Dr Kathy Ruddy awarded HRB Emerging Investigator Award

Dr Kathy Ruddy awarded HRB Emerging Investigator Award

Congratulations Dr Kathy Ruddy, the 2018 NSI Early Career Investigator Awardee, on being awarded a HRB Emerging Investigator Award. She is developing a new approach to stroke rehabilitation for the upper limb based on TMS neurofeedback.

By playing a simple computer game, we encourage stroke patients to reconnect with their paralysed limb. Magnetic brain stimulation is used to evoke small twitches in the stroke affected muscles. The game displays the size of these twitches to the patient, and trains them to make them larger. The patient gains a sense of control over their own recovery, by training to improve their brain’s output signals to the muscles using neurofeedback, which we predict may lead to better outcomes for regaining movement function.

Dr Ruddy said: “The HRB Emerging Investigator award will kick start my programme of research into how we can use magnetic brain stimulation in combination with neurofeedback, to promote better recovery outcomes for stroke patients.”

For more click here

Dr Áine Kelly, the Incoming NSI President

Dr Áine Kelly, the Incoming NSI President

We are delighted to announce the new incoming president for NSI will be Dr Áine Kelly. Aine will take up the position in September from the current president Dr Éilis Dowd, who has been a excellent leader and advocate of NSI over the past 2 years. As such would you like to thank Éilis for her contribution to the NSI and wish Áine the very best in her new role.

Áine graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 1995 with a first class honours degree in Science, specialising in Physiology. She was awarded her PhD in Neuroscience in 1998 and was appointed to a lectureship in the Department of Physiology in 2002. She is currently Associate Professor in Physiology and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education in Trinity College Dublin. Áine’s research expertise lies at the interface of exercise physiology and neuroscience and her laboratory assesses how modifiable lifestyle factors including physical activity can enhance and protect brain function throughout the lifespan. She is particularly interested in the cellular mechanisms by which interventions such as environmental enrichment and exercise both improve cognition and protect against neurodegeneration and cognitive decline in age by modulating neuroinflammation.

Áine has been an active and dynamic member of Neuroscience Ireland for many years, and as our current Outreach Officer, she is heavily involved in the promotion of public awareness and understanding of the brain in health and disease. Of particular note is the leadership role she played in the outstanding Public Programme at the recent BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience.


Dr Áine Kelly’s review on the highly successful BNA2019 Public Programme

Dr Áine Kelly’s review on the highly successful BNA2019 Public Programme

The public programme of the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience comprised 16 events held in 9 venues around Dublin city centre, with a satellite ‘Brain Movie Night’ event in Galway. The programme had events to suit all tastes, from rap to classical music, from art to contemporary dance and drama, along with well-attended educational events focused on brain research and patient experience.


Numerous conference delegates mentioned the public programme as a particular highlight of the meeting, with many both attending and participating in events. While BNA organised 2 events at the main conference venue– Baba Brinkman’s high energy, entertaining and educational ‘Rap Guide to Consciousness’ and Prof. Ed Bullmore’s public lecture on ‘Inflamed Depression’, Neuroscience Ireland were the driving force behind the majority of the public programme.


The arts strand was a key feature, and award-winning creative artists generously shared their work with us. Fishamble Theatre Company helped us to stage Olivier-award winning actor and playwright Pat Kinevane’s stunning, hilarious and emotional one-man show ‘Forgotten’ at Trinity College’s Samuel Beckett Theatre. Writer-director Oonagh Kearney allowed us to show her Cork Film Festival and Dublin Film Festival award-winning short film “Five Letters to the Stranger who will Dissect my Brain” in the atmospheric Old Anatomy Theatre in Trinity College – all who attended will agree that it was a unique and special experience to view the film in one of the historic locations in which it was shot and to hear about Oonagh’s experience of making the film.  Joanna Hopkins developed a beautiful site-specific art installation on the theme of memory at the Accenture Gallery in the Science Gallery, while Jessie Keenan staged her exquisite contemporary dance piece ‘Fragments’ in the Samuel Beckett Theatre.


Perhaps nowhere was the crossover of the arts and sciences more evident than at “Cognitive Musicology Via Synaesthesia” at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Svetlana Rudenko arranged a beautiful event comprising classical performance of a piano, string  and flute ensemble accompanied by choreography and projected visuals, all preceded by a wonderful talk from Prof Anil Seth. Meanwhile, the importance of creativity and artistic expression to older people was evident  at the joyful and uplifting ‘Age of Arts’ event at the Science Gallery, featuring a very special performance by the choir of the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing.


Patient outreach and education was another key theme of the programme – the public appetite for information on research into brain health and disease was such that the events on delirium, depression, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, teenage mental health and patient advocacy all sold out. More public discussion of science happened over coffee and buns during the ”Ask the Scientist’ event at the Science Gallery, and over refreshments of another kind at ‘Neuroscience on Tap’ at the Ferryman pub – the presenters at  both events had to be on their toes to cope with the insightful and challenging questions from the public audience.


We would not have been able to stage such a diverse, creative and innovative programme without the hard work and inspiration of individual event organisers, and the heroic efforts of our student volunteers. Special thanks of course go to  our funders – BNA, Neuroscience Ireland, the Physoc, Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council – whose generous support meant that all events were free of charge.  It was an exhausting but unforgettable week of public engagement and outreach, but the enthusiasm and support of the general public made it all worthwhile.



BNA2019 Poster Prize winners

BNA2019 Poster Prize winners

We are delighted to announce that 2 Irish postgraduate students received poster prizes at the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience

  • Jonathan Smith from Tobias Engle’s group at RCSI
  • Luke Davison from Kumlesh Dev’s group TCD

Luke received an NSI travel bursary to attend BNA2019. Read more about Lukes experience at the BNA2019 conference here

Travel Bursary Awardees 2019

Congratulations to the NSI 2019 Travel Bursary Awardees:

  • Marc Bennett from Robert Whelan’s group at TCD
  • Natalie DeSanctis from John Kelly’s group at NUIG
  • Rachel Furlong from Cora O’Neill’s group at UCC
  • Kelly McHugh from John Kelly’s group at NUIG
  • Vaibhav Patil from Abhay Pandit’s group at NUIG

Next round of travel awards will open Autumn 2019. For more information click here

NSI Scientific Stream at BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience

NSI Scientific Stream at BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience


As Festival Partners for BNA2019, NSI are delighted to have been involved in developing an exciting scientific stream within the BNA2019 Festival of Neuroscience. This stream is composed of an excellent line up of symposium, workshops and plenary lectures chaired and delivered by Irish Neuroscience researchers.  Come see the latest research from early career through to veteran neuroscientists on a wide array of exciting topics.

For a full list of symposium and plenary lectures see below and click here

NSI Opening Plenary and The Brain Prize Plenary Lecture

Sunday 14th April: 18:00 – 19:00, the Auditorium, CCD

Decisions, uncertainty and rewards

Professor Ray Dolan,
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UK

Symposium Sessions

Sunday 14th April: 13.00 – 14.40

S3: Precision therapy: Antisense oligonucleotides targeting coding and noncoding RNAs for neurological disorders​
Cristina Reschke, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Ireland (co-chair)
Gerhard Schratt, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Sarah Tabrizi, University College London, UK.

​Monday 15th April: 9.30 – 11.10

​S12: Cognitive ageing: Inflammatory mechanisms driving changes in brain plasticity
The ‘Neuronal Signaling’ symposium, supported by Portland Press

Yvonne Nolan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Annamaria Cattaneo, IRCCS Fatebenefratelli Brescia, Italy.
Sandrine Thuret, King’s College London, UK.
Aine Kelly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)

Monday 15th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S17: Cannabinoids: therapeutic potential in CNS disorders
Roger Pertwee, University of Aberdeen, UK.
Eva Marco, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
Eric Downer, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Michelle Roche, NUI Galway, Ireland (co-chair)

Tuesday 16th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S26: The Microbiome: A Key Regulator of the Impact of Diet on Brain Function
John Cryan, University College Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Carlos Ribiero, Fundação Champalimaud, Portugal.
Marion Rincel, University Bordeaux, France (co-chair)
Philip Burnet, University of Oxford, UK.

Affiliated symposium

Sunday 14th April: 16.20 – 18.00

S7: The link between neuroinflammation and dysregulated metabolism in the context of age and Alzheimer’s disease
Convened by Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland

Marina Lynch, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Catherine B. Lawrence, University of Manchester, UK (co-chair)
Robert Cumming, University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Michael Heneka, University of Bonn Medical Center, Germany.

Tuesday 16th April: 09.30 – 11.10

S24: Impact Factor: Concussion and Brain Health
John Kealy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Niamh Lynch, Bon Secours Hospital, Cork, Ireland (co-chair)
Ann McKee, Boston University, US
Nicola Marchi, Institut de Génomique Fonctionelle, France

Tuesday 16th April: 15.30 – 17.10

S28: Let’s stick together – neurodegeneration an expanding disease spectrum
Convened by the Association of British Neurologists

Timothy Lynch, University College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Jonathan Schott, University College London, UK (co-chair)
Matthew Jones, University of Manchester, UK.
Paola Piccini, Imperial College London, UK.

Wednesday 17th April: 09.30 – 11.10

S34: Vascular Neurology 
Convened by the Irish Institute of Clinical Neuroscience
Keith Muir, University of Glasgow, UK
Dominick McCabe, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (co-chair)
Aine Merwick, Beaumont Hospital, Ireland
Alex Leff, UCL, UK (co-chair)

SsC: Early Career Researcher Prizewinners’ session

Kathy Ruddy, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – NSI Early Career Investigator award winner


SUNDAY 14TH APRIL: 16.20 – 18.00
W1: Big Data: Management, modelling & collaboration 
Madeleine Lowery, University College Dublin, Ireland (chair) – Modelling big data, an inter-disciplinary approach 
Claire Gillan, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – Big Data: techniques and collaboration for psychiatric health 
John Terry, University of Exeter, UK – Computational Biology
Damien Coyle, Ulster University, UK – Neurotechnology and Brain-Computer Interfaces
Sara Pulit, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands – Computational biology applications in large-scale omics data: examples from obesity genetics