Jake Lessing, an MD/PhD candidate in the JGPT, has been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award F30 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development. F30 fellowship awards are designed to develop promising MD/PhD predoctoral students into productive, independent physician-scientists through mentored research training at the bench and bedside. Jake is investigating the impact of the early life microbiome on brain development. The newborn gut microbiome is an internal environment that itself may be modified by environmental risk factors at birth, including C-section delivery and perinatal antibiotic usage. Jake’s research uses a mouse model to investigate how the C-section microbiome may alter the process by which brains are formed. He is conducting his dissertation research under the tutelage of his advisor, Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, and co-mentor, Dr. Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, MD. After graduate school, Jake will return to Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to complete his medical degree.