Role of gut microbiome in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders

The healthy human gut contains a network of millions of bacteria that help to digest food, fight infection and promote human health. Stress, changes in diet, antibiotic use, and other environmental conditions can disrupt the bacterial network, and contribute to a wide range of illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety depressive behaviors, autism, mood disorders, obesity and cancer. This project will describe the microbiome (bacteria and bacterial genes) present in health individuals compared with individuals diagnosed with a neurodevelopment disorder (ASD and ADHD) or mood disorder (depression and bipolar). This knowledge with contribute to our understanding of which bacteria and bacterial genes constitute a healthy versus unhealthy microbiome. Since bacterial composition can be relatively easily manipulated, personalized treatment of gut-bacteria-related psychiatric disorders shows tremendous potential for improving human health and reducing the economic burden of mental health disorders the health care system.

Faculty Supervisor:

Xudong Liu


Calvin Sjaarda






Medical devices


Queen's University



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