We study sickness symptoms and immune-driven behaviors
Why do we feel sick during an infection?
During an infection, animals exhibit a highly stereotyped set of sickness symptoms including fever, fatigue, body aches, changes to appetite, thirst and more. Many believe sickness symptoms are purely the result of invading pathogens and an activated immune system but the brain is essential for controlling physiology, perception and behavior. The goal of the Osterhout lab is to understand how the brain senses an immune response and modulates neural circuits to make us feel sick. We examine symptoms during acute infection, chronic inflammation and other immune-activated states to better understand the general principles governing immune-brain communication and immuno-modulation of neural circuits.