Dr Katerina Johnson
Dr Katerina Johnson is interested in the gut and its complex microbial community, its interactions with the brain and the ways in which the gut can affect how we think, feel and behave i.e. the science of that ‘gut feeling’.
Her research focuses on this microbiome-gut-brain connection, an exciting frontier in neuroscience, and its potential to provide novel insights into individual variation in social behaviour, emotion, cognition and personality. She is also interested in the microbiome from an evolutionary and ecological perspective.
Dr Johnson is a keen science communicator, with her research often featuring in the media, and is also involved in science policy, contributing to parliamentary roundtables on gut health and the Government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) expert panel and steering group on the gut-brain-immunology axis.
- Probiotics & prebiotics
- Gut bacteria
- Brain & behaviour
- Social behaviour
- Gut feelings: Vagal stimulation reduces emotional biases. Neuroscience 494, 119-131 (2022)
- Gut microbiome composition and diversity are related to human personality traits. Human Microbiome 15 (2020)
- Microbial transmission in animal social networks and the social microbiome. Nature Ecology & Evolution 4, 1020-1035 (2020)
- Why does the microbiome affect behaviour? Nature Reviews Microbiology 16, 647–655 (2018)
- Male great tits assort by personality during the breeding season (Animal Behaviour 128, 21-32 (2017))
- Microbiome: Should we diversify from diversity? (Gut Microbes 7, 455-458 (2016))
- Pain tolerance predicts human social network size. Scientific Reports 6, 25267 (2016)
Dr Katerina Johnson has considerable experience working with local, national and international media, including live and pre-recorded interviews for television and radio e.g. Sky News, ITV, BBC, The Guardian, Telegraph and Time magazine. She also has work experience in the industry as a researcher for science documentaries for the BBC and National Geographic. Dr Johnson was also chosen to be a TEDx Speaker 2019.
Please visit Dr Johnson's Twitter feed and YouTube channel for current and past media engagement and science communication activities.
Recent media work
- Vox ‘Unexplainable’: Your gut’s feelings (Podcast, 2022)
- Hacking the gut-brain hotline (The Naked Scientists, 2019)
- BBC Radio 4 PM Programme (2019)
- What we do and don't know about gut health (BBC Future, 2019)
- Opinion: Microbial Mind Control - Truth or Scare? (The Scientist, 2018)
- A deadly buffalo, a big greenhouse and does our gut control our mind (FunKids Science Weekly Podcast)
- Violins - Social networks and cliques in great tits and snow monkeys - Exploring DNA and art (BBC Inside Science, 2017)
- Do People Who Have A Large Circle Of Friends Have A Higher Tolerance For Pain? (Sky News, 2016)
- Friends may be better than morphine at killing pain, study suggests (CTV News, 2016)