Nanda Kumar Navalpur Shanmugam, Ph.D.

Research Associate at Massachusetts General Hospital; Instructor at Harvard Medical School


The molecular mechanisms involved in the relationship between gut microbiota and its host, including brain health, has been the focus of Dr. Shanmugam’s research career. In particular, the influence of gut microbiota on host immune homeostasis, gut health and gut-brain bidirectional communication has been his primary area of study.  Additionally, Dr. Shanmugam is also exploring the benefits of high fiber diet, prebiotics and probiotics on gut microbiota and brain function. Currently, he is investigating gut-brain axis in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) specifically in relation to changes in diet, gut inflammation, microbiome, or synbiotics, and also looking into whether low grade and chronic systemic gut inflammation potentiate brain amyloid deposition in AD transgenic mice models.  Gut microbiota perturbations and their derived secondary metabolites impact brain health in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Shanmugan is also looking at potential microbially-induced triggers of beta-amyloid pathology and resulting neuroinflammation by RNA/DNA sequencing of brain, blood, CSF, and saliva samples. Advanced high-throughput screening and sequencing techniques to identify microbial signatures possibly inducing AD pathogenesis forms the basis of his work. Collective findings would help address some key questions that linger in the field of AD research in relation to the gut-brain axis.

 

Funded Research

These projects were made possible from Cure Alzheimer's Fund support.