Linda Katona is a Research Fellow in APC Microbiome Ireland (APC) and the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience at University College Cork (UCC). Linda’s current research focuses on understanding the neuronal mechanisms central to gut microbiota-brain interactions, their role in cognitive and mnemonic processing, and their importance in mental health. She leads a research group at the forefront of cellular and systems neuroscience interfacing with host-microbiome research building on an exclusive interdisciplinary approach she recently developed at the APC.
Linda was born in Marosvásárhely, Romania where she studied Computer Engineering at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania (BEng MEng). She then transitioned into Neuroscience with an MSc degree at the University of Oxford and a DPhil (PhD) in the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit at the University of Oxford testing the hypothesis that differences in connectivity and molecular composition across different hippocampal GABAergic interneuron types reflect the specialisation in their functions. She discovered that inhibition is periodic in space and time during behaviour. As a postdoc in the Department of Pharmacology and a Nicholas Kurti Junior Research Fellow in Brasenose College at the University of Oxford, she investigated how theta oscillations generated in subcortical brain areas are implemented in the cortex by identifying the contribution of distinct long-range projecting hippocampal GABAergic cell types to regulating network activity in vivo. Subsequently, she used combinatorial viral labelling strategies with optogenetics/chemogenetics and multi-unit electrophysiology to define how distinct medial septal GABAergic neurons regulate the rhythmic disinhibition of hippocampal neurons during memory-guided behaviour. In 2022, Linda has obtained four prestigious research awards from Science Foundation Ireland, the EU, the Health Research Board, and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation enabling her to set up her independent research group at UCC.
Research theme: Brain-Gut-Microbiota Axis
SDGs: Sustainable Development Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-Being
Research key words: Memory; Schizophrenia; Neural circuits; Gut microbiome; Vagus nerve; Molecular, Cellular and Systems Neuroscience; Behavioural Neurobiology