Meet the 2017 Science for All Finalists - Katie Togher

3 Apr 2017
Spotlight on Katie Togher

Katie Togher, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,  Infant/APC Microbiome Institute

Happy Mum, Happy Microbiome?

I was born in the United Kingdom but returned to Ireland with my family as a toddler and have spent the vast majority of my life living in Cork.  

I graduated from University College Cork (UCC) in 2013 with a first class honours degree in Neuroscience. Having developed a passion for developmental biology during my studies, I remained in UCC to undertake a PhD with the Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT) and the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC).

I am very interested in the area of perinatal psychiatry, mainly in the biological mechanism in which mental health issues in the prenatal period impact both mom and baby. My current research is assessing the impact of prenatal mental health on the microbiome in pregnancy and on the development of the infant microbiome in the first few months of life. I also spent some time investigating how prenatal mental health impacts the placenta, a critical organ in fetal development.

Targeting the microbiome to improve mental health in pregnancy and, subsequently, improve pregnancy and newborn outcomes is a relatively new area of research. This is exciting as the microbiome can be manipulated with diet, prebiotics, probiotics and maybe even exercise. This offers a novel therapeutic strategy that may contribute to how we manage mental health in pregnancy.

I am very passionate about health and fitness, having been a competitive athlete in martial arts for most of my life. Usually, if I am not at work, I can be found at a gym!

I entered Science For All because I love the challenge of communicating science. I think it’s very important to let the public know about the research we do. In particular for research like mine, which wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity and commitment of the general public. I enjoy having the opportunity to let all of our wonderful volunteers know the that the time they have giving us has made significant advancements towards improving and understanding pregnancy health. Science for All provides the perfect platform to do this. 

For more on this story contact:

For further information please contact Dr Catherine Buckley, Communications & Outreach Manager, APC Microbiome Institute 086 8554744;

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