Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis and Neurodegenerative Disorders
By age 45, around 20% of women and 10% of men are impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease, the primary cause of dementia. As of 2023, over 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s, a figure expected to nearly double by 2050. The economic burden is immense, with costs reaching $345 billion in 2023 and anticipated to soar to $1 trillion by 2050. The gut microbiome, comprising about 1,000 bacterial species, is a key research area, particularly for its role in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, although the complexity of its interactions is not fully understood. The significance of these bacteria in brain function is increasingly recognized, yet their precise functions and interactions remain largely uncharted. The complexity of the gut microbiome, possessing genetic material far exceeding that in the human genome, adds to the challenge of deciphering these interactions.
Jess Woolston, a PhD student at ABNEL, Northeastern University since September 2023, focuses her research on the microbiome-gut-brain axis and its influence on neurodegenerative diseases. Utilizing microfluidic organ-on-a-chip technology, she investigates the role of bacterial extracellular vesicles in these diseases, an approach pivotal for understanding the mechanisms of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in Alzheimer’s disease. Jess’s master’s thesis, which concentrated on the vaginal microbiome and bacterial vaginosis, refined her expertise in microbial analysis and laboratory practices. This formative period played a significant role in shaping her current research pursuits, particularly in her understanding of complex biological systems and their influence on human health.
M.S. Biomedical Sciences
Ghent University ’23
B.S. Biomedical Sciences
Ghent University ’21
The Principal Investigator of ABNEL, Dr. Abigail Koppes, will be presenting a keynote during this year's TERMIS World Congress. TERMIS is the "Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society". As the name suggests, researchers from around the globe...
The ABNEL lab could not be prouder of our outstanding group of undergraduate researchers! We have three PEAK award winners: Christina Aniolek (top left) won the Base Camp award, Iris Chang (bottom left) won the Ascent award, and Stephen Landry (right) also won the...