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Research has established that the bacteria in your gut have a direct influence on your brain ? on moods and behaviour ? and on resistance to disease. In fact the sheer range, quantity and distribution of our bacterial partners qualify them as another organ whose functions are only now beginning to be revealed. Prof Mike Berridge will explore these linkages and scope the dramatic changes they have brought to human health over the past 50 years. The increasing use of antibiotics and other medicines, and changes in our diets and lifestyles have impacted hugely on our human identity with some unexpected consequences that are only now becoming apparent.

Mike is a researcher at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research where he established and leads the Cancer Cell Biology Research Group. He is a past James Cook Fellow in the health sciences. His book The Edge of Life looks at controversies and challenges in the health sciences (including fluoridation and vaccination). A new book about three ?brothers? raised in small town NZ will explore tensions between upbringing and genes.