Eamonn M. M. Quigley, MD, MACG

World Microbiome Day! Not another themed day, you will ask. This one, I will convince you, is different and deserving.

Spearheaded by the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Center (APC) Microbiome Ireland, one of the world’s leading centers for microbiome research, this day, June 27th, truly celebrates a topic that touches on everyone. Human microbiomes (skin, oral cavity, gut, vaginal, etc.) are very much a part of us, and scientists and clinicians at APC and elsewhere have shown us how microbiomes are essential for our immunological, metabolic and even neurological health. Thanks to the arrival and rapid development of techniques that permit the complete identification, not only of the microorganisms (not just bacteria, I might add!) in a given environment, but also of the biologically active molecules that they produce, we now appreciate the complexity of our bacterial fellow travelers and how they interact with us in a mutually beneficial manner. There has truly been an explosion of fantastic science relating to microbiome-host interactions, and experimental studies have suggested roles for a disturbed microbiome or host response in diseases as varied as inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, Parkinson’s disease and colon cancer. While studies in man, as always, have proven more challenging, the search is on for microbiome fingerprints that may help in advancing the diagnosis and optimal treatment of several important diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. The APC has been to the forefront in another “hot” area of microbiome researchmining the micorbiome for new therapies, be they probiotics or small molecules derived from the microbiome. These efforts are already translating into real benefits for our patients.

So join me, my former colleagues at APC Microbiome Ireland, and microbiome researchers everywhere in celebrating the mighty microbe!




About World Microbiome Day


Microbes have existed on planet earth for billions of years. They are everywhere, including in humans where they provide us with nutrients and safeguard our health. They are also important producers of food, help to decompose matter, support a plant’s lifecycle, and can clean up pollution. A world without microbes is unimaginable.

Help celebrate microbes on World Microbiome Day, June 27th 2018, which aims to encourage public dialogue on the critical importance of microbes for health, our planet and society. This year’s theme is “Mind Our Microbes.” We are inviting researchers and clinicians in any area of microbiome research to organise events locally, and register them on the website.

Follow on social media! #WorldMicrobiomeDay on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Go to www.WorldMicrobiomeDay.com to:

  • Explore the importance of microbiomes in humans, food, soil, etc
  • Register an event (e.g. us the downloadable presentation to give a talk in a local school) or discover what other events are on around the world
  • Nominate your Microbiome Hero! Do you know individuals or organisations whose activities help to “Mind our Microbes?”
  • Enter our microbiome competitions – art, photography, poetry

World Microbiome Day is organized by APC Microbiome Ireland (APC), a flagship Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre which explores the role of the microbiome in health and disease. Since its foundation in 2003, APC researchers have published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles and an independent bibliometric review ranked APC #4 in the world for microbiome research, #1 for probiotic research, #1 for bacteriocin research and #5 for gut related disease research, based on citations. The APC family comprises over 300 researchers and clinicians, and we have graduated over 100 postgraduate students in the last 5 years.

APC Microbiome Ireland is developing food and pharma solutions targeting the gut microbiota for health promotion throughout life. Our mission is ‘Linking Irish science with industry and society through excellence in research, education and outreach in gastrointestinal health’, and in that respect we collaborate with over 30 international industry partners from the food, agriculture, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and diagnostic sectors. APC research focuses on mining the microbiota to identify products (probiotic strains, metabolites, phage, prebiotics, anti-microbials, etc) that can promote health and help prevent and treat disease. This is of relevance to many populations, such as infants, athletes and elderly, and very relevant to disorders such as obesity, cardiovascular health, inflammation and colon cancer.