Seminar: Coco Chu

Interactions between the microbiota, the immune system, and the nervous system


Coco Chu, Ph.D.

Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Joan and Sanford I. Weill Department of Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine

Cornell University



Multicellular organisms have co-evolved with complex consortia of viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites, collectively referred to as the microbiota. In mammals, changes in the composition of the microbiota can influence many physiologic processes (including development, metabolism and immune cell function) and are associated with susceptibility to multiple diseases. Alterations in the microbiota can also modulate host behaviors—such as social activity, stress, and anxiety-related responses—that are linked to diverse neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition, the ability of the nervous system to sense environmental stimuli and to relay these signals to immune cells via neurotransmitters and neuropeptides is indispensable for effective immunity and tissue homeostasis. Depending on the tissue microenvironment and distinct drivers of a certain immune response, the same neuronal populations and neuro-mediators can exert opposing effects, promoting or inhibiting tissue immunity. In this seminar, I will present two of my projects regarding the interactions between the microbiota, the immune system and the nervous system, focusing on the newly discovered microbiota-gut-brain axis—how the intestinal microbiota regulate neuronal function in fear extinction learning, as well as neuroimmune signaling at mucosal barrier surfaces—how the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) regulates type 2 innate immune responses and anti-helminth immunity.


Time: 9:00-10:30a.m., June 22th (Tuesday)

Zoom Meeting ID: 341 476 4759

Host: Dr. Zhihua Liu


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