Episode 6: The microbiome, autism, and serotonin production with Dr. Elaine Hsiao

On this week’s podcast we talked with Dr. Elaine Hsiao from California Institute of Technology.  Dr. Hsiao recently started her own laboratory where she studies how the microbes in our gut modulate neural activity and complex behaviors. We talked with Elaine about her most recent paper describing how the microbiome plays a role in regulating serotonin production as well as a paper she published in 2013 describing the microbiome’s connection to regulating autism-related behaviors.

On the podcast this week we discussed:

  • (2:20) Last week’s guests Erica and Justin Sonnenburg were featured in a New York Magazine article. Read the article
  • (3:48) The Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health launched a grand challenge titled Addressing Newborn and Infant Gut Health Through Bacteriophage-Mediated Microbiome Engineering. Learn more
  • (6:22) uBiome launched a clinical laboratory. Read more
  • (7:56) Second Genome partnered with the University of Cork in Ireland to develop therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases. Read more.
  • (9:02) Dupont recently acquired Taxon Biosciences, a microbiome company. Read more
  • (11:15) A caller asked how long his microbiome would take to recover to it’s previous state after taking antibiotics. We based the answer on a paper by David Relman published in 2010. Read the paper.
  • (16:19) We start the interview with Elaine Hsiao. Check out her laboratory webpage.
  • (18:00) We talked with Elaine about her seminal paper on the microbiome and it’s possible connection to autism spectrum disorders. Read the paper.
  • (31:06) We talked with Elaine about her recent paper showing that gut bacteria are important for production of serotonin. Read the paper.

We will be back in two weeks with Drs. Eugene Chang and Vanessa Leone from the University of Chicago discussing how the microbiome may be involved in the complex relationship between disruptions to circadian rhythms and obesity. Please call in with any questions for Bill and David or for Drs. Chang and Leone to 518-945-8583.