Dr Cora O’Neil and Dr Claire McCoy – the newest members of NSI Council

Dr Cora O’Neil and Dr Claire McCoy – the newest members of NSI Council

We would like to welcome Dr Cora O’Neil, UCC and Dr Claire McCoy, RCSI onto the Neuroscience Ireland governing council.

Dr. Cora O’Neill is Vice-Head of the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Director of the Cork Neuroscience Centre and principal investigator of a research team whose major focus is Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia disorders.

Dr Claire McCoy joined RCSI as the Immunology lecturer in August 2016, where she now leads the growing microRNA Inflammation research group. Claire was the recent recipient of an SFI Future Research Leader’s award presented by President Higgins in January 2018

We would also like to thank Prof David Henshall and Prof John Cryan for their tremendous contributions to the society, especially Prof Henshall as former President.



NSI Travel Bursary Awardees

NSI Travel Bursary Awardees

Neuroscience Ireland provides bursaries for young Neuroscience Ireland Members (PhD students or postdoctoral researchers) to attend international conferences each year.

The NSI travel bursary awardees for Autumn 2019 are:

Zuzana Koci, from Prof Fegral O’Brien at RCSI
Rory Boyle, from Prof Robert Whelan’s group at TCD,
Eleanor Carey, from Prof Mary Cannon’ group at RCSI
Fiona Martyn, from Dr Dara Cannon’s group at NUIG

Congratulations and we hope you enjoy your conferences.

Click here for details on NSI Travel Bursaries and Conference Reports

A Tiny Spark featured on RTÉ One

A Tiny Spark featured on RTÉ One

The Science on Screen film, A Tiny Spark, featuring the research of Dr Karen Doyle (NUI Galway) was screened on RTÉ One television on Tuesday 29th October at 11:15 pm to mark World Stroke Day.

The film is now available to view on the RTÉ Player here.

A Tiny Spark is a documentary directed by Niamh Heery, produced by Caroline Kealy with animations by Eric Dolan, about stroke research and survivors. It has just started its international festival run and so far it has had screenings in Ireland, Australia, Oregon and Nevada.

A Tiny Spark won the Best Medical Documentary Award on May 6th 2019 at the Sci On! Festival in Reno. The judging panel had the following to say about the film, which was funded by CÚRAM and Galway Film Centre’s Science on Screen Award:

Absolutely superb and engaging documentary, with an excellent and sensitive blending of interviews with animated scenes.
Such a powerful and perfectly-made film. The subject matter is so vital and relevant. It’s hard to find the words to describe such a meaningful and compassionate treatment of a condition that has impacted so many of us directly or indirectly, personally or through a friend or family member. Thank you for helping raise awareness — and to show that there is hope.

Congratulations to Tara Diviney; “Global Winner” in Undergraduate Awards

Congratulations to Tara Diviney; “Global Winner” in Undergraduate Awards

Tara Diviney, a recent graduate of NUI Galway’s BSc in Biomedical Science, has been awarded “Global Winner” in the Medical Sciences category of the 2019 Global Undergraduate Awards.

Tara won the Medical Sciences category on the basis of her final year research project on neurobiological mechanisms associated with multiple sclerosis which was supervised by Galway Neuroscience Centre Director, Dr Una Fitzgerald, with additional support provided by her co-supervisors, Dr Jill McMahon and BrainMatTrain Marie Curie Fellow, Enrico Bagnoli.

Since completing her BSc at NUI Galway, Tara has continued on to the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford where she will undertake her PhD.

The Global Undergraduate Awards is the world’s leading undergraduate awards programme which recognises top undergraduate work, shares this work with a global audience and connects students across cultures and disciplines.

Dr Áine Kelly begins her term as NSI President

Dr Áine Kelly begins her term as NSI President

Welcome note from Dr Áine Kelly, TCD, who begins her term as NSI President

“I am honoured and delighted to begin my term as President of Neuroscience Ireland. Next year we will celebrate our 15th year as Ireland’s National Neuroscience Society. This will give us an opportunity to reflect on past successes and, more importantly, to look to our future.

We are a national society with an international outlook. The Festival of Neuroscience held in Dublin earlier this year gave us the opportunity to showcase the high quality of Irish neuroscience research and to strengthen our relationship with our sister society, the British Neuroscience Association.  We will work on maintaining and increasing links with our colleagues in the UK, throughout Europe and beyond. As society president, I will sit on the governing council of FENS. Having a voice at European level is especially important as we advocate for increased investment in neuroscience research both nationally and internationally.

We are also mindful that Neuroscience Ireland is a society for the whole island of Ireland and over the next 2 years the Council aims to increase interaction and collaboration between neuroscientists north and south of the border.

We are fortunate to have a talented pool of young researchers in universities throughout the country and we will continue to support training of undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs via travel bursaries, workshops and the Young NSI Conference.

Finally, public engagement is a key part of our remit and we aim to continue our programme of creative and informative outreach activities.

I look forward to working with Ireland’s vibrant neuroscience community over the next 2 years to help achieve the society’s goals and I welcome suggestions, input and feedback from all members”.


Prof Jochen Prehn coordinates PD-MitoQUANT

Prof Jochen Prehn coordinates PD-MitoQUANT

PD-MitoQUANT is a new Innovative Medicines Initiative research project that will improve our understanding of Parkinson’s so that better treatments can be developed in the future. The project, which is coordinated by Prof Jochen Prehn at RCSI, will run for 3 years and receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) members and Parkinson’s UK.

PD-MitoQUANT focuses on how mitochondria, the ‘powerhouses’ of the cell, contribute to cell death and neurodegeneration when they malfunction. There is growing evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in Parkinson’s but no effective treatments have been developed based on this knowledge. PD-MitoQUANT will deepen our understanding of precisely how mitochondria malfunction in Parkinson’s, and develop improved tools for the early stages of drug development so that pharmaceutical companies can develop better treatments in the future.

The key PD-MitoQUANT Investigators based at RCSI are Dr Niamh Connolly and Dr Orla Watters. They will conduct interdisciplinary research involving fluorescence imaging of mitochondria, network analyses of transcriptomic and proteomic data, and systems/statistical modelling. Niamh notes, “While there are therapies currently available for Parkinson’s, they do not improve all symptoms, nor do they slow or prevent disease progression over time. With this collaborative, multi-disciplinary project we will develop a more comprehensive understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction in brain cells affected by Parkinson’s which in turn will lead to improved tools and targets for the early stages of drug development.”

“This project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 821522. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and EFPIA and Parkinson’s UK. The material presented and views expressed here reflect the author’s view and neither IMI nor the European Union, EFPIA, or any Associated Partners are responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.”