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Staff

Louise Gallagher

Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Professor Louise Gallagher (MB MRCPsych PhD) is an academic clinician, i.e. an autism researcher and a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist in the health service. She leads the autism and rare neurodevelopmental disorders group and her research interests are in ASD genetics, translational approaches to understanding behaviour in ASD and other rare neurodevelopmental disorders, therapies and psychiatric comorbidities. Louise is involved in a number of large international autism and rare neurodevelopmental disorder consortia internationally. She is focused on translating research into clinical solutions for people with ASD and other rare neurodevelopmental disorders.  Louise's contact email is lgallagh@tcd.ie (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 ADOS.training@tcd.ie.)


Nadia Bolshakova

Research Project Manager

Dr. 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 bolshakn@tcd.ie


Lorna Lopez

Research Fellow

Dr 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 lorna.lopez@tcd.ie, and her Google Scholar Author Profile is here


Karen Whelan

PhD candidate

Dr 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 whelank3@tcd.ie


Jane McGrath

PhD candidate

Dr. 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 jane.mcgrath@tcd.ie


Ana McLaughlin

PhD Candidate

Ana McLaughlin graduated with a BA (Hons) in Psychology, followed by an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience from King’s College London. In 2013, Ana joined the Autism Research Group led by Prof. Louise Gallagher at the Department of Psychiatry and Institute for Molecular Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.
Here, she worked as a research assistant on a number of studies in the area of Psychosis, Conduct Disorder and ASD. She is currently a PhD candidate examining reward processing and learning in ASD using fMRI, under the joint-supervision of Dr Clare Kelly and Prof. Louise Gallagher. Ana's contact email is mclauga1@tcd.ie


Clare Kelly

Ussher Assistant Professor of Functional Neuroimaging
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 clare.kelly@tcd.ie and her Google Scholar Author Profile is available here: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1_bjrikAAAAJ&hl=en


Sarah Feighan

PhD Candidate
Sarah 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 feighans@tcd.ie.


Eleisa Heron

PhD candidate
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 Department 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 eaheron@tcd.ie


Thomas Dinneen

PhD candidate

Thomas Dinneen graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Genetics (mod.) from Trinity College Dublin. He completed an internship in the Neuropsychiatric Genetics lab under supervision of Prof. Gallagher in 2017, where he conducted a project testing NRXN1 protein levels in whole blood samples. He joined the group as a PhD candidate in 2018. His focus is investigating genetic variation in a cohort of individuals carrying a genomic copy number variant, NRXN1 deletion. His project is part of the AIMS-2 TRIALS initiative. This is a pan-European collaborative effort amongst 48 institutions whose aim is to develop effective treatments for Autism Spectrum Disorders (https://www.eu-aims.eu/). Thomas’ contact email is dinneent@tcd.ie


Claire Foley

Research Fellow
Dr 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 foleyc7@tcd.ie


Richard OConaill

Research Assistant

Richard O'Conaill recently completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology with French at Trinity College Dublin. He began working as a research assistant in IMMALab at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience in September 2017, under the supervision Dr Clare Kelly. Working with other members of the team, he was investigating memory ability and brain activity in Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as reward processing and brain activity in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. For his undergraduate thesis, he conducted a randomised controlled trial which piloted a novel cognitive training program with a group of adolescents on the autistic spectrum – he looks forward to publishing the findings of this study in the coming months. Richard joined the Neuropsychiatric Genetics team in September 2018, where he works as a clinical research assistant. Aside from research, Richard has a passion for singing, and is a regular performer at a number of different music festivals, and concert venues across Ireland. Richard’s contact email is oconailr@tcd.ie