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4th Life Sciences Working Group Virtual Conference: “Microbiota-gut-brain axis and its role in psychiatric disorders” on 3 February 2023

03 February 2023

The next Coimbra Group Life Sciences virtual conference this academic year will take place on 3 February 2023 under the title “Microbiota-gut-brain axis and its role in psychiatric disorders.” Dr. Aurelijus Burokas, Senior Researcher at the Vilnius University Life Sciences Center, will introduce the audience to the microbiota-gut-brain axis and its involvement in various psychological processes and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as mood and anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, and even neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Participation is free of charge and open to all interested parties. In order to register, please proceed to the registration form here

Conference abstract:

It is recognized that the microbes resident in the gastrointestinal tract can influence brain physiology and behaviour. Recent research has shown that the gastrointestinal microbiota can signal to the brain via diverse pathways, including immune activation, production of microbial metabolites and peptides, activation of the vagus nerve, and production of various neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the gut itself. The bidirectional signalling between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain is vital for maintaining homeostasis and is regulated at the neural (both central and enteric nervous systems), hormonal and immunological levels. This bidirectional pathway is called the microbiota-gut-brain axis, and it is involved in various psychological processes and neuropsychiatric disorders. These include mood and anxiety disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, and even neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Thus, we aim to understand better microbiota’s role in brain health, age-associated cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and an autism spectrum disorder.

About the speaker:

In 2007 Burokas graduated from Vilnius University, where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biochemistry. In 2013 he received his PhD in Biomedicine at Pompeu Fabra University (Spain). From 2014-2016 he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at APC Microbiome Institute, University College Cork (Ireland) and from 2016-2019 as a postdoctoral fellow in a joint research project between academia (Laboratory of Neuropharmacology, Pompeu Fabra University, Spain) and industry (pharmaceutical company “Esteve Quimica,” Barcelona). In 2019 he returned to Lithuania as a senior researcher due to the awarded grant from the Research Council of Lithuania, which aimed at encouraging young scientists to return from abroad.

His research is focused on the microbiota-gut-brain axis and its role in neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, he aims to understand the role of gut microbiota in brain health and age-associated cognitive decline and to identify possible biomarkers of gut microbiota in brain-associated pathologies to improve their therapies.