Webinar on gut microbiome-brain alliance: The connection to health and disorders

Janet Sasso , Information Scientist, CAS


The gut microbiome has emerged as a major part of the gut-brain axis that exists between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. Its effect on both health and disorders is immense. Recently, experts from Bayer and the California Institute of Technology joined CAS for a webinar on September 20, 2023.

The human microbiota, often referred to as the "forgotten organ," is a large collection of predominantly bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, and archaea. With up to 100 trillion bacterial cells, its size eclipses the number of cells in your own body.

Discover the latest developments about this hidden ecosystem, the constant communication that exists between the gut and brain, and how it plays a key role in many physiological processes. Discover even more technical detail and insight in our comprehensive CAS Insights Report based on our recent journal publication in ACS Chemical Neuroscience.

Key highlights from the webinar

To set the stage for this discussion, Janet provided a landscape view of this emerging area of science. With publications and IP trends signaling a rise in microbiome research advancement, there is a branching understanding of which diseases involve the gut-brain axis. Diving deeper into the clinical landscape revealed key players, microbiome therapeutic strategies, and the therapeutic areas of focus for the future of microbiome manipulation.

Janet Sasso

Janet Sasso, Information Scientist/CAS

Dr. Ramy Ammar started his presentation with a detailed overview of the embryological origin of the gut and brain. He then explained the complexities and functions of the gut-brain axis and how gut health influences brain function. Additionally, he discussed the treatment landscape for gut-brain interaction disorders and finished with the outlook of this therapeutic area including the use of AI for personalized treatment plans.

Dr. Ramy Amar

Ramy Amar, Director, Emerging Science and Innovation Bayer AG

Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian rounded out the speakers by sharing his latest research on the gut-brain axis as it relates to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He introduced the audience to the gut microbial metabolite, 4-ethylphenylsulfate, which is elevated in ASD models along with its proposed mechanism of action. In conclusion, research was shared from a proof-of-concept clinical trial investigating the use of small molecule drug AST-120 (increases Bacteroides fragilis) in ASD individuals.

Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian

Sarkis Mazmanian, Luis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology, Cal Tech

To wrap up, attendees asked a wide range of questions: from how diseases such as autoimmune diseases and allergies along with pharmaceuticals affect the gut microbiome, to how the gut microbiome can influence blood-brain permeability. In short, this panel highlighted the promising opportunities of the gut-brain axis and its understanding for the improvement of health and treatment of a wide range of disorders.

See the recording and the associated slides from the webinar here.