Article featuring the work of Irish Research Council-funded Dr Roman Stilling wins International Media Prize

An article entitled “Bacteria the Emotions Factory” describing research at the APC Microbiome Institute in University College Cork has won a media prize for a German health journalist.

In the article, Simone Einzmann explores the work of Dr Roman Stilling, an Irish Research Council-funded post-doctoral researcher with Professor John Cryan and Professor Ted Dinan, and his colleagues at University College Cork. Roman explains the effect of gut bacteria on the brain, 'For a healthy brain, the bacteria in our intestines are incredibly important', 'Until recently, few researchers would dare say that our gut bacteria could control our emotions and behaviour - but this has changed dramatically'.

Roman's work focusses on the mechanisms that enable microbes to induce changes in social behaviour. He looks at the switching on and off of genes in response to social cues, and has found that in mice growing up in the absence of bacteria this regulation goes astray, resulting in impaired sociability. It is hoped that this work will lead to the development of new treatments for neurological and mental illnesses.

FOCUS magazine editor Simone Einzmann received the German Society for Probiotic Medicine DePROM Media Prize of €5,000 for the article at a prize giving ceremony in Berlin. The highly regarded bi-monthly 'FOCUS Gesundheit' ('Health') publication has is a speciality spin out of FOCUS magazine, Germany's third-largest weekly news magazine. "The contribution of Simone Einzmann inspired us with a scientifically sound and also very clear representation on the impact of the micro-flora in our intestines on our thinking and emotions', explained Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Schreiber a renowned gastroenterologist, director of the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology Kiel University, and President of the German Society of Probiotic Medicine DePROM