February 2022 – Greg Suh

You are what you (don’t) eat

Dr. Suh is an Associate Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), as well as New York University. His research delves into the innate circuitry that drives our behavior to seek out necessary macronutrients. 

January 2022 – Vassilis Pachnis & Catia Sternini

The gut that heals

Dr. Vassilis Pachnis, M.D., Ph.D., is a Senior Group Leader at the Francis Crick Institute in London. His team is pioneering our understanding of how enteric glia and neurons join their efforts to move the gut forward through development.

Dr. Catia Sternini, M.D., is a Professor of Digestive Diseases at the University of California in Los Angeles. Her group studies how receptors are trafficked in enteric neurons. She was one of the first to describe that the gut has taste receptors.

November 2021 – Michael Schwartz & Herman Pontzer

Evolving views on obesity

Dr. Schwartz is a Professor of Medicine and co-director of the Diabetes Institute at University of Washington. His team is on the forefront of understanding how our bodies regulate sugar to maintain the energy we need to moving forward.

Dr. Pontzer is an Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health at Duke University. He is an internationally recognized researcher in human energetics and evolution.

October 2021 – Jaap De Roode

Of plants and self-medication

Dr. De Roode is a Professor of Biology at Emory University. He is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on monarch butterflies. His team is documenting how these beautiful creatures use plants for self-medication to treat themselves and their offspring against parasites.

September 2021 – Temple Grandin & Andrew Huberman

Thinking in pictures: Speaking science

Dr. Grandin is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She has championed efforts to improve animal welfare. And has leveraged her knowledge to expand upon our understanding of human behavior. In addition, she is a spokesperson for Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

Dr. Huberman is a Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University. He has pioneered efforts to understand “how the brain changes with experience and how to repair brain circuits damaged by injury”. Beyond the lab, he is the host of the stellar Huberman Lab Podcast where he discusses actionable scientific knowledge to improve every day life.

April 2021 – David Virshup & Judith Eisen

On Stem Cells and Neurodevelopment In the Gut

Dr. David Virshup is the director of the Programme of Cancer and Stem Cell Biology at Duke-NUS Medical School as well as a professor of pediatrics at Duke University. He Received his MD from Johns Hopkins, followed by a residency in Pediatrics and a fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. He established his independent laboratory at the University of Utah, where he was an endowed chair at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. In 2007, he moved to Duke-NUS in Singapore to help establish the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology programme. He is Elected to the: American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of American Physicians. His research focused on signal transduction, with an emphasis on both Wnt signaling and circadian rhythms, and his laboratory has collaborated to develop a small molecule inhibitor of Wnt secretion that is now being tested in human clinical trials.

Dr. Judith Eisen is a Professor in the Institute of Neuroscience at the University of Oregon. She completed her PhD in neurobiology from Brandeis University where she worked  in the lab of Eve Marder, where she studied circuit neuromodulation in the stomatogastric ganglion. She later joined the laboratory of Dr. Monte Westerfield at the University of Oregon as his first post-doc, where she developed methods to label and track individual neuron progenitors in the zebrafish. She then was hired by the University of Oregon as faculty, and her lab has been focused on studying how neuronal diversity is generating during development, how these neuronal circuits are wired up and how host-associated microbiota and immune systems work together to influence the development of the nervous system. Dr. Eisen has authored over 150 publications, has been awarded the Gugenhein Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and is both a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of the Arts & Sciences. 

March 2021 – Lori Zeltser & Alexandre Caron

The Chilling Side of Hunger

Dr. Zeltser is an Associate Professor in the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University. she graduated from Princeton University and received her Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University. She continued her research training in developmental neurobiology and did her postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratories of Andrew Lumsden at Kings College London and Claudio Stern and Thomas Jessell at Columbia University. Currently, Her laboratory studies developmental influences on the formation and function of neuronal circuits regulating food intake and body weight, they explore how developmental influences exert lasting impacts on body weight regulation. 

Dr. Caron is an Assistant Professor at Laval University. He completed his PhD at Laval University with Drs. Denis Richard & Dr. Mathieu Laplante where he studied how an mTOR interacfting protein was involved in energy balance. He completed his post-doc at UTSW with Dr. Joel Elmquist, where he focused his efforts into studying how leptin is produced and where it functions through pharmacogenetics and transgenic approaches. His lab’s current goals are to understand the mechanisms by which the brain controls energy metabolism and develop pharmacological strategies to treat metabolic diseases and disorders.

February 2021 – Nicholas Betley & Daniel Drucker

Sensing Nutrients, Secreting Peptides

Dr. Betley received his Ph.D.,from  Columbia University, in 2010, where he worked with Thomas Jessell and investigated the developmental programs that determine synaptic partners during circuit formation. For his post doc he worked in Janelia Research Campus with Scott Sternson where they examined the structure and function of neural circuits that influence feeding behaviors.currently he is an Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. His lab is interested in understanding how the brain processes information from the external world to facilitate appropriate behavioral responses that are necessary for survival. 

Dr. Drucker is an Endocrinologist and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology at the University or Toronto. He was trained in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto and completed a research fellowship in Molecular Endocrinology (1984-87) at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He has conducted pioneering work that has furthered our understanding of glucagon and GLP-1 and has authored several hundred publications, and issued 33 US patents covering various novel therapeutic aspects of peptide hormone action.

January 2021 – Piali Sengupta & Brian Gulbransen

The Gut That Moves Us

We kicked off the new year with a virtual discussion with Dr. Piali Sengupta & Dr. Brian Gulbransen on January 12, 2021.

Dr. Sengupta received her PhD from MIT, where she studied pheromone signaling in yeast Brent Cochran’s laboratory. She then did her post-doc at UCSF, where she identified genes that encode how olfactory receptors are encoded in C. elegans with Cori Bargmann. She was later recruited to Brandeis University in 1996. Dr. Sengupta is currently a professor of Biology at Brandeis University and was recently elected as an AAAS fellow in 2019 for her pioneering work on the molecular genetics of chemical communication and thermosensation in C. elegans.Her lab work has two primary research focuses: one is the cilia squad, which is focused on the mechanisms by which cilia form and function, and the other is the axis of taxis: which is aimed at uncovering how thermal and chemical stimuli are sensed by C. elegans

Dr. Gulbransen received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Health Science Center, where he studied chemoreceptor cells. He is currently an associate professor in the physiology department at Michigan State University. The focus of his lab is to understand how inflammation in the nervous system (neuroinflammation) leads to long-term changes in gastrointestinal function with a particular focus on the intercellular communication between glia, neurons and immune cells.

November 2020 – Dylan Dodd & Mary Estes

Learning To Co-Exist With Humans: A Microbe’s Story

On November 3, 2020, we held a virtual conversation with Dr. Dylan Dodd and Dr. Mary Estes.

Dr. Dylan Dodd is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University. He received training as a physician scientist at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. His PhD work in Professor Isaac Cann’s laboratory looked at the molecular mechanisms for energy capture by gut bacteria. He then worked in Dr. Sonnenberg’s laboratory, where he studied how gut bacteria contribute to small molecules that impact host physiology. He has leveraged his research to co-found a company that engineers bacteria to modulate the immune system and his research group’s focus is to uncover the chemistry underlying host-microbe interactions in the gut. 

Dr. Mary Estes is a Professor of Virology and Microbiology in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the past president of the American Society for Virology, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has authored over 400 articles, She is a molecular virologist whose research is focused on understanding viral (rotavirus and norovirus) infections of the gastrointestinal tract. Her research group’s focus is to study how the viral proteins interact with receptors of the intestinal cells.