Recent findings in mice and rats indicate that the gut microbiota can affect stress and anxiety. It is well established that the reproductive states of pregnancy and lactation are accompanied by reductions both in endocrine responsiveness to stress and reductions in anxiety. The goal of this research is to identify those bacteria and bacterial metabolites that alter the neural circuits involved with stress and anxiety as a function of reproductive state. The goal of these studies would be the identification of potential therapies that could be used to reduce anxiety during the postpartum period. This project is a collaboration with members of the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health.