Robert Graves Lecture 2019_Professor Fergus Shanahan_Thursday 6th June, 2019

Robert Graves Lecture 2019_Professor Fergus Shanahan_Thursday 6th June, 2019

06/06/2019 in Corrigan & Graves Halls, RCPI, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

“Robert Graves – when ‘he fed fevers’ he fed the microbiome”

Fergus Shanahan, APC Microbiome Ireland and University College Cork, Ireland


Humans have evolved with tiny creatures (microbes) residing in and on the body. These include bacteria, fungi and viruses, collectively referred to as the microbiome. The microbiome has been likened to a virtual organ, essential for immunity and for the maturation of internal organs, including the gut, brain and neuroendocrine system. Moreover, the high prevalence of chronic immune, allergic and metabolic disorders in socio-economically developed societies is attributable, in part, to missing microbes, lost in a modern lifestyle.

Advances in microbiome research, many achieved in the land of Graves, show how microbes influence human health and risk of disease. Three areas are particularly noteworthy. Firstly, the microbiome is a source of predictive biomarkers for health (including healthy ageing) and disease (including risk of colon cancer). Secondly, the microbiome can be manipulated for health benefit, most notably by diet, but also by strategies ranging from microbiome transplantation to phage therapy. Thirdly, the microbiome can be ‘mined’ for new drugs and functional food ingredients, including smart antibiotics, immunoregulatory molecules and even growth factors.

Lessons from these success stories of microbiome medicine will be explored and simple strategies for how we can maintain our microbes will be addressed. Microbiome health is for everyone!

Venue: Corrigan & Graves Halls, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6 Kildare St, Dublin 2,

Thursday 6th June, 2019 @ 7pm

Professor Fergus Shanahan, Director, APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork. Photo By Tomas Tyner, UCC

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