About Elaine Hsiao's Work
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.