Featured event

Toxoplasma gondii on colorful background

qBio Seminar Series: Laura Knoll

Event Details

When: January 25, 2017, 2:00 PM

Location: 3rd Floor Orchard View Room , Discovery Building

Contact: 608-316-4401, hstampfli@wisc.edu

Laura Knoll

Laura Knoll

Gut-brain communication: insight from multi-omics of the brain and its resident parasite

The gut-brain axis bidirectionally links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with intestinal functions. Our understanding of the gut-brain axis has recently expanded to include signaling from the gut microbiota, now termed the microbiome-gut-brain axis. My lab studies a common parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, which establishes a permanent residence in the brains of almost half of the world’s human population. We have recently discovered that this latent infection of Toxoplasma can alter the metabolism of animals, as infected mice had reduced weight gain, even on a high fat diet. This inability to gain weight is independent of food intake but dependent on fat absorption. Mice with latent Toxoplasma infection ate equal amounts of high fat chow as uninfected mice, but the vast majority of the fat is excreted in the feces. We are using multi-omics strategies to provide insight on how latent Toxoplasma infection controls metabolism. These studies will expand our understanding of the gut-brain axis to include signaling from resident brain microbes to gut metabolism pathways.

All qBio sponsored talks take place on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. in the 3rd floor Orchard View room of the Discovery Building unless otherwise noted. Talks are open to the public. Access to the room is via the elevator behind Aldo’s Cafe in the Northeast corner of the building.