Control of external AHL level through several different controller architectures. For each controller, AHL output is shown for different microbe population sizes (line colors) over two orders of magnitude. Steady state endpoints show robustness to population size; controllers where the endpoint does not change should be more robust to unexpected bursts of growth or removal of the microbe.
We have succeeded in demonstrating our ability to inoculate zebrafish with engineered strains of E. coli that are able to be visualized in the zebrafish gut. This serves as a first step in establishing zebrafish as a testbed for understanding gut microbiome-brain interactions. This project experienced significant delays due to the need to obtain Army Animal Care and Use Review Office (ACURO) approval for the laboratory protocols used in this research (obtained 3 January 2020).
In collaboration with researchers at MIT (Lauffenburger) and ERDC (Perkins, Vinas) we are developing zebrafish as a model organism for studying gut microbiome-brain interactions, with a focus on how the chemistry of the gut microbiome affects organism behavior, including sleep patterns and stress. Prior work by Prober and others has established the relevance of zebrafish to understanding human neural systems. Zebrafish provide an outstanding platform due to their maturity as a model organism as well as their transparent state as an embryo, allowing imaging of gut microbes and other biological features. Specific objectives include:
Investigate how to diagnose and monitor disruption of the composition and function of zebrafish gut microbiota, which is an important pathophysiological factor in a variety of physiological disorders associated with animal and human microbiota.
Investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying microbiota-brain interactions through which gut microbiomes can modulate host behaviors and neurophysiological processes.