Two Neuroscience Researchers receive the SFI Early Career Researcher Award 2020

Two Neuroscience Researchers receive the SFI Early Career Researcher Award 2020

Congratulations to two Irish Neuroscience researchers, Dr Matthew Campbell, Trinity College Dublin, and Dr Lorna Lopez, National University of Ireland Maynooth, on receiving the SFI Early Career Researcher Award 2020.

Dr Campbell graduated from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2006 with a PhD in Biochemistry followed by post-doctoral research in TCD in Human Molecular Genetics (2006-2012).  He established the Neurovascular Genetics unit in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at TCD in 2013.

Matthew is an international leader in the field of neurovascular barrier biology.  He has published and continues to publish in the world’s leading biomedical journals including Nature Medicine (2012, 2014), Science Translational Medicine (2014) and Nature Neuroscience (2017).  He has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the role of the endothelial tight junction complexes in both health and diseased states and his lab has active projects exploring the role of the inner retinal vasculature in a range of ophthalmological conditions.

Matthew has received numerous awards for his research including the SFI President of Ireland Young Researcher Award (2013), the ARVO/Genentech Award (2014) in recognition of his research in Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD), the Irish Research Council (IRC) laureate award (2018) and more recently the European Research Council (ERC) consolidator award (2020).  He has raised over €5.7million in research funding and his work has led to the development of multiple intellectual property portfolios, some of which have been licensed to TCD based campus companies and multinational companies.

Dr Lopez  is a Lecturer and Assistant Professor in Maynooth University. Lorna graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA (Genetics) Natural Sciences in 2002, and The University of Edinburgh with a PhD (Psychiatric Genetics) in 2008. She leads human health research on discovering the genomic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders and her research expertise ranges from genomic to molecular and proteomic approaches in family and population-based studies, and always with a focus on understanding the genetic basis of mental illness and other brain- and medical-related traits. She is also a recent recipient of a prestigious ERC Starting Investigator Award.She uses genome sequencing to identify genetic differences in families related to autism, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

NSI partnering organisation for BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience

NSI partnering organisation for BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience

Neuroscience Ireland are proud to be a partnering organisation for the BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience.

BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience taking place online from the 12-15 April 2020. There is an exciting link up of plenary lectures, workshops and public programme scheduled for this event, details of which can be found here

In addition to numerous talks by Irish neuroscientists at the Festival, as a partner organisation, Neuroscience has also supported a symposium at the BNA2021 Festival of Neuroscience

Untangling the complexity of neurological disorders: RNA metabolism and modulation​​ 
Eva Jimenez-Mateos (co-chair), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland – MicroRNAs modulation in ageing: From infants to the elderly
Gary Brennan, University College Dublin, Ireland– The contribution of RNA methylation (m6A) to transcriptional dysregulation in epilepsy​
Sara Pico, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain – Aberrant mRNA polyadenylation in Huntington’s disease
Tobias Engel (co-chair), Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland – mRNA polyadenylation as a new player in the development of epilepsy​


Registration and abstract submission for BNA2021 is now open (click here) and we are delighted to be able to offer NSI members a discount on registration (click here for more information)

Key Dates for BNA2021:

  • 4th November 2020:  Registration opens
  • 4th November 2020:   Poster abstract submission opens
  • 18th December 2020 (23:59 GMT): Earlybird deadline for poster abstract submission
  • 15th January 2021 (23:59 GMT):  Earlybird deadline for registration
  • 15th January 2021 (23:59 GMT):  Poster abstract deadline
  • 12th– 15th April 2021:  The Festival of Neuroscience

Neuroscience Ireland welcomes investment in brain research by SFI

Neuroscience Ireland welcomes investment in brain research by SFI

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD, has today announced 71 grants valued at €53 million to support frontiers research across 12 Higher Education Institutions through Science Foundation Ireland.

Neuroscience Ireland is pleased to note that 12 of the grants, valued at over 7 million Euro, fund projects relating to the function and health of the nervous system. Brian research in Ireland has been chronically underfunded, so today’s announcement is very much welcomed.  In Ireland alone, over 800,000 people live with neurological conditions such as stroke, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimers Disease and multiple sclerosis and the associated costs are estimated to be €3 billion per annum.  This new investment is a recognition of the innovation, creativity and excellence of Irish neuroscientists and the potential of these projects to generate breakthroughs in our understanding of the function and dysfunction of the nervous system that will be of benefit to Ireland and the world.

While 45% of the overall funding was awarded to female researchers, 75% of the neuroscience-focussed projects are led by female PIs – a testament to the excellence of Ireland’s female neuroscience researchers.

We congratulate all awardees and look forward to seeing data presented at future Neuroscience Ireland meetings.

The neuroscience-themed projects are listed below and the full list of awardees is available here


Michael Rowan Trinity College Dublin Protecting Vulnerable Synaptic Networks in Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Olive Lennon University College Dublin The 3Rs: Responsive, Rehabilitative Robotics in Motor Relearning of Functional Standing and Walking after Stroke
Liam Marnane and Geraldine Boylan University College Cork Model based decision support for newborn brain protection
Fiona Newell Trinity College Dublin MultiCategory:  Behavioural and brain correlates of adaptive coding in multisensory object categorisation
Yvonne Nolan University College Cork Mechanisms underpinning the interplay between chronic neuroinflammation and exercise on cognitive function during middle age
Claire Gillan Trinity College Dublin Rich, Repeated and Robust: A Smartphone-Based Approach to Computational Psychiatry
Eilís Dowd National University of Ireland, Galway Harnessing the potential of biomaterials for improving stem cell-derived brain repair for Parkinson’s disease
Dearbhaile Dooley University College Dublin Targeted control of microglia polarisation after spinal cord injury
Gerard O’Keeffe University College Cork Defining the potential of HDAC5 and HDAC9 as novel therapeutic targets for Parkinson’s disease.
Gerhard Schlosser National University of Ireland, Galway Cofactor-dependent functions of Eya1 in sensory neurogenesis
Áine Kelly Trinity College Dublin The brain-muscle loop: using physical activity to target age-related neurodegeneration
Dympna O’Sullivan and Julie Doyle Technological University Dublin and Dundalk Institute of Technology Enabling Self-Care and Shared Decision Making for People Living with Dementia

Dr Peter Murphy – NSI Early Career Investigator Award Winner

Dr Peter Murphy – NSI Early Career Investigator Award Winner

Congratulation to Dr Peter Murphy, winner of the NSI Early Career Investigator Award 2020. Peter will present his  research at the NSI Young Investigator Symposium on November 6th. Registration remains open for the symposium (click here) and we encourage you attend to hear this and the many other exciting and interesting talks.

Peter studies ways in which human cognition is shaped by the brain’s arousal systems, with an emphasis on the computations that support decision-making. This line of work started during his PhD at Trinity College Dublin (2009–2012) where he assessed the utility of pupil diameter as a non-invasive proxy for the activity of neuromodulatory systems, and continued through his postdoc work at Leiden University (2012–2015) and University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (2015–present) where he used psychophysics, modelling, pharmacology and various neuroimaging methods to examine how we adapt our decision-making to different contexts. He has also worked on error detection and cognitive control; and  will soon begin a Marie Curie Fellowship back at Trinity College to investigate commonalities between decision-making and working memory, and shared mechanisms for their decline in old age.

Congratulation Peter from all at NSI