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Autism Research Team

Professor Louise GallagherProfessor Louise Gallagher (MB MRCPsych PhD) is Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Trinity College Dublin and a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the HSE/ National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght. She completed her medical training in University College Dublin in 1994 and trained in Psychiatry in the Dublin University Training Scheme at St. Patrick’s and St. James’s Hospital. Following the award of a Wellcome Trust Mental Health Training Fellowship, she completed her PhD on autism genetics in the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College and subsequently completed Higher Specialist Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. During the course of her PhD she established a research group in Autism Genetics and this group is actively involved in the investigation of genetic vulnerability factors contributing to autism. The group is part of a large international collaboration of autism researchers, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) and Prof. Gallagher is one of the Senior Investigators of this research program. She is the principal investigator of The Autism Simplex Collection (TASC), which is an international collaborative effort to establish a repository of autism trios in association with Autism Speaks, AGRE and the NIMH (see link). Prof. Gallagher has a busy clinical practice involving an autism spectrum disorders pre-school assessment service in the National Children’s Hospital and a community based Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Clondalkin. Louise's contact email is (Please do not email requests for clinical consultations to this email as I regret that I am unable to respond to them.) (Requests for ADOS training should be emailed to

Dr. Nadia BolshakovaDr. Nadia Bolshakova received M.Sc. degree from St.-Petersburg State Technical University, Russia in 1996 and Ph.D. degree from Department of Computational Mathematics, North-West State Technical University, St.-Petersburg, Russia in 2000. She took part in research projects at the Institute of Cytology of Russian Academy of Sciences and Trinity College Dublin where she was researching in the areas at the intersection of computer science and life sciences, such as bioinformatics and intelligent systems. Nadia has published number of articles in journals, conference proceedings and books related to bioinformatics, biomodelling and cell biology and has been a referee for several scientific journals. She joined Neuropsychiatric Genetics Research Group at Trinity College Dublin in 2007 as a Research Project Manager of the Autism Simplex Collection (TASC) and the Irish part of Autism Genome Project (AGP). Nadia's contact email is


Dr. Nadia BolshakovaDr Lorna Lopez (nee Houlihan) works on understanding the biological basis of psychiatric illness. Lorna graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA (Genetics) Natural Sciences in 2002, and from The University of Edinburgh with a PhD (Psychiatric Genetics) in 2008. Lorna’s research expertise ranges from genomic to molecular and proteomic approaches in family and population based studies, and always with a focus on understanding the genetic basis of mental illness and other brain- and medical-related traits.  Lorna has worked under the guidance of Professor David Porteous (Molecular Medicine Centre, Edinburgh) for her doctoral studies, and with Professor Ian Deary (Department of Psychology, Edinburgh) and Professor David Cotter (RCSI, Dublin) for her postdoctoral research. Now back to Trinity with Professor Louise Gallagher in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, Lorna will lead research on discovering the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders through whole genome sequencing. Lorna has received funding from SFI, AXA Research Fund and The Wellcome Trust. Lorna’s email is, and her Google Scholar Author Profile is here

Dr. Karen WhelanDr Karen Whelan graduated from medical school in Trinity College Dublin in 2010 and became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2014. She completed the Dublin University Psychiatric Rotational Training Programme in 2015. Karen was awarded a Clinical Research Fellowship by the National Children’s Research Centre in 2017 to investigate the links between inflammation and the weight gain associated with antipsychotic medication use. Karen is currently working as a PhD candidate on this project in TCD while also completing higher specialist training in child and adolescent mental health. Karen’s contact email is


Dr. Eleisa Heron graduated with a B.A.(Hons) and M.Sc. in mathematics from Trinity College Dublin before undertaking doctoral training in the Deptment of Statistics, TCD. Eleisa obtained a Ph.D. in the area of Bayesian statistics with a specific application to the modelling of reliability in hip replacement bone cement. On completing her Ph.D., Eleisa joined Warwick University, UK, as a research fellow, jointly based in the Deptment of Statistics and Warwick Systems Biology Centre. Here, Eleisa's research involved the use of Bayesian statistical techniques to model and estimate biologically meaningful parameters of gene regulatory networks. Eleisa took up the post of biostatistical genetics lecturer in the neuropsychiatric genetics research group in July 2008. Eleisa's contact email is

Dr Jane McGrathDr. Jane McGrath graduated from medical school in Trinity College Dublin in 2002 and became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2006. Jane worked on the Autism Genome Project for a year as a research registrar collecting clinical information and blood samples from participating family members. She was granted a Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician Scientist Fellowship in 2008, and completed a PhD in which she investigated brain structure, function and connectivity in adolescents with autism spectrum disorder using a variety of neuroimaging techniques including functional and diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Following this, Jane completed her Clinical Specialist Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Her present research has largely been driven by concerns that have arisen out of clinical practice, and aims to improve clinical practice and safety for patients. She is currently supervising a study funded by the National Children’s Research Centre, which is investigating the links between inflammation and the weight gain associated with antipsychotic medication use.  Jane's contact email is

Ana McLaughlinAna McLaughlin graduated with a BA (Hons) in Psychology followed by an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. In 2012 she joined the department of Psychiatry in Trinity College Dublin, where her work focused on a study of cognitive remediation therapy for psychosis. She is currently working as research assistant with the autism research group. Ana's contact email is



Clare Kelly Dr. Clare Kelly received her BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin in 2002, where she also completed her PhD, under the supervision of Hugh Garavan, PhD. After completing her PhD in 2005, she joined the lab of Drs F. Xavier Castellanos and Michael P. Milham at the New York University Child Study Center. Clare spent ten years in New York, using task-based, task-free (i.e., resting state), and structural imaging methods to study the functional and structural architecture of the developing brain, and how that architecture is altered by mental illness. In January of 2015, Clare returned to Ireland and to Trinity College to become an Ussher Assistant Professor of Functional Neuroimaging, working at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), the School of Psychology, and Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine. Here in TCD, Clare continues to use functional and structural neuroimaging methods to understand the developing brain and how typical brain development goes awry. Her studies aim to better understand mental illnesses and to improve treatments by tracing the origins of disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder, and depression in the developing brain. Clare’s email is and her Google Scholar Author Profile is available here:

Sarah FeighanSarah Feighan graduated with a BA (Hons) in Psychology from University College Dublin followed by an MSc in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dublin. In 2014 she joined the autism group where she worked on her MSc thesis looking at the effect of methylphenidate on attention pathways in Autism and AD/HD. She continued working as a research assistant for the group where she worked on a number of research studies in the area of ASD, Conduct Disorder and Prader-Willi Syndrome. She is currently undertaking a PhD which focuses on developing a national clinical registry and biobank for individuals with autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders in Ireland. Sarah’s contact email is

Claire FoleyDr Claire Foley graduated from medicine in University College Dublin in 2007 and became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2012. Claire completed the Dublin University Psychiatry Rotational Training Programme in 2013. Claire is currently working as a clinical research fellow in TCD while also completing higher specialist training in child and adolescent mental health. Claire is a PhD candidate working on a project examining associations between phenotypic variables and pathogenic copy number variants in neurodevelopmental disorders. Claire’s contact email is

Matthew O'Sullivan graduated from University College Dublin with an honours degree in Psychology. After working at a local charity specialising in support for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, Matthew then completed a research masters in Trinity College Dublin, supervised by Prof. Louise Gallagher and Dr. Elizabeth Heron. Matthew’s thesis sought to characterise aggressive behaviour in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) by devising behavioural subgroups in ASD. Matthew is currently working as a research assistant to Prof. Louise Gallagher, facilitating the creation of the Irish Autism Registry, a nationwide database for information pertaining to the experience of living with ASD in Ireland. Matthew’s contact email is

Last updated 15 March 2018 by School Web Administrator.