Various MacART members were on hand at POND Science Day on November 30th – a workshop to share recent findings, network with colleagues, and help set the research agenda for the project’s renewal.
Jane Foster gave an overview of mouse work that looks at how microbiota and the immune system influence brain structure and behaviour. Some key points include:
- MRI analysis of germ-free mice lacking exposure to all microbes revealed global changes in brain structure that are not restored if reconstituted in early adolescence.
- Gene-environment interactions influence the composition of gut microbiota – the Foster lab is working to determine how these interactions influence brain regions that regulate social behaviour.
- Gene-environment interactions influence the composition of gut microbiota – the Foster lab has identified specific gut bacteria that influence anxiety-like behaviour in mice.
Jane also gave an update on the immunophenotyping platform for POND. Four sites are now collecting blood samples to examine inflammatory markers and immune cells in peripheral blood. This work will help identify biological differences in individuals with neurodevelopment disorders.
It is exciting to see such cutting-edge research being done by our members!