INS Dramatis Personae

Molecular / Cellular Neuroscience

Greg Atkins

– Viral Gene Therapy

  • MS and tumours
  • DNA / RNA virus’s – RNA are short duration
  • Semliki Forest Virus – asymptomatic – manipulated to induce tumour death, and also carry MS therapies
  • Verdict: Cool, but very genetics heavy, not behaviourally focused

Veronica Campbell

– toxic effects of tetrahydrocannibinol on CNS

  • Canibas’s effect on neonatical cortical developmetn
  • Perhaps same pathways affected in adult cognitive deficits
  • Plus – neurotoxicity of proteins involved in Alzheimers
  • Verdict: Cool, but too chemistry orientated

Thomas Connor

– Neuroimmunology: Brain immune system communication

  • Brains own glia’s contriutio to neuro-degeneraion (inflamatory) + disease
  • promoting anti-inflamatory glial phenotypes
  • Plus: neuro-hormonal mechanisms of stress and MDMA related immunosuppression
  • Verdict: Genetic basis of mental illness – Cool

Gavin Davey

– energy metabolism => mitocondrial role in neurodegeneration (senesence)

  • Common reduction of electron transport in Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, and Huntingdons
  • Attempts to manipulate pharmachologically
  • Verdict: Of limited interest

Aine Kelly

-cellular mechanisms of neuronal plasticity

  • biochemistry of LTP, STP etc
  • neurotrophin proteins role in mechanisms of plasticity
  • studies via electriophysiology, behavior analysis, and biochemistry
  • Verdict: Way cool, but very chemistry oriented

Julie Kelly

-thyrotropin releasing hormone TRH’s role in CNS

  • TRH is hoeostatic regulator of CNS
  • potential use in injury, epilepsy, depression etc
  • limited by degrading TRH-DE enzyme
    • Kelly’s research focus’s on developing TRH-DE inhibiors, to allow TRH therapies
    • & investigate biology of TRH-DE and TRH

Verdict: Sweet potential, but again very chemistry orientated

Marina Lynch

– signal transduction in synaptic plasticity

  • Il-IB concentration – leading to cell death, age related hippocampal deficts, related to decreaase in anti-inflamatory cytokines

Verdict: Nope

Kingston Mills

– professor of experimental immunology, 20 scientist research group

  • immunoregulatory functioning of t-cells, in relation to immune disease and neurodegenerative conditions
  • interaction between pathogens (virus’s & bacteria) and immune system
  • methods used by pathogens to reduce immune responce
  • can trigger ME, arthritis, IBS
  • identification of immunesuppressive, antiinflamatory molecules
  • therapies and vaccine development (with M Lynch)

Development / Plasticity / Research

Jane Farrar

-etiology of blinding diseases

  • Uses transgenic animals
  • Developing therapies to repair genetic defect or modulate effects
  • investigates methods of applying dsRNA to retina => viral and non-viral
  • application of therapies to CNA injuries (with Julie Kelly)

Pete Humphries

-genetics of retina disease

  • therapies based on genetics of retina disease

Paul Kenna

-genetics of blindess, skin disease and brittle bones

  • Application of retinal therapies and electrophsyiological assessment of retinal functions
  • Founded ‘Optigen Technologies’ to exploit his patents

Kevin Mitchell

-genetic basis of brain wiring in mice and human

  • Genetically encoded developmetal programs – establishing inter-region cortical connections
  • Identification of genes in mice and how variation between humans affects behavior
    • Gene trapping of new transmembrane proteins involved in axon guidance in developing brain
    • Identification via bio-informatics
    • Labeling wth vector which mutates and incorporates reporter genes
  • Also, cellular analysis of axon growth + biochemical analysis of protein functions and interactions
  • Also leads Irish synesthesia team

Verdict: Oh so very cool, genetic mapping of development

Mani Ramaswami

-molecular and classical genetics, behavior and cell biology

  • function and plasticity in fruitfly
  • experiece stimulated gene expression, underlying neuronal change
  • group studies transcriptional, translational control mechanisms
  • also mechanisms of synapse function, seizure mechanisms etc

Verdict: Genetic expression affected by experience !

Behavioral / Systems / Cognitive

Ruth Byrne

– Cognitive and neuonal processes underlying thinking

  • rationality and imagination
  • hypothetical reasoning
  • counterfactual inference
  • belief revision
  • cognitive methodologies

Verdict: Interesting research program, dull methodologies

Hugh Garavan

-neuroanatomical substrates of frontal-lobe cognitive processes / affective processes (thought and emotion)

  • fMRI
  • variation between populations – coke addicts, adult ADHD, schizophrenics, smokers, elderly
  • cognitive and working memory
  • attention – item manipulation in working memory
  • functonal interaction between brain regions
    • damage to this in clinical groups
  • methodology: identification of event-related brain activation

Verdict: Interesting research programme, and methodology

Fional Newell

– multi-sensory integration

  • synesthesia
  • how sences share infomation
  • visual and touch modalities
  • face and object recognition
  • fMRI and EEG

Verdict: Pretty cool

Shane O’Mara

-brain systems underlying memory, damage to same -how to analyise patterns of neuronal firing

  • phsyiological / pharmachological output of hyppocampus
  • recording singal neuron activity in free moving animal
  • neurophysiology / pharmachology / endricrinology methodologies + behavioural task
  • neurotrophins and protaglandins in synaptic pasticity / learning / memory
  • hippocampus – cortex interaction
    • role of subiculum -> influence on behaviour
  • interferon alpha side effects (ahedonia. memory, executive processes)

=> ameliorative use of fluoxitine to repair LTP => implications for synaptics plasticity

  • hippocampal formation function

– human behavioral tasks (n-back) and fMRI – seem to repress functioning – potential new paradigm – deficits in memory and language in surgical hippocampal lesion patients

John Foxe

-electropysiological and imagine measures of sensory and cognitive functioning

  • communtes between Dublin and NY
  • directs cognitive neurophsyiology lab in St. Vincents (schizophrenic population)
  • evoked potentials method => recording simultaneously with fMRI
  • Sensory-percetopion and attention in cortex and deficits in schizophrenia
  • neural mechanism of multisensory integration
  • attempting to develop test for electrophysiological endophenotypes of genotyped schizophrenia
  • find patients before results manifest
  • in same dept as shane

Translational / Clinical

James Gibney

– how hormones affect cognitive functions

  • clinical endrocrinologist
  • clinical studies of hormone manipulations in normal / endocrine disorder subjects
    • subjects with excessive / deficit hormones compared to normal
  • With Shane – hormone effects on cognitive function and brain metabolism
    • hyperthyriod, hypercalcaemia, type 2 diabetes


Michael Gill

– genetics of mental illness

  • Schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, depression, autism, alzhiemers
  • team of psychologists, psychiatrists, biologists, nurses and statisticians
  • phenotype clinical samples
    • identify genetic variations underlying disorder susceptibility
  • phenotypic information collected
    • neuropsychological measures, neuroimaging information, DNA samples
    • genes identified with positional cloning
  • linkage analysis done using family samples and association using population samples

Brian Lawlor

-assessment of cognition, behaviour and functioning in clinical populaions

  • Populations: Elderly vs Elderly downs syndrome, depression
  • Psychiatrists, geriatricians, psychologists
  • Developinig mars to allow detection of cognitive decline
    • Clinical, biological, genetic, imaging and neuropsychological
  • Also work to develop new clinical assessment techniques, and cognitive functioning preservation techniques
  • Memory defictis in Alzheimers

Pat McKeon & Deirdre McMackin

– neuropsychology / neuropsychiatry of affective disorders

  • McKeon – genetics, pharmacotherapy and clincal interventions of affective disorder
  • McMackin – epilepsy, neuropsychology, neurorehabilitation and neuroimagin
  • multidisciplinary memory clinic & neuropsychology clinic
  • identification of genes behind bipolar disorder
  • neurpsychological and cortisol changes following CBT (therapy)
  • relationship between functional changes and memory rehabilitation after unilater hippocampectomy
  • CBT intervension in conversion disorders
  • MRI as predictor of early onset dimentia

Des O’Neill

– stroke / dimensia

  • assesment of prism adapatation on postural stability
  • robotic devices in rehabilitation
  • adaption after stroke – higher order functioning (e.g.: driving)
  • modelling behavioural and neurocognitive substrate of preserved driving abilities in degenerative disease

Ian Robertson

– head of psychology dept

  • Neurorehabilitation, brain plasticity and cognitive neurogenomics
  • Refining clinical diagnosis – link cognitive process to underlying genotypes
  • Develop cognitive enrichment and rehabiliation tailored to geonotypic subtypes
    • In schizophrenia, ADD, Autism, stroke, Alzheimers Disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, Taupathies, Limb Amputation and Temporal Lobectomy
  • Changing in normal ageing – attentional systems of frontal and parietal corticies accross clinical conditions
  • fMRI, Electrophysiology (EEG), experimental and clinical neuropsychological techniques
  • Develop combined behavioral and pharmacological interventions

MRI Research

Christian Kerskens

– head of NMR imaging lab – theoretical and experimental medial diagnosis of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance imaging)

  • Developed methods for quantification of blood flow
  • Analysis / investigation of noise in fMRI
  • Direct detection of cell activation with NMR

Andrew Fagan

– imaging phsysicist

  • worked in solid state physics – spintronics and nanomagnetics
  • developed new MRI, designed and built from first principles to image solids – e.g: bone and teeth
  • Direct detection of neuronal actival with NMR
  • Instrument development

Maria Fitzgibbon

– management and infrastructure of INS

  • strategic direction
  • background in clinical biochemistry, laboratory science, hospital and accademic management
  • co-manages neuroscience PhD
  • interests – brain injury and neuroendrocrinology (glands and hormones of brain)
  • hypothalamic control of bone remodelling
  • hormone abnormalities and cognitive development

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