Mysteries of the Microbiome: Exploring the Gut-Brain Connection

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Time: 7-8 PM (ET)

Gut microbes under a microscope

Imagine a universe bustling with sophisticated nanomachines – billions of tiny organisms whose activity influences nearly every aspect of the entire ecosystem. This is no sci-fi movie. This is the complex world inside each of us, better known as our gut microbiome.

In this free public talk, microbial ecologist Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe introduced us to the mysteries of the microbiome and the many roles that microbes play in human health. Drawing from her own work and recent literature, she shared emerging knowledge about the fascinating connection between microbiome health and brain patterning, mood and human behaviour.

This exploratory conversation aimed to shed light on the gut-brain connection and implications for mental health. The talk included a moderated discussion and live Q&A with audience members.


Emma Allen-Vercoe, PhD
Professor and Canada Research Chair
Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph


Sidney Kennedy, MD, FRCPC, FRCPsych
Executive Director, HRI

About Dr. Emma Allen-Vercoe

Emma Allen-VercoeEmma obtained her BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of London, and her PhD in Molecular Microbiology through an industrial partnership with Public Health England.

Emma started her faculty career at the University of Calgary in 2005, with a Fellow-to-Faculty transition award through CAG/AstraZeneca and CIHR, to study the normal microbes of the human gut. She was among a handful of researchers focused on trying to culture these ‘unculturable’ microbes to better understand their biology. To do this, she developed a model gut system to emulate the conditions of the human gut and allow communities of microbes to grow together, as they do naturally.

Emma moved her lab to the University of Guelph in 2007 and has received several Canadian Foundation for Innovation Awards that have allowed her to develop her specialist anaerobic fermentation laboratory further. This progress was recently boosted when Emma received the award of a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Human Gut Microbiome Function and Host Interactions.

In 2013, Emma co-founded NuBiyota, a research spin-off company that aims to create therapeutic ecosystems as biologic drugs, on a commercial scale. The research enterprise for this company is also based in Guelph.

Feature Sponsor:

Fusion Homes logo

Proud HRI Talks Sponsors:

CIBC logo
KPMG logo

Get the latest news about our mental health and addiction research.