Dr. Boudry was awarded the Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship from the European Research Agency for her research grant, “Synergy of milk oligosaccharides and Bifidobacterium infantis in modulating gut epithelial cell function; impact on gut barrier function and the brain-gut axis.” In France, Dr. Boudry is a research scientist with the French National Institute for Agricultural research (INRA), where she studies gut barrier function and neonatal nutrition.
Dr. Boudry came to Davis with her family when her husband started a position in the UC Davis Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Boudry contacted Dr. Helen Raybould and learned more about the Foods for Health Institute’s Milk Bioactives and Functional Glycobiology programs, and Dr. Boudry was then invited to continue her work on how the infant gut develops, absorbs nutrients, and avoids harmful bacteria as part of Dr. Raybould's and Dr. Dave Mills' recent grant from the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.
Dr. Boudry applied for and received the European Research Agency fellowship to fund her participation in Dr. Raybould's lab. The Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship is intended to pay the salary for a European scientist to work abroad in order to acquire new training and form collaborations with international scientists. Dr. Boudry is examining the role of the gut microbiota in modulating the brain-gut axis and in control of food intake and obesity. She builds on work by Dr. Raybould that revealed how complex milk sugars (oligosaccharides) and beneficial bacteria in the gut (Bifidobacterium infantis) synergize to signal to the brain through entero-endocrine cells, specialized cells in the gastrointestinal tract that produce hormones. Dr. Boudry further explores the signals between the brain and the gut, and investigates the connection to gut barrier function.
Dr. Boudry remarks that she is both contributing to the ongoing research at UC Davis and learning a lot from Dr. Raybould, who is an internationally-renowned scientist in the field of gut chemosensing. And while Dr. Boudry and her family are enjoying their time at Davis, they plan to return to France next year where her husband will start a new position. Dr. Boudry looks forward to continuing her work on the gut-brain connection in her home lab and will implement her new understanding of the protective mechanisms of human milk in wide-reaching nutritional strategies aimed at improving human health.