My name is Danny. I’m doing my PhD in Neuroendocrinology at the University of Edinburgh. I study the intersection between hormones and the brain.
I did my MSci in Biomedical Science at the University of Aberdeen, and moved down to Edinburgh to eventually start my PhD.
My project looks at the prenatal stress and the gut microbiome. What does that mean?
Well, we know that when a foetus is exposed to stress in the womb (as in, the mum is stressed while pregnant), it can develop a number of negative outcomes. These include cardiovascular disease, autism, or other mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. And it’s the latter that I’m particularly interested in.
Now, the second aspect of my PhD is the gut microbiome. We know that our guts contain a ton of bacteria that can both be helpful, and not so helpful to us. The right balance of bacterial species and numbers keeps us healthy, but changes in that equilibrium can lead to poor physical and mental health too.
We also know that PNS can alter the gut microbiome that is passed on from the mum to the offspring. So I’m looking at both, trying to find potential link between the two and to figure out how one can be influencing the other.