Paul Forsythe

Dr Paul Forsythe

Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator, McMaster Brain-Body Institute

Dr Paul Forsythe is Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator at the McMaster Brain-Body Institute, St Joseph’s Healthcare and Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health, McMaster University, Canada. He has a strong interest in neural regulation of immunity, which he pursued during his PhD at Queen’s University Belfast and Post-Doctoral studies at the University of Alberta. His current research explores the neuro-immuno-endocrine super-system in the context of the holobiont, with a particular focus on identifying mechanisms underlying the influence of gut microbes, and their products, on the development and progression of diverse pathophysiological responses such as allergy, inflammation and mood disorders.

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Paul will join the Gut-brain axis workshop on June 7:

Probiotics, antibiotics and the microbiota-gut-brain axis

Changes in gut microbiota can modulate the peripheral and central nervous systems, resulting in altered brain function, and suggesting the existence of a microbiota gut-brain axis. This is an exploding field with popular appeal engendering hopes, as well as skepticism. Recent evidence in rodents, and data derived from studies in humans, support microbe-based interventions for stress-related disorders and offer insights as to pathways involved.  Such studies demonstrate that despite the complexity of the gut microbiota, exposure to a single microbial strain can protect against certain stress-induced behaviours and systemic immune alterations. Evidence also suggests a potential role of early-life antibiotic use in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders, and the possible attenuation of these by beneficial bacteria.

  • What is the evidence of probiotic modulation of the gut-brain axis?
  • How might antibiotics be contributing to mood disorders?
  • How much do we understand mechanisms of gut microbe –brain communication?


Probiota Americas