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C O M P U TAT I O N A L N E U R O S C I E N C E

Feeding frenzy Neuroscientists study the roundworm C. elegans because their simple neuronal circuitry

may shed light on information processing and decision-making. Adam Brown, a computational neuroscience graduate student in the lab of David

NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, blogs about this “eerily beautiful image.” directorsblog.nih.gov Adam Brown describes the art behind his science. sciencelife.uchospitals.edu

Biron, PhD, focuses on how the neurotransmitter serotonin affects the roundworm’s feeding behavior. While working in his lab early one morning, Brown observed the foraging worms feasting on a breakfast of bacteria. He quickly positioned his smartphone’s camera lens to the microscope’s eyepiece and snapped the variegated display. The image was selected as a Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 2015 BioArt winner and was included in “The Art of Science,” an exhibit showcasing the visual representation of scientific discovery at a Chicago art gallery this spring. PHOTO BY KEVIN JIANG

C O M M I T T E E O N I M M U N O LO G Y

Graduate student a rising star in microbiome research

“I like this field because it changes so dramatically every year. It’s actually really hard to speculate where the microbiota research field will even be in 10 years, but I hope to be spearheading some of those new efforts.” Taylor Feehley, AB’10, PhD’16

uchospitals.edu/midway

PHOTO BY MICHAEL SATALIC

T

aylor Feehley, AB’10, PhD’16, was named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 in science for her work on food allergies and gut bacteria, leading to the development of potential new probiotics. Feehley’s research, under the direction of Cathryn Nagler, PhD, the Bunning Food Allergy Professor in the Department of Pathology, is helping lay the groundwork for better treatments to prevent, or even reverse, food allergies. In 2014, Feehley worked on a study led by Nagler that showed that the presence of Clostridia, a common strain of bacteria living in the gastrointestinal tract, protects against food allergies. Clostridia prevented allergens in foods like peanuts from entering the bloodstream and triggering cell-level responses that lead to sensitization, a beginning step to developing allergies. In a similar vein, Feehley is working with Nagler to follow up on a 2015 study that showed dramatic differences in the composition of gut bacteria in babies who overcame an allergy to cow’s milk after taking a probiotic formula. Both of these studies,

Taylor Feehley, AB ’10, PhD ’16

along with ongoing research by Feehley, Nagler and their colleagues, mean that someday patients could be given probiotic treatments containing bacteria to prevent food allergies. Forbes calls the young scientists on the 30 Under 30 list “the heirs to Carl Sagan, Ada Lovelace and science’s greatest minds.”

MEDICINE ON THE MIDWAY

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Profile for University of Chicago Medicine

Medicine on the Midway - Spring 2016  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...

Medicine on the Midway - Spring 2016  

Medicine on the Midway is published for friends, alumni and faculty of the University of Chicago Medicine, the University of Chicago Divisio...