The Gut Microbiota for Health Summit: A Brief History

Former European Society of Neurogastroenterology & Motility (ESNM) president Fernando Azpiroz, a gastroenterologist at Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain, has been involved in all three previous Gut Microbiota for Health World Summits.

As the fourth summit approaches, he spoke with Gut Microbiota for Health Experts Exchange to give a brief history of the event.

Professor F. Azpiroz, gastroenterologist at Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona, Spain

Professor F. Azpiroz, gastroenterologist at Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, Spain

What motivated the first Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit in 2012?

The first one was only organised by the Gut Microbiota & Health section of the ESNM. It was a tremendous success. Actually, an almost unexpected success.

At that time, the influence of microbiota on many aspects of gastrointestinal physiology in the pathophysiology of many conditions became apparent.

Within gastroenterology there was nothing else like the Gut Summit. Many key leaders in American gastroenterology joined us and it was quite multi-disciplinary, involving both basic scientists and clinicians.

How did the Gut Summit come to be jointly planned by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and the ESNM?

There was so much interest [in the first meeting] that the AGA called me, offering to join the organisation of the next meeting. So the second meeting took place in Madrid. It was jointly organised by the Gut Microbiota & Health section of the ESNM and the AGA.

Then we decided that we would keep the interaction and that we would jointly organise the meeting yearly, alternating on both sides of the Atlantic. So the next one, that would be the third one, was organised in Miami, again jointly organised by the AGA and the ESNM. At that time, the interest was so clear — the interest as shown in the attendance and the interest in the society in general — that the AGA decided to create an institute of microbiota, something similar to what we had created a couple of years before.

Now, this will be the fourth meeting. This will be organised in Barcelona, again jointly, and the organising partners will be the microbiota institute of the AGA, and the Microbiota & Health section of the ESNM.

Where do you plan to hold future Gut Summits?

Given the interest in attendance of people from Latin America, we decided that we would, for the next years, hold it in Miami and in Barcelona. Because Miami’s close to Latin America, [it] is easier for them to attend the meeting, and in Barcelona because the language is a facilitator and it may be an attractive location for people in Latin America.

Kristina Campbell
Kristina Campbell
Science writer Kristina Campbell (M.Sc.), from British Columbia (Canada), specializes in communicating about the gut microbiota, digestive health, and nutrition. Author of the best selling Well-Fed Microbiome Cookbook, her freelance work has appeared in publications around the world. Kristina joined the Gut Microbiota for Health publishing team in 2014.  Find her on: GoogleTwitter