Cognitive Systems Group
I have an appointment as Science Foundation Ireland Stokes Lecturer in Biostatistical Imaging in the Discipline of Psychiatry, School of Medicine. My main research interests is in understanding how large scale neural networks in the brain support cognitive function and how breakdown in such networks lead to cognitive impairment. I have been examining these issues by investigation of visual processing of stimuli in healthy subjects and in cognitively impaired groups such as Alzheimer's disease patients. In addition, I am investigating the networks that underpin memory function in healthy people and the breakdown of such networks in Alzheimer's disease. As well as examining cognitive function within the functional domain, I am very interested in how function and structure interact to produce changes in neural networks. I am investigating these issues with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
I completed a B.Sc. in psychology in National University of Ireland Maynooth in 2007, and graduated with First Class Honours. I began the Four-Year Integrated PhD in Neuroscience in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) in September 2007, and following several short research projects in the first year I choose to undertake my doctorate in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) under the supervision of Dr. Arun Bokde. My PhD research is focused on emotional memory processes and how they are represented in the brain. I am particularly interested in using MRI to access how these processes and their neural correlates change across the life span, in both healthy aging and age-related cognitive decline. I am also interested in how individual differences play a role in emotional perception and memory. The main research tools I use are fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), as well as behavioural and neuropsychological tests. In 2009 I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics. I am also heavily involved in organising the TCIN seminar series and the Trinity College Neuroscience Society (Neurosoc), which was the first student neuroscience society established in Ireland.
I studied Psychology in University College Dublin and graduated with Honours in 2008. Upon leaving university I worked for 12 months as an Assistant Psychologist and Research Assistant in Adelaide & Meath Hospital incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, while completing a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy in Dublin Business School. I have also trained with Aware, a well-known volunteer organisation which deals with unipolar depression, manic depression and suicide and I continue to work with this organisation on a regular basis. I began my PhD studies in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) in April 2009 following on from my year as a Research Assistant, where I was heavily involved in the recruitment and assessment of elderly participants in various stages of healthy ageing and dementia. I have continued to work within this study and am currently involved in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as well as neuropsychological data. My primary research interests are in the field of working memory performance and my studies will expand to include different age groups and investigations of various aspects of working memory.