Orla O’Sullivan

Teagasc Food Research Centre

We live in a microbial world with microbes inhabiting every imaginable environment including soil, water, food and humans. My passion lies in researching the human gut microbiome. These microbes control almost every aspect of human health from immune function to digestion and more importantly. Through our research with athletes we have discovered that athletes have a more diverse gut microbial community (a biomarker for health) than non-athlete control and this was associated with fitness levels and protein intake. Therefore, we postulate that with a healthy diverse diet and good physical fitness, we can manipulate these microbes to maintain good health. It fascinates me that utilising our knowledge of microbes we can maintain and improve human health without medical intervention.