Jane A. Foster, PhD

Mood & Microbes: How gut microbiota influence mental health

Jane A. Foster, PhD.

Dr. Jane Foster received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1996. Dr. Foster joined the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2008. She also holds a research appointment as a Scientific Associate with the University Health Network in Toronto, ON (since 2013) and a Scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital (since May 2016). Dr. Foster is an active researcher in two large translational networks - the Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders Network (POND) and the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND). Dr. Foster’s research program focuses on the role of immune-brain and gut-brain interactions on neurodevelopment, behaviour, and brain function and is funded by NSERC, CIHR, Brain Canada, and the Ontario Brain Institute. The Foster lab at McMaster has a CFI-funded behavioral unit designed to measure a range of behaviours across the life span including communication, motor control, developmental milestones, activity, approach, avoidance, anxiety-like, repetitive, and learning behaviors. Data analysis is automated and high throughput. The lab has developed tools to measure behaviour and related molecular mechanisms in the postnatal period and over the life span. 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.