Sarkis Mazmanian

Why science says to listen to your gut

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About Sarkis Mazmanian

Medical microbiologist Sarkis K. Mazmanian is leading research into how the gut microbiome impacts and communicates with the immune and nervous systems. His work is specifically focused on how this two-way internal communication highway, known as the “gut-brain axis,” influences complex diseases of the brain, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Sarkis has received numerous awards including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” award and Discover Magazine’s “Best Brains in Science.” Currently the Luis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Sarkis is also a founder of two biotech companies and the proud mentor of countless students and postdoctoral fellows who have gone on to successful independent careers in medicine, industry, and academia.

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About This Talk

For centuries, treating neurological conditions meant developing therapies or drugs that directly targeted the brain. Today, scholars like Sarkis Mazmanian argue that research, drugs, and therapy should actually focus on the gut. Sarkis explains that the gut and brain have a unique connection that allows for communication past the brain's main line of defense - the blood brain barrier. Many molecules that cross over the blood brain barrier are created by the gut microbiome, meaning that the brain and gut directly influence one another. 

Watch Sarkis' TEDMED 2018 Talk to learn how the gut-brain pathway may lead us to discover causes behind, and even treatments for, life-altering conditions like Autism Spectrum Disorder and Parkinson's Disease. By understanding communication between the gut and the brain, we may be able to change the course of neurological disease for generations.

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