News & Events

Event Summary: CAN-BIND Brings Gut Microbes, Probiotics and Wellness to Science Rendezvous 2019

Science Rendezvous is held during Mental Health Week every year across Canada and is a fun national festival that helps universities, schools and research institutes showcase exciting findings and initiatives in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to the general public in a clear and interactive manner.

For a third year in a row, CAN-BIND hosted a booth at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus and organized a number of engaging education activities-eight to be exact! The CAN-BIND program partnered with the Foster Lab, led by Dr. Jane Foster, Associate Professor at McMaster University and Co-lead of CAN-BIND’s Molecular Platform to host an interconnected booth titled, “Gut Microbes, Probiotics and Wellness”!

Read about our event and download printable resources below. 


Did you know that there are friendly bacteria in your gut? In this activity, visitors learnt more about what different microbes in our gut look like and how they are connected to our brain health. Adults and children alike put their creative skills to work and fashioned their very own take-home sock puppet microbes.

60+ sock puppet microbes were created at our Buid-a-Microbe activity booth. The activity was led by volunteers including Dr. Jane Foster and Cassandra Francella (middle photo) and Janice Pong (right photo).

Where are the Bacteria?


There are bacteria all over the human body—some help us to stay healthy, while others can make us sick. Visitors learnt about 10 different types of bacteria and tested their knowledge by categorizing the bacteria as “good” or “bad” on our activity board.

Looking for a refresher in Microbiology 101? Click on the activity board icon on the right to download the “Where are the Bacteria” poster and test your knowledge!

Bean Bag Toss and Concentration Game

Dr. Narasimhan competed with visitors in the microbe-themed “concentration game”.


A twist on two very popular games, our microbe-themed “bean bag toss” and “concentration game” attracted many determined game players! Individuals attempted to knock all of the cans down to win a small prize or competed against CAN-BIND Post-doctoral Fellow, Dr. Vijay Narasimhan, in the pair-matching game. Through these activities, players also learnt about microbes and probiotic foods.




Have you noticed the buzz around probiotics lately? At this installation, visitors were able to ask research expert Dr. Jane Foster questions about the gut-brain connection, what probiotics are and learn where to find information on evidence-based probiotic products.

Download our probiotics information card here. 

Share a Wellness Goal

Visitors added their personal wellness goals to the community art mural.


At this station, visitors were asked to look at the “How Can We Live Well” activity board, reflect and think of personal wellness goals. Visitors then shared their wellness goals on our community art mural and created matching wellness mementos to take home to serve as a reminder to practice wellness throughout the year.

Looking to set a personal wellness goal? Read through and download our activity board for inspiration

Raffle Draw


Back by popular demand, we hosted multiple raffle draws which featured:

  • 24 Giant Microbe plush such as Escherichia coli and Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • two copies of the book, “The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection” by Scott C. Anderson, John F. Cryan and Ted Dinan


Thank you to our 600+ visitors who participated in our hands-on activities and helped to make our booth a success. We hope you enjoyed the day. We would also like to thank all of our event volunteers for their time and enthusiasm.

For more information about the Foster Lab, visit To learn more about Science Rendezvous and how you can get involved, visit


Questions or feedback for CAN-BIND? Please email us at

Photos by: Anum Shivji Arwani and Janice Pong
Written by: Anum Shivji Arwani