Dr. Jane Foster PhD

McMaster University

Research examining the role of gut bacteria in health and disease will change the public’s mindset on how body-brain communications influences mental health.

Dr. Foster is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. She holds a research appointment as a Scientific Associate with the University Health Network and as a Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, ON. Dr. Foster is an active researcher in two large translational networks – the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) and the Canadian Biomarkers in Depression (CAN-BIND). Dr. Foster’s research focuses on the role of immune-brain and gut-brain interactions on neurodevelopment, behaviour, and brain function. Dr. Foster hopes that her research accomplishments lead to a better understanding of how these relationships contribute to psychiatric disorders such as neurodevelopmental disorders, anxiety and depression.

Additional Reading

Foster, J.A. (2013). Gut feelings: Bacteria and the brain. Cerebrum, 9. eCollection 2013.

Foster, J. & McVey Neufeld, K. (2013). Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression. Trends in Neurosciences, 36(5), pp.305-312.

McVey Neufeld, K., Mao, Y., Bienenstock, J., Foster, J. and Kunze, W. (2012). The microbiome is essential for normal gut intrinsic primary afferent neuron excitability in the mouse. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 25(2), pp.183-e88.

Neufeld, K.M., Kang N., Bienenstock J., and Foster, J.A. (2011). Reduced anxiety-like behaviour and central neurochemical change in germ free mice. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 23(3), pp.255-e119.

Featured in

Communication System of the Gut-Brain Connection

Dr. Jane Foster, PhD

Research is moving quickly to discover more links between gut and brain disorders like autism, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety and depression – but there are also some challenges faced by researchers trying to unravel the mystery of the gut-brain relationship.

Duration: 11m15s

Mental health and brain-microbiota axis

Dr. Jane Foster, PhD

There are several ways in which our microbiota can communicate with our brains – including the many different pathways between the gut and the brain which are important in health and disease. In this interview, Dr. Jane Foster will discuss how differences in gut bacteria may be implicated in the various types of mental health conditions, and new possibilities in “psychobiotics” – probiotics that could confer a mental health benefit.

Duration: 14m48