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Andrea M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy


Neuroscience, gut-brain axis, mood disorders, autoimmunity, gut microbiome and the immune system

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Diet, culture and YOU

You are what you eat, but how much does your diet explain your personality? Here we examine the current literature examining how diet, intestinal microbiome, and the culture around food can mediate behavior and mood. Much of biomedical science is focused on disease states, but here we will examine what is known about how healthy diets can influence us every day. As we learn and read the current primary literature together, we will understand current recommendations as well as the limit of our understanding. The result will be a review manuscript of the current scientific literature.

Do microorganisms control us?

One of my lab-mates is convinced that we act as "meat puppets" for the microorganisms with whom we coexist. Is this in fact the case? Do the bacteria of our guts dictate our food preferences? Can protozoan parasites cause us to be more reckless? Can a fungus actually turn someone into a zombie? These questions and more will be answered as we explore how several species coexist with microorganisms. Together we can develop a literature review of the relationships between macro- and micro- organisms, or create the next sci-fi novella based on our understanding of the potential of bacteria to change our lives.

Current Methods of Studying Stress

The human experience is complex and unique, however biomedical science primarily relies on animals models. Here we will examine whether or not animals can experience stress and how that can be tested in the lab. At the end of this experience, students will have a working understanding of how we study stress in laboratory. Students will be able to critically examine the validity of experimental models, and will use this knowledge to design a "grant proposal" for a series of experiments to answer the question of their choice.

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