Brian Prendergast

Professor of Psychology
Institute for Mind and Biology
University of Chicago

Research in my lab focuses on identifying how circadian timekeeping systems in the brain communicate with peripheral physiology, and vice versa. I train students and fellows in systems biological approaches to questions in neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunoloy, and in issues relevant to sex differences in biology.

The circadian clock in the brain, in conjunction with clocks in the liver, drive daily cycles in gut microbial composition and activity (feedforward effects), but whether and how the gut microbiome provides feedback effects on circadian clocks in the brain and liver remains poorly understood. An enduring theme in chronobiology offers that the ‘hands of the clock’ provide feedback effects on the clock itself. This may be the case with the gut microbiota as well. In addition, it is becoming increasingly clear that circadian desynchrony in the gut-brain axis contributes to clinically-significant dysregulation and GI pathology. We look forward to identifying the biological mediators of these processes.