Lawson and Western to host free symposium on health through food and microbes


London, ON – The past decade has featured rapid acceleration in the study of microbes and how they influence human and planetary health. This includes the study of probiotics and their diverse benefits. On Friday, May 4, Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson) and Western University will host a free public symposium on health through food and microbes.

The symposium will cover dynamic areas of research that are collectively impacting society and human wellbeing. These include the critical role of honey bees in pollination, bioremediation of toxic compounds, fermented food, maternal and infant nutrition and how microbes can confer a range of health benefits. The topics include a view of life in developing countries, and efforts to help people overcome many challenges.

The highlight of the event is a Gairdner Global Health Lecture titled “Food for 9.7 billion people,” delivered by Rob Vos, Director Markets, Trade and Institutions, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC. Dr. Vos will discuss the key challenges facing today’s food systems and the implications of failing to address them for the global burden of disease.

“We live in a microbial world, and beneficial ones are essential to the future of our planet and for human wellness and longevity,” says Gregor Reid, PhD, a scientist at Lawson, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and lead organizer of this symposium. “The highly respected speakers at this event will highlight the potential for microbes to improve global health, and remind us of the fragility of life on this planet.”

The event will conclude with an open forum and a reception featuring locally produced fermented foods.

Media are invited to attend this symposium and interview Gregor Reid and Rob Vos:

Date: Friday, May 4, 2018
Time: 12:45 – 6:30 p.m. (Please see the event poster for a full list of presentations)
*Gregor Reid and Rob Vos will be available for media interviews at 12 p.m.
Location: Western University, Arts & Humanities Building, Room 1R40
Please confirm with Jessica Bonin if you plan on attending.


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About Lawson Health Research Institute

Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in health care. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

About Western

Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.

About The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery. 

Media Contacts
Celine Zadorsky

Communications Consultant & External Relations
Lawson Health Research Institute
T: 519-685-8500 ext. 75664
C. 519-619-3872