Mississippi College

John Piletz

2014 marks my second year at Mississippi College & University.
Please peruse my semester calendar, course syllabi & recent publications listed below.

About Me

As an ex-med school professor, I'm happy to be teaching in MC's new and innovative medical science program. Rejuvenated and too young to retire, I've taken on a new line of research concerning the symbiotic garden each of us has within us - trillions of bacteria and other microbes representing thousands of different species called the microbiome - and surprisingly what these intestinal indwellers have to say about mental health! Gut microbiota had been thought for over a century to passively contribute to the digestive process, and much of what we knew about them – until recently – was killing pathogens with antibiotics. Newer research points to myriad health benefits by "good" bacteria. Beginning with probiotics to improve digestion and compete out the pathogenic bacteria, new research has revealed the existence of an integrated physiological system called the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis (MGB axis). The enteric nervous system is key to intestinal movement and metabolism, but it also is connected with the brain through the vagus nerve and the spinal cord. Good bacteria are called commensals and "bad" bacteria are called pathogens.  They emit diverse chemical signals to each other as well as to the endothelial cells of the gut.  Emerging scientific evidence indicates that these signals are orchestrated by homeostatic mechanisms stemming to/from our brains.  Can we learn enough about this MGB axis to harness its health benefits?  The concept is very new - yet it has gastronomic implications!  These and many other questions are being explored with students in my lab.  Students challenge minds and shape life-long learners, of which I seem to be a prime example!

Class Schedule

Fall 2014

  • BIO 6430-Y - Graduate Seminar Class
    Thursdays, 6:00 - 9:00 pm, Med Sci 210
  • 6430-X - Graduate Seminars
    Fridays, 1:00 - 5:00 pm, Med Sci 210



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