Dr. Rachel D Moloney received a B.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry from UCC in 2009 after which she received an M.Sc. in Neuropharmacology from National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). She completed her Ph.D. in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Dept. Anatomy & Neuroscience, UCC in 2014, followed by post-doctoral research at APC Microbiome Ireland. Rachel then pursued post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, USA and the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. During this time, she was awarded a prestigious NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain and Behaviour Research foundation (USA). In December 2019, Rachel took up her position as Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy and Dept. of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, University College Cork and in 2022 she progressed across the Merit bar.
Rachel’s current research is focused on understanding the role of traumatic stress on brain circuitry and its impact on empathy-related behaviours, particularly in the context of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, anxiety and depression. Her lab focuses on stress neurobiology across the lifespan, utilizing cutting edge tools such as chemogenetics and other viral vector strategies (TRAP) to manipulate specific brains areas and unravel neuronal circuits. In parallel with this, Rachel is interested in the role of the gut microbiome in mediating the bi-directional communication between these brain circuits and the gut, with the goal to elucidate potential pathways which may be targeted for future therapies of stress-related illnesses.