Helen Vuong

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

E-MAIL: hevuong@umn.edu

Research Interests:

I am interested in how microbes in the gut can impact the brain. My lab uses mouse models to study how different microbiomes can shape how the brain develops, how neural circuits form to drive behavior,  and how disruptions in brain development and function contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders. One theme of our group is Microbiome and Development of the Nervous System, where we study how the microbiome at different developmental windows (prenatal or postnatal) modulates the development and function of neural cells (neurons and glia). The second theme of our research group is Microbiota and Gene/environment Interactions, where we investigate how the microbiome responds to genetic and environmental challenges, and how that in turn regulates brain development and function, and behaviors. The third theme of our research group is Human Microbiota in Neurological Health and Disease, where we explore how the human microbiome is altered during different stages of healthy brain development and in the context of different neurological disorders. Some techniques we employ to probe these themes include, gnotobiotic animals, metagenomics, single-cell and bulk RNA sequencing, metabolomics and proteomics, and in vivo brain imaging during sensory, cognitive, anxiety, and social behaviors.


Picture of Helen Vuong