Volunteers Needed

cognitive brain

Summary: We are delighted to be joining the AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium consisting of research gro​ups from over 40 institutions across Europe working together. To find out more about AIMS-2-TRIALS, you can visit the website at www.aims-2-trials.eu. As part of AIMS-2-TRIALS, we will be expanding our research on rare genetic variants associated with autism, in the Synaptic Gene Study. For this study we are interested in learning about behaviour, cognition and brain development in people with a rare genetic condition known as NRXN1 deletion. 

This study involves interviews and questionnaires, pen-and-paper tasks, a blood draw, eye-tracking and a measures of brain function and structure using EEG and MRI.


We looking for any child, adolescent or adult over the age of two years with a NRXN1 (2p16.3) deletion and their families to take part in the study.

We are also looking in any child, adolescent or adult over the age of two years without any known genetic condition and their families to take part in the study.

NRXN1 Study Newsletter November 2019 (pdf)

Contact Information

Email: autism@tcd.ie

Phone: 01 8962219

Summary: We’re looking to understand the biology behind autism. The foundation of our bodies lies in our DNA and this is where we are going to look. How are we going to do it? We will measure your DNA, then have a look to see which parts of the DNA are related to autism. Like any genetic study, families are the best way to do this. The first step is to get in touch and we will talk the research process through with you and your family.

Recruitment: We are recruiting families with a two or more affected family members with an autism diagnosis.

Contact Information

Email: autism@tcd.ie

Phone: 01 8962219

Summary: Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic syndrome.  Social cognition, or the ability to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, is impaired in PWS.  In this project, we will carefully evaluate social cognition and social reward alterations in PWS using clinical assessment and neurocognitive methods (EEG, eye tracking). We will look at how social cognition and reward processing might contribute to autism symptoms and behaviours of concern in PWS.

Recruitment: We are looking for any person with a confirmed genetic diagnosis of PWS to take part in this study

Contact Information

Email: feighans@tcd.ie

Phone: 01-8962144

We are conducting a series of investigations concerned with how genes contributing to the risk of schizophrenia influence brain structure, brain function, and how we think and feel. 

Who Can Participate?

Our studies involve both healthy volunteers and patients with psychosis (including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder).

Healthy volunteers must be:

  1. Aged 18 – 65 years old
  2. Born in Ireland, with Irish parents and grandparents on both sides
  3. Have no history of psychosis, and have no first degree relatives (parents, siblings) with a history of psychosis.

What Does the Study Involve?

We use three different approaches in these studies:

  1. Neuropsychological testing
  2. EEG (electroencephalography)
  3. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

Individuals can volunteer to participate in any one or more of these study types.


‘Neuropsychology’ involves using cognitive (i.e. thinking) tests as a measure of how your brain is functioning.  For example, tests of general intelligence (IQ), memory, perception, attention, language function etc.


EEG measures the small amount of electrical activity generated by your brain, via an electrode-cap  that is placed on the participants head.  This cap picks up the electrical impulses that are generated when certain parts of the brain are activated, for example when a person does thinking tasks such as measures of visual or auditory attention.  


MRI uses a combination of a magnetic field and radio waves to take pictures of the brain.  We are able to take two kinds of brain picture with MRI: (1) structural and (2) functional.  Functional MRI allows us to see which parts of your brain are activated when you do certain types of thinking or feeling tasks.  Structural MRI pictures allow us to see changes in the brain structure and connections between different areas of the brain that are influenced by various genes.

In addition, in all of our studies participants are required to provide either a saliva sample, used for the genetic aspects of the study.
If you are interested in participating in any of our studies, please email braingenes@tcd.ie to submit your name and contact information.

Thank you