Gut Thinking – How your Microbes Influence your Life

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Thursday, 21st April, 2016

20h00 (interactive activities start); 21h00 (talks start)

Duration: ~2hrs, including 3 talks and activities with the audience.

Venue: Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown, Auditorium, 

Speakers: John Cryan, José Oliveira

Hosts: Simone Lackner , Marta Camacho

Registration open since 7th April, at 1pm.

Live streaming starts at 9pm on the day of the event.

If you think you are 100% human, then you should think again.

The human body contains trillions of microorganisms (ten times more than human cells) and our genome is clearly outnumbered by their genes – turning us into Superorganisms. Moreover, microorganisms represent the majority of living things on earth, they are all around and within us, from the very moment we are born.

Although microorganisms generally have a bad reputation for causing diseases, the truth is, the majority of them actually have a positive influence on our health and well-being. For example, in our gut, we host a very diverse population of microorganisms which plays a key role in digesting the food we eat, in communicating with our immune system and they even help us to metabolize drugs. But could these microorganisms also influence our brain and behavior? Could they affect our moods?

To explore how microorganisms influence our lives and how this “Gut-Brain interaction” works, join us in the next Ar event “Gut Thinking”, on April 21st, 9pm at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown Auditorium.

To help us, we have invited the Award winning neuroscientist, and TED-talk speaker, gut-brain axis expert, Prof. John Cryan who will talk about his studies on how the population of microorganisms in the gut affects the mammalian brain. To tell us about how our interactions with microorganisms may influence our immune system as well as our brain, psychiatry intern and neuroscientist José Oliveira will share with us his PhD work in the field of immunogenetics and psychiatric disorders

Finally, this event will combine a series of hands-on activities developed by a group of microbiologists from the ITQB, in Oeiras, with the work from bio-artist Joana Ricou, whose artwork will expose that idea of us as Superorganisms. Each portrait is a living painting, created with our other selves. Both the hands-on activities and the bioart exhibition will take place both before and after the event.

Come and learn about some strange (and curious) things our microorganisms can do. Prepare to be amazed.



Ticket reservations must be done through our Eventbrite website. Eventbrite - Gut Thinking – How your Microbes Influence your Life

Limited seats will be available to people without reservations on the event evening on a first come, first served basis. After 8.55 p.m. tickets will be given for people without reservations.

Activities organized by ITQB are open to the public at 8 p.m. and the talks will start at 9 p.m.

If you can´t make it to our event, Live Streaming will be available during the event at the following website:

John Cryan

John F. Cryan is Professor & Chair, Dept. of Anatomy & Neuroscience, and a Principal Investigator in the APC Microbiome Institute at University College Cork, Ireland. He received a BSc and PhD from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. He was a visiting fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia, which was followed by postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA and The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California. He spent four years at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Basel Switzerland, as a LabHead, Behavioural Pharmacology prior to joining UCC in 2005. Prof. Cryan’s current research is focused on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome and how it applies to stress, neuropsychiatric and immune-related disorders.
Prof. Cryan has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and has a H-index of 68 (Google Scholar). He is a Senior Editor of Neuropharmacology and of Nutritional Neuroscience and an Editor of British Journal of Pharmacology and is on the editorial board of a further 16 journals. He has won numerous awards and is a regular media contributor. He was a TEDMED speaker in Washington in 2014 and named President-elect of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society in 2015.

José Oliveira

José Oliveira graduated in Medicine from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, after which he started residency in Psychiatry in Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa. He completed his PhD thesis at the Translational Psychiatry laboratory at the Mondor Institut for Biomedical Research in Paris and he is interested in the immunogenetics of psychiatric disorders and its potential interactions with environmental risk factors such as perinatal infection and childhood trauma.

Simone Lackner  studied Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna. As a Ph.D student at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, she investigates the neural basis of locomotor behaviors in response to changes in illumination using larval zebrafish as a model organism.

Marta Camacho works as a neuropsychologist and clinical research fellow at the Neuropsychiatry unit –  Champalimaud Clinical Center and has a particular interest in cognitive function in healthy and clinical samples.



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