Trillions of microbes inhabit the human gastrointestinal tract and are known to influence metabolism and immunity. However, relatively little is known about how these organisms influence our behavior. As gut bacteria participate in digestion, they change levels of macromolecules, such as carbohydrates, within the gut as well as produce neuromodulators as byproducts. Due to these factors, we hypothesized that gut bacteria can modulate metabolically related behaviors, such as locomotion. This talk will discuss specific bacteria and a bacterially-derived molecule that have been found to alter locomotion in flies. Locomotion is a behavior critical for the survival of an organism and is part of the progression of certain disease states. When combined with our results, this suggests that the gut microbiota is an important factor to consider in a variety of neurological pathways and diseases.
Refreshments available prior to the lecture.
The Everhart Lecture Series is a forum encouraging interdisciplinary interaction among graduate students and faculty, the sharing of ideas about research developments, as well as a space to discuss controversies. Everhart Lectures allow for the recognition of individual Caltech student's exemplary presentation and research abilities. Lecturers discuss scientific topics and research topics of concern to graduate students and faculty.
Each Fall, graduate student lecturers are selected to present their ideas as part of a series of lectures.