Amir Ardeshir, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D.
California National Primate Research Center
Utilizing rhesus macaques, Dr. Ardeshir studies how gut microbial communities contribute to the development of immune system after birth and investigates their critical role in the balance between health and disease state. In particular he is interested in the following questions:
- What are the mechanisms that shape the establishment of the gut microbiota after birth?
- What is the role of the microbiota on development of healthy immune system, including response to vaccines and other interventions against infectious diseases?
- What are the consequences of disruption of the balanced gut flora at early age?
- What are effective therapeutics to modify the perturbed microbial communities?
Gut microbial communities, Immune system
Establishment of the gut communities (microbiota) in infancy appears to play an important role in programming development of the immune system. The pediatric macaque model offers unique and robust opportunities to manipulate the gut microbiota and determine both beneficial and harmful effects on the host immune system.
Highlight summary of Dr. Ardeshir’s research (PDF)
“Diet has a strong influence on the intestinal microbiota in both humans and animal models. It is well established that microbial colonization is required for normal development of the immune system and that specific microbial constituents prompt the differentiation or expansion of certain immune cell subsets. Nonetheless, it has been unclear how profoundly diet might shape the primate immune system or how durable the influence might be. We show that breast-fed and bottle-fed infant rhesus macaques develop markedly different immune systems, which remain different 6 months after weaning when the animals begin receiving identical diets. In particular, breast-fed infants develop robust populations of memory T cells as well as T helper 17 (TH17) cells within the memory pool, whereas bottle-fed infants do not. These findings may partly explain the variation in human susceptibility to conditions with an immune basis, as well as the variable protection against certain infectious diseases.”
Summary from: Science Translational Medicine 03 Sep 2014