I'm Marisa, a scientist studying the cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the gut immune system in ageing. Ask Me Anything (you ever wanted to know about how the bacteria living inside you might influence how you age or about what a PhD in sc...
My name is Marisa and I am excited for my first reddit session today at 4-5pm BST!
Update: Wow, my fingers are hot from typing. It was really great to have so much interest in my first IAmA and it was a great experience trying to answer all your great questions. I am very sorry if I didn't get to answer your questions or if I didn't manage to answer it fully. This is a really interesting field of research with lots of new data coming through every day - we (this is including me!) still have much to learn and soon we'll hopefully know more about our diet is linked with our gut microbiota and how this is all linked to our health. If you want to learn more about this topic, I can recommend two books for in-depth reading (which will be much better at answering your questions):
"Gut" by Giulia Enders
"Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues " by Martin Blaser
I am originally from Austria, but moved to the Linterman lab at the Babraham Institute in the UK three years ago to start my PhD, studying the cross-talk between the many bacteria living in your gut (= the gut microbiota) and the gut immune system which is in constant cross-talk with the gut microbiota and is crucial to protect your body from intestinal infections.
Because we can't easily study the gut immune system in humans, we used two-year-old mice to understand how the cross-talk between the gut microbiota and the gut immune system changes in old age. Previous studies have shown that the gut immune system deteriorates with age, and that many ageing-related symptoms are linked with age-associated changes in the composition of the gut microbiota.
In my experiments, I observed a reduction of certain gut immune cells in aged mice. The cool thing is that by transferring gut bacteria from adult into aged mice (by just cohousing them in the same cages or performing "faecal microbiota transplantation" - yes, that's about as glamorous as it sounds) we were able to revert these changes in the gut immune system - rejuvenating the gut immune system in a way.
Ask me anything you ever wanted to know about how the bacteria living inside you might influence how you age or about what a PhD in science is like! And if you want to find out more about my research, please check out my first scientific publication which came out on Tuesday (exciting!): https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10430-7
Good bye! It was a pleasure.