Dr. Elaine Y. Hsiao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology & Physiology at UCLA, where she leads a laboratory studying fundamental interactions between the microbiome, brain and behavior, and their applications to neurological disorders. Her previous work on neuroimmune contributions to neurodevelopment and behavior led to the finding that postnatal modification of the microbiota improves gastrointestinal and behavioral symptoms in mouse models of genetic and environmental risk factors for autism. In addition, her laboratory identified select bacteria from the healthy human microbiome that promote host serotonin biosynthesis in the gut. Inspired by this interplay between the microbiota and nervous system, the Hsiao laboratory is mining the human microbiota for microbial modulators of host neuroactive molecules, investigating the impact of microbiota-immune system interactions on neurodevelopment and examining the microbiome as an interface between gene-environment interactions in neurological diseases.). Our work in this area, and on neuroimmune interactions in autism, has led to several honors, including the National Institutes of Health Director’s Early Independence Award, distinction as Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Science and Healthcare, National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Award and fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health and Autism Speaks. Elaine received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Caltech, and her B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics form UCLA.
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