Posted by: | October 9, 2017 | Comments

Grand Prize
Michael Montague, PhD
University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Montague’s project aims to examine how varying degrees of social interaction impacts the gut microbiome in rhesus monkeys, while also exploring how the diversity of gut microbial communities influences levels of peripheral and central serotonin. He will first measure female social behavior, followed by shotgun sequencing of gut microbiomes from fecal samples and serotonin collection from whole blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Socially integrated females who interact more frequently in pairwise grooming are expected to possess more diverse gut microbiomes and lower serotonin levels. The ramifications of serotonin in modulating behaviors such as mood, arousal and pain signals its importance to not only the brain-gut-microbiome axis but also for understanding various human disorders, including autism, depression and anxiety, that arise from defective signaling or abnormal metabolism of serotonin.

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