Taking Flight Award

The Gut Microbiota and Derived Metabolites Affect the Development of Epilepsy

Ana Beatriz DePaula-Silva, PhD
The University of Utah

Inflammation caused by viral infection of the central nervous system is associated with seizures and epilepsy but how inflammation can lead to seizures is not fully understood. Recent studies found that the various bacterial species in the gut, collectively called the gut microbiota, can impact inflammation as well as brain function.

In this project, Dr DePaula-Silva will study a mouse model of epilepsy caused by a viral infection to identify specific gut bacterial populations and molecules produced by the bacteria that may play a role in protecting the animals from seizure development.

If successful, the knowledge obtained from this study will allow for the development of novel therapies, including modification of gut microbiota or of specific molecules, to treat and possibly cure seizures/epilepsy.