Impact of early life antibiotics on the nervous system of the gut and host physiology

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
2
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Jaime Foong j.foong@unimelb.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Joel Bornstein

Summary Our major research interests are the neural mechanisms and circuits that control intestinal motor functions underlying the digestive process, including both muscle movement and the secretion of water and salt by the mucosa, and how these are disturbed by bacterial toxins. This work involves experimental methods ranging from electrophysiological analysis of synaptic transmission in reflex pathways, to immunohistochemical analysis of enteric neural circuits, to measurements of intestinal movements and secretions both in vitro and in vivo and computer simulation of the networks of neurons that mediate these functions. Much of this work, especially that involving interactions between intestinal movements and secretion, is carried out in close collaboration with Dr Tor Savidge of Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Other international collaborations include a consortium led by Professor Marthe Howard (University of Toledo, Ohio) and funded by NIH whose goal is a predictive anatomical map of the enteric nervous system.

Project Details

Exposure to antibiotic during critical developmental windows have been linked to increased susceptibility to several diseases, including gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders later in life. We have found in mice that exposure to antibiotics early in life during the neonatal period, and in utero (via the female dam) disrupts the developing microbiota, nervous system of the gut and host metabolism. This project will provide critical insights into how antibiotics impacts host physiology, which will aid in elucidating potential circumventive measures for the unwanted side-effects of antibiotic therapy.



Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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