Our Moody Microbes: How Gut Bacteria and Diet Impact Behavior

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

Have you ever felt alone? Well, don’t! There are trillions of buddies inside you--the bacteria that make up your microbiome! In your body, there are about 10 times as many bacterial cells as human cells. These trillions of gut microbes influence many aspects of our daily lives, including our metabolism, immune response, and our mood. This class will explore the importance of gut bacteria on neurological function and behavior. There is an entire universe inside each of us - come learn about it in this class!

This class will provide an introduction to the study of the gut microbiome. You will learn about the composition of the gut microbiome and its importance to human health. This class will also cover topics related to neuroscience. Ultimately, we will delve into the relationship between the gut microbiome and behavior.

Class will be both lecture and discussion-based. Students will read relevant primary literature and discuss these papers during session. There will also be a collaborative project, in which students will design an experiment and write a proposal, which will be presented at the end. This class will also have a lab component, in which students will be given the opportunity to perform experiments. Students will learn to work with the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, a small, non-parasitic roundworm.

Throughout this course, students will learn to critically engage with primary literature. They will also gain experience in how to effectively design experiments and will learn college-level lab techniques.
Students will gain knowledge and research experience spanning multiple disciplines, including molecular biology, microbiology and neuroscience/ behavior.

At the end of this course, students will have a better understanding of how behavior and mood can be influenced by the bacteria living inside of them. So the next time you are feeling stressed or down you can think to it my teenage angst or is it my gut microbiome?

Prerequisites: One year of high school biology is recommended, but not required.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0954
  • Length: 1 week
  • Supplemental Fee: $50

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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