How our food influences how we think and act
Wednesday September 20th
19:45 live music: Prins Edward(s)
We are excited to announce the first Science Café session of the new academic year on 20 September. Have you ever wondered why we say ‘going with my gut’ or ‘my gut feeling tells me…’? Turns out that there is an intricate connection between our gut and our brain. In our session, we will therefore take a look inside our bodies and go on the fascinating journey from our guts to our brain. We invited two speakers who are experts on the complex understanding about what we eat, how that affects our gut microbiome and, in turn, can change the way our brain works.
Professor Michiel Kleerebezem from Wageningen University will kick the evening off by introducing us to the topic of the gut microbiome, how food affects it and what pathways may exist between the gut and the brain. Professor Esther Aarts from Radboud University will guide us further on the journey to various ways how changes to our gut can affect stress levels or depression. We will then have time to discuss with them about what we know and do not know yet about the gut-brain-connection. How can your food intake prevent and mitigate stress? Can and should we alter the microbiome composition of our gut to treat psychological or neurological illnesses?
Prof. Dr. Michiel Kleerebezem (WUR) worked at NIZO food research as a principal scientist from 1995 to 2015. Since 2007 he has held a position as professor of “Bacterial Metagenomics and Host Microbe Interactions” at the Host Microbe Interactomics Group of Wageningen University. His expertise centers around the genomics, molecular biology and physiology of bacteria, with a special focus on lactic acid bacteria, probiotics, and the human (intestinal) microbiota.
Prof. Dr. Esther Aarts (Radboud) is a Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, heading the Food & Cognition research group at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. Her research focuses on neural mechanisms of eating behavior as well as how the foods we consume impact our brain functioning. Many effects of diet on neuro-cognition happen through the gut microbiome and immune system. She and her group are studying these links particularly in relation to dopamine-related brain functions such as motivational and cognitive control.