Medical Lecture Series 2023: The Brain-Gut Interface

Dr. Alok Madan

The Medical Center kicks off the 2023 Lecture Series with Dr. Alok Madan’s presentation, “The Brain-Gut Interface:  How the Gut Microbiome Affects and is Affected by Psychiatric Illness,” at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, in the Cultural Center Theatre.

Dr. Madan, who among many titles is Vice Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health at Houston Methodist Academic Institute, is a clinical health psychologist with extensive experience in the implementation and evaluation of programs to improve the care of individuals with chronic medical conditions and serious mental illness.

In recent years there has been increasing research on the interaction between the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, the bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract and the bidirectional relationship between these systems: the brain-gut microbiome axis. Dr. Madan has been at the forefront of research in this field.

“Our gut and our inner brains are intimately connected, and it is a two-way street,” Dr. Madan says in a 2020 YouTube video. “It is all one closed system. The cool part now is, we have a gateway to what is going on in the gut. The bacteria are about 1,000 or so species. About 3 million different genes are represented and collectively all those bacteria weigh about 3 pounds, and curiously our brains weigh about 3 pounds. Our gut bacteria develops as we age and there are a lot of things that affect how this looks.”

Dr. Madan earned his doctorate degree in clinical psychology and his Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has been involved in formal training, direct patient care, clinic management and research to improve neuropsychiatric care for more than 15 years. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Houston Methodist and is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

Dr. Madan has a passion for his research and is an engaging speaker. Mark your calendar for this fascinating lecture and plan to stay afterward for a cocktail reception. Many thanks to Healthnetworks Foundation for sponsoring this lecture.