional behaviours suggest that aspects of this process are conserved and can be studied in animal models. Our initial results revealed that germ-free mice showed reduced anxiety-like behaviour in the elevated plus maze, a well-established behavioural test that examines approach and avoidance behaviour in mice, in comparison to conventionally housed mice. Additional work by our group and others to date suggest that microbiota influence brain structure, gene expression of stress-related and plasticity-related genes, stress-reactivity, and behaviour. Probiotics are “live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Several studies using animal models and in clinical populations that considers the beneficial effects of probiotics. Advances in the field of microbiota-brain research that relate to neuroscience and psychiatry and whether probiotics have potential in treatment of psychiatric illnesses including anxiety and depression will be considered.  Foster lab twitter: @jfosterlab

Foster Headshot summer 2016 
Dr. John Cryan, Professor and Chair, Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, Ireland: "A Gut Feeling About the Brain: The microbiota as a key regulator of neurodevelopment and behavior"

Abstract:  The brain-gut-microbiota axis is emerging as a research area of increasing interest for those investigating the biological and physiological basis of neurodevelopmental, age-related and neurodegenerative disorders. The routes of communication between the gut and brain include the vagus nerve, the immune system, tryptophan metabolism, via the enteric nervous system or by way of microbial metabolites such as short chain fatty acids. Studies in animal models have shown that the development of an appropriate stress response is dependent on the microbiota. Developmentally, a variety of factors can impact the microbiota in early life including mode of birth delivery, antibiotic exposure, mode of nutritional provision, infection, stress as well as host genetics.  At the other extreme of life, individuals who age with considerable ill health tend to show narrowing in microbial diversity. Stress can significantly impact the microbiota-gut-brain axis at all stages across the lifespan Recently, the gut microbiota has been implicated in a variety of conditions including autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, fundamental brain processes from adult hippocampal neurogenesis to myelination to microglia activation have been shown to be regulated by the microbiome. Further studies will focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying such brain effects and developing nutritional and microbial-based intervention strategies. Twitter: @jfcryan


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