Research and Innovation Scholar
The Role of Immune-activity on Energy Expenditure and Weight Gain
Eric J. Alm
This research project focuses on a potential role of the immune system in the phenomenon of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics and weight gain. It is hypothesized that antibiotics reduce the energetic cost of the host immune system, thereby conserving and expending this energy towards weight gain. In order to evaluate this effect, we will compare immuno- stimulated and suppressed murine models by regulating their immune system activity. To regulate immune activity, we will use environmental factors, such as dirty vs. sterile environments, as well as immuno-suppressing and inducing drugs. If indeed the immune burden, as it is reduced by antibiotics, can explain some aspects of weight gain, it would have a substantial impact both in agriculture as well as in the study of obesity in humans.
My name is Sophia Reyes-Hadsall and I am a Junior in Course 20. This past summer during my research internship, I was part of a journal club and realized that I would like to pursue conducting research in the field of microbiology. I am looking forward to learning more about how microbiota can impact host metabolism and tackling some of the bigger questions that this field has yet to answer.