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Professor Shane O'Mara

Shane O'Mara

Position & Discipline

Professor of Experimental Brain Research, Trinity College Dublin

Director, Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience


Shane O'Mara is Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin, Principal Investigator and Director of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from NUI Galway and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin (FTCD), and was the first Ireland-based elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (FAPS) and is an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA).

His research work is supported by industry, philanthropy and biomedical charities. He was the first recipient in Ireland of a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, which are provided to "support exceptional, world-class researchers, who already hold a recognised academic position and whose research will address the most important questions about health and disease".

He has published more than 110 peer-reviewed papers in the areas of his research interests, including brain systems supporting learning, memory, cognition and decision-making; brain systems affected by stress, anxiety, depression and motivation; and the application of brain science to business organisations and to public policy issues.

His forthcoming book 'Why Torture Doesn't Work: The Neuroscience of Interrogation', published by Harvard University Press, will be released in November 2015.

Shane O'Mara blog.

Key Publications

Wright, N.F., Vann, S.D., Erichsen, J.T. O'Mara, S.M. and Aggleton, J.P. (2013). Segregation of parallel inputs to the anteromedial and anteroventrial thalamic nuclei of the rat. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 521, 2966-2986.

Mullaly, S.L. and O'Mara, S.M. (2013) Suppressing the encoding of new information in memory: a behavioral study derived from principles of hippocampal function. PLoS One, 8, e50814.

Jankowski, M. M., Ronnqvist, K. C., Tsanov, M., Vann, S. D., Wright, N. F., Erichsen, J. T., Aggleton, J. P., and O'Mara, S. M. (2013) The anterior thalamus provides a subcortical circuit supporting memory and spatial navigation, Frontiers in systems neuroscience 7, 45.

Wang, B. W., Hok, V., Della-Chiesa, A., Callaghan, C., Barlow, S., Tsanov, M., Bechara, R., Irving, E., Virley, D. J., Upton, N., and O'Mara, S. M. (2012) Rosiglitazone enhances learning, place cell activity, and synaptic plasticity in middle-aged rats, Neurobiol Aging 33, 835 e813-830.

Middei, S., Spalloni, A., Longone, P., Pittenger, C., O'Mara, S. M., Marie, H., and Ammassari-Teule, M. (2012) CREB selectively controls learning-induced structural remodeling of neurons, Learning & memory (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.) 19, 330-336.

Hok, V., Chah, E., Reilly, R. B., and O'Mara, S. M. (2012) Hippocampal dynamics predict interindividual cognitive differences in rats, The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 32, 3540-3551.

Feeney, J., Gaffney, P., and O'Mara, S. M. (2012) Age and cortisol levels modulate judgment of positive and negative facial expressions, Psychoneuroendocrinology 37, 827-835.

Callaghan, C. K., Hok, V., Della-Chiesa, A., Virley, D. J., Upton, N., and O'Mara, S. M. (2012) Age-related declines in delayed non-match-to-sample performance (DNMS) are reversed by the novel 5HT6 receptor antagonist SB742457, Neuropharmacology 63, 890-897.

Irish M, Lawlor BA, Coen RF, O'Mara SM. Everyday episodic memory in amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment: A preliminary investigation. BMC Neurosci. 2011 Aug 4;12(1):80.

Irish, M, Lawlor, BA, O'Mara, SM & Coen, RF. (2011). Impaired capacity for autonoetic reliving during autobiographical event recall in mild Alzheimer's disease. Cortex, 47, 236-249.

Kelly, L, Grehan, B, Della Chiesa, A, O'Mara SM, Downer, E, Sahyoun, G, Massey, KA, Nicolaou, A, & Lynch, MA (2010). The polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DPA exert a protective effect in the hippocampus of the aged rat. Neurobiology of Aging, in press.

Irish, M, Lawlor, BA, O'Mara, SM & Coen, RF. (2010). Exploring the recollective experience during autobiographical memory retrieval in amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16, 546-555.

Roche, RAP, Mullally, SL, McNulty, JP, Hayden, J, Brennan, P, Doherty, CP, Fitzsimons, M, McMackin, D, Prendergast, J, Sukumaran, S, Mangaoang, M, Robertson IH & O'Mara, SM. Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain. BMC Neuroscience, 10,136-153.

Last updated 17 August 2015

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