Gut Feelings



Mind and Body Gallery
Melbourne Museum
11 Nicholson Street
Carlton, Victoria, 3053
What's On

Your mind. Your microbes

Stunning displays explore new revelations that our minds, guts and microbes are inextricably linked. How do gut microbes affect your thoughts and behaviours? How can you love them so they’ll love you back?

Learn the answer to all of these questions and more, through immersive, multi-sensory experiences inside the exhibition. Walk amongst your microbes in a stunning gut tunnel, marvel at art and science installations and see the gut in a whole new light, from poo-transplants to probiotic-rich diets.

“Around 1-2kgs of you is microbes, and we’re just now discovering the powerful reach of these little helpers", says Dr Johanna Simkin, senior curator of human biology and medicine. "Every month, new research further reveals the detail and precision of these microbe effects—it’s given us a whole new understanding of how the human body works."

The Victorian Oral Microbiome and Lifestyle Study 

Having a rich and diverse community of microbes is good for us, but how do our lifestyles affect this mix? Does who we live with influence our microbial richness? Eating well and time in nature might be beneficial for obtaining a diverse microbiome, but what about owning a pet? Or drinking tea vs coffee? Or even where we live?

To investigate these questions and more we are creating a digital microbe map of Victoria, and taking a sample from one end of the gut, the mouth. The living microbe map at the Gut Feelings exhibition is a world-first research project that will sample, analyse and map saliva donated by 1000 visitors, to show how, or indeed if, our microbes reflect our daily lives.

Here, microbes in saliva donated by visitors are processed and analysed by the Doherty Institute and the University of Melbourne for research. Throughout the project, Melbourne Museum will use the information to create a map installation within the exhibition, showcasing Victoria’s microbiome diversity–growing with new data collected each month.

If you would like to assist in this research, drop by the pop-up research station in front of the Gut Feelings exhibition and submit a sample of your saliva on one of the following dates:

  • Tuesday 24 September
  • Thursday 26 September
  • Friday 27 September
  • Saturday 28 September
  • Friday 4 October