Universiteit Leiden

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Katerina Johnson

Name
Dr. K.V.A. Johnson
E-mail
k.v.a.johnson@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

I am a Postdoc and research the interactions between our gut microbes and the brain i.e. the science of ‘that gut feeling’. I am fascinated by the trillions of bacteria that inhabit our bodies and in particular the ways in which they may interact with our brain to influence our mood and behaviour. Bidirectional communication between our gut microbiome (community of microorganisms living in the gut) and central nervous system can be mediated via neural, endocrine and immune mechanisms. This microbiome–gut–brain axis is an exciting frontier in neuroscience.

More information about Katerina Johnson

I research the interactions between our gut microbes and the brain i.e. the science of ‘that gut feeling’. I am fascinated by the trillions of bacteria that inhabit our bodies and in particular the ways in which they may interact with our brain to influence our mood and behaviour. Bidirectional communication between our gut microbiome (community of microorganisms living in the gut) and central nervous system can be mediated via neural, endocrine and immune mechanisms. This microbiome–gut–brain axis is an exciting frontier in neuroscience.My research at the University of Oxford on the connections between the gut microbiome and the brain and behaviour included research in human populations, model organisms, wild monkeys and evolutionary biology. I am currently working with Dr Laura Steenbergen at Leiden University to investigate how the gut and its microbiome can influence mood, emotion and cognition using data from human cohorts.

I am a keen advocate of science communication and promoting the public understanding of the life sciences. I often engage with the media and journalists to disseminate my research findings internationally. This includes live TV filming (Sky and CTV News), feature piece filming (ITV News), radio interviews (e.g. BBC Radio 4 Inside Science, BBC Radio 4 PM Programme and BBC World Service), podcasts (e.g. Naked Scientists) and national and international newspapers and magazines. I also enjoy speaking at live events and directly interacting with the public, like my TEDx talk all about the future of the gut microbiome.

Research

My research interests lie in understanding how the gut and its microbial environment affect mood, emotion, personality and social behaviour. I am also interested in the microbiome from an evolutionary and ecological perspective. My research spans the fields of microbiology, metagenomics, molecular genetics, neuroscience, psychology, behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology.

Awards

  • Bioscience Impact Award, Oxford Innovation
  • R. G. Collingwood Prize for exceptional academic achievement & leadership in the University & academic world, Pembroke College
  • Public Engagement & Outreach Award, Doctoral Training Centre
  • Senior Studentship, Pembroke College
  • Project Publication Prizes, Doctoral Training Centre
  • BBSRC Studentship Award & Research Grant
  • Academic Undergraduate & Graduate Scholarships, Pembroke College
  • Prestigious Gibbs Prize for meritorious work in Biological Sciences, University of Oxford

More info and contact

Relevant links 

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Klinische Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Contact

Publications

No relevant ancillary activities

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