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2020 Fellow

Amy Shepherd

PhD Institution
University of Melbourne
Postdoctoral institution and lab

Rao Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Amy is a neuroscientist interested in the interplay of the brain, the immune system and the gut. Amy’s PhD at the University of Melbourne focused on behavioral neuroscience, investigating how a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease would perform on similar touchscreen-based cognitive tasks to those used to test patients in the clinic, and how environmental interventions may slow down Alzheimer’s disease progression.

As a Schmidt Science Fellow working with Dr. Meenakshi Rao at Harvard, Amy plans to study the role of the millions of neurons in the gut and the link between gastrointestinal symptoms and neurological disease. Fundamentally, this work crosses many disciplines; to understand the role of neurons in the gut, one must also work with gastroenterology, immunology, microbiology, and many more fields. Amy believes that this work will improve our understanding of not only gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome, but also brain diseases, like neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.