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Begüm Aydin wants to understand how the environment affects the nervous system. Focusing on the nervous system inside the gut, often called “the second brain,” she is investigating the effects of gut microbiota and immune cells on the development and maintenance of gut neurons. By pursuing how neurons develop and recover upon microbial insults and inflammation, Aydin hopes to provide insights into neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, where pathological inflammation causes neuronal damage.