Early life exposure on microbiota maturation and later life health
Exposure to pathogens. Humans are exposed to a variety of enteric through development. Carriage of enteric pathogens begins in early infancy and has been suggested ubiquitous in children. Enteric infections often trigger acute morbidity and symptoms such as appetite loss and diarrhea, though in many cases, the individuals recover, and the pathogens are cleared. Given enteric pathogens can cause massive disruption in the gut environment, does early life infection affects microbiota establishment and host health through later life? In flies, we discovered that enteric infection with Vibrio cholerae, a human diarrheal pathogen, depleted a suite of gut microbiota-derived metabolites and triggered acute starvation stress in the host. We are extending this line of research to the midges as they can naturally recover from infection with V. cholerae.
Exposure to xenobiotics. Exposure to environmental toxicants (such as pesticides) during early age has been linked to increase in the susceptibility to various diseases at later life. Using the fly model, we are examining the impact of chemical exposure at early age on longevity, metabolism, and immunity.