The Influence of the Infant Microbiome on Brain Development
Andrew Alexander of the University of Wisconsin in the U.S. will analyze the relationship between the numbers and types of microbes found in the gut (microbiome) with brain and cognitive development in infants. They hypothesize that cognitive performance such as motor control and visual processing may be modulated by changes in the microbiome, which in turn may predict functional and structural changes in the brain. They will use magnetic resonance imaging to assess brain development in 24 infants at age 4 months and then again at 12 months, along with cognitive tests and 16S rRNA gene sequencing to analyze the composition of their microbiomes. They will develop tools to analyze the temporal relationship between cognitive performance, brain development and the microbiome.