Determinants of a healthy life

These public lectures explore the genome and explain why your DNA can influence your health and why your gut microbiome is so important.

The power and potential of the gut microbiome

Professor Wayne Cutfield, Dr Justin O'Sullivan, Dr Ben Albert

A ground-breaking study is underway that might just be the simplest way to treat the obesity crisis.

Gut bacteria taken from healthy donors – cleaned, encapsulated, and swallowed with a glass of water – could be the key to weight loss. The researchers behind the so-called 'Gut Bugs' trial think one treatment alone could be enough to change the course of a person's obesity, so they're trialing it in very overweight teenagers. This fascinating public lecture explains the science behind the trial and just how clever your resident bacteria are.

Can your gut bacteria set a blueprint for diabetes?

PhD candidate Thilini Vidanelage 

Study shows that gut bacteria differs in babies, and this can affect whether they are likely to suffer from certain health issues such as diabetes later on in life.  

You may have seen in the media that there has been a lot of discussion about gut health and how it can influence the health of the entire body. The effect of gut bacteria – microbiome – health in children as young as preterm babies can influence the development of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

In this presentation, Thilini Maddegoda Vidanelage explains how she examined the gut microbiome. She looks at how the microbiome differs in pre and full-term babies, and why this affects insulin resistance.

How does a genome’s structure affect your chance of developing disease?

Senior Research Fellow Dr Justin O’Sullivan


Molecular biologist Dr O’Sullivan explores the impact of your DNA’s ‘packaging’ on your growth, learning and health.

An expert in epigenetics, Dr O’Sullivan has been studying how the structure of a genome can influence long-term health outcomes.

In this fascinating presentation Dr O’Sullivan demonstrates how DNA is wrapped and folded in our cells. He explains how this ‘packaging’ modifies the personal DNA sequence that contributes to your growth and learning, and how it affects your chances of developing diseases like obesity and diabetes.