Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2021

Faculty Advisor(s)

Michael Ibba


The connection between one’s mental health and gut microbiome has been a topic of recent research and has led to the emergence of a new field of study, “psychobiotics”. The gut contains approximately 1013-1014 microbial cells and viruses that have an important role in the healthy metabolic function of their host. When this symbiotic relationship between bacteria and host is off balance, it can lead to several medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. Studies of the modern microbiome have suggested there is a link between some mental health disorders like anxiety and depression and an unhealthy gut. One indication of this connection is the prevalence of major depressive disorder among individuals with gastrointestinal illnesses, which are often caused by bacteria that are part of our normal microflora. Additionally, some studies have found increased levels of immune response, such as inflammation, in individuals with depression and other mental health related issues. This increase in immune response is believed to be caused by gut dysbiosis, an imbalance in the microbiome. Therefore, an imbalance in the gut microbiome could result in an increase in mental health related issues for an individual by inducing an immune response. While further research is required, this new field of study could eventually provide successful treatments for mental health disorders with few side effects.


Presented at the virtual Spring 2021 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.