Environmental Microbial Exposure and Mental Health
November 4, 2015
Speaker: Christopher A. Lowry, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Physiology and Center for Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder
Dr. Lowry’s primary research interests include neural mechanisms underlying anxiety and affective disorders, and development of novel strategies for both the prevention and treatment of these disorders and their medical comorbidity, such as allergy, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. Humans co-evolved with environmental microorganisms present in soil, mud, and water that induced immune tolerance. The Hygiene or “Old Friends” hypothesis proposes that, since the advent of increased hygiene in urban civilizations, a lack of exposure to these “Old Friends” has contributed to an epidemic of inflammatory disease. In this talk Dr. Lowry will show evidence from animal models that immunization with heat-killed preparations of the soil-derived mycobacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, prevents stress-induced pathophysiology, enhances fear extinction, and may be a rational strategy for prevention or treatment of anxiety and affective disorders.
Photos from the seminar: