It was a great pleasure to welcome back Old Oundelian Dr Simon Smale (Sanderson 1987). After Oundle he attended medical school at Nottingham University and is currently the Clinical Director of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary. 

Dr Smale delivered a fascinating talk about the gut microbiome, focusing on the multiple causal relationships between our gut, brain and contracting disease. For example, how early exposures, behaviours and diets can alter the ten trillion microbes living in our guts. 

This stimulated further questions from the audience about the potential use of bacterial strains as medicines to treat mental illnesses or obesity, as well as how manipulating our diet could change our biomes. By the end, Dr Smale had convinced us that a ‘gut feeling’ is not just a saying; the colon is linked to the pleasure and response centre in our brain so emotions can be altered by the circumstances found in the gut at the time. 

Dr Simon Smale was very enthusiastic about his interests and explained complex scientific ideas clearly, in addition to mentioning lots of real life stories which made the talk very engaging. He also explained that there is a lot more research to be done about the gut microbiome. and encouraged us to be the generation that completes this. 

Poppy Buckley (Sn)