Meet the ECRN Committee

Carmen Elise Pocknell (NUIM)

Carmen Elise Pocknell is the current NSI-ECRN President and 2nd year PhD student at Maynooth University, Ireland. She grew up in the South of France, and has only recently arrived in Ireland to begin her new research adventure! She is particularly involved in aging, dementia, memory, reminiscence therapy and the effect of physical exercise on cognition and well-being. Currently, she is working on the potential benefits of Tailored Reminiscence Interventions for Ageing and Dementias Community Settings (through the TRIADICS project). She is strongly interested in Patient and Public Involvement in Research. Next to her studies, she likes spending her time helping people, reading brainy books/inspiring autobiographies. She also runs a lot, writes and watches many comedies.

Ciara Walsh (UCD)

Ciara Walsh is the current NSI-ECRN Vice-President and third year PhD student in the School of medicine at University College Dublin. Her research focuses on developing a biomaterial-based delivery system for immunomodulatory therapeutics in preclinical spinal cord injury. When she’s not in the lab, you can find Ciara eating good food, hiking in the mountains or listening to her favourite true crime podcasts.

Ross Oglesby (Ulysses Neuroscience Ltd.)

Ross Oglesby is the current NSI-ECRN Secretary, and is a Research Assistant at Ulysses Neuroscience Ltd., based at their facilities at Maynooth University. After graduating he was eager to further develop his research and EEG skills, while also wanting to experience what it is like to carry out research in an industry setting, which led to him joining the Ulysses team. Here he is mainly involved in pre-clinical research which combines in-vivo EEG and behavioural pharmacology to explore new therapies for Major Depressive Disorder, Parkinson’s Disease, and other disorders/diseases. Outside of research Ross plays football, enjoys reading, and has recently developed a love for surfing. He is also a massive Marvel fan and can regularly be found re-watching his favourite Marvel films.

Daniela Costa (NUIG)

Daniela Costa is the current NSI-ECRN outreach officer, and is a fourth year PhD student at University of Galway. As part of the EU ITN PMSMatTrain consortium, Daniela is trying to pinpoint the vulnerability of neuronal subpopulations in models mimicking the cortical pathology of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Born and raised in Portugal, soon her academic journey led her to explore new countries: France, Germany, and now Ireland. Her role in Science goes beyond the bench. Daniela is a very active person in SciCom. Daniela is part of the Neuroscience SciCom project named “Fala-me Neuro” (“Talk Neuro to me” in English), aiming to make neurosciences more approachable to Portuguese-speaking people. When Daniela drops the lab coat, you can definitely find her dancing, goofing around with her friends and helping the ones around her. She is very enthusiastic about football, comedy and art.




Ishita Virmani (Masaryk University)

Ishita Virmani is a passionate toxicologist and fourth-year PhD researcher in the Cell and Tissue Toxicology group at RECETOX, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her research is dedicated to assessing male reproductive toxicity using alternative methods. She is inspired by the words of Swiss physician Paracelsus, “Dose differentiates between poison and remedy”. Having grown up in India, she has gained international experience in the UK, Europe, and the USA. In 2021, she got a chance to work the developmental neurotoxicity using brain organoids at CAAT, Johns Hopkins University. Reading and travelling are some of her favourite pastimes outside the lab.





Jade Duffy (TCD)

Jade Duffy is the current NSI-ECRN PRO officer, and is a first-year PhD student at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. Through psychophysical tasks, EEG, and computational modelling, her work aims to identify a set of innovative neural-behavioural metrics that indicate particular, quantifiable aspects of the computations that result in the decisions of individuals. Outside of the lab, Jade enjoys practising jiu-jitsu and watching football.




Mary Glass (Ulysses Neuroscience Ltd.)

Mary Glass is a Senior Research Assistant at Ulysses Neuroscience Ltd, a private research and development neuroscience company based out of Trinity College Dublin. She currently conducts pre-clinical research, primarily studying the interferon-alpha model of neuroinflammation and depression. Overall, she has a strong interest in the pathophysiology and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. In her free time, Mary enjoys running, strength training, and traveling around Ireland and Europe.


Emmanuelle Damilola Aiyegbusi (UCD)

Emmanuelle Damilola Aiyegbusi is currently a second year PhD student at University College Dublin in the School of Medicine. Her research focuses on understanding the polarisation mechanisms of microglia in the context of neuroinflammation via stem cell biology. Outside of university, she can be found in a boba shop, Asian fusion restaurant, or a Pilates class. Emmanuelle is passionate about the promotion of women in STEM as well as scientific outreach to primary and secondary school students.



Ruth Colbert (UCD)

Ruth Colbert is a first year PhD student and anatomy demonstrator at University College Dublin. Her research centres around neuroinflammation in spinal cord injury, with a particular focus on the role of microglia. Aside from neuroscience, Ruth also loves long-distance running, sea swimming and live music.








Janosch Heller (DCU)

Janosch Heller is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Sciences at Dublin City University. Janosch’s lab is interested in how astrocytes change in diseases such as epilepsy and how these cells can be targeted as novel treatment options. In his free time, Janosch likes to explore the Irish countryside, to cook and bake, and to indulge in the Real Housewives franchise.


Past committee Members:

Oisín C. Joyce (TCD)

Oisín C. Joyce is past NSI-ECRN President and a fourth-year PhD student in Trinity College Dublin. His doctoral research revolves around concussion and brain health using a measure of multisensory integration. He is investigating whether there is an associative link to cardiovascular health and disease among retired sporting athletes. An advocate for green labs and sustainability, he is aiming to establish invested and synergistic links between industry and academia to grow and adopt innovative sustainable practices. He is also looking to bridge the gap between private industry and academia bringing people together to uncover the world of research commercialisation tapping into the innovation and entrepreneurship of ECR’s. Outside of the lab, although it defies his research goals, he loves to box. He also likes to read and collect comic books which he feels aids in his passion and creativity for neuroscience and research.

Aoife Cosgrave (UCD)

Aoife Cosgrave is a 3rd year PhD student from University College Dublin and she is exploring the anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties of lesser-explored phytocannabinoids in models of acute neuroinflammation. To get a break from the lab, Aoife likes to read and paint and recently went back playing Gaelic football (she hadn’t picked up a football since she was a teenager) after playing tag rugby for a few years!

Caoimhe Tyndall (TCD)

Caoimhe Tyndall is a third-year PhD student in Trinity College Dublin, researching mechanisms by which alpha-synuclein induces neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s Disease. When Caoimhe is not in the lab, she in the sea – sailing, surfing, and sea swimming are her go to outdoor activities. When on land, musical theatre is her buzz.

Aditi Singh (University of Edinburgh)

Aditi is currently pursuing her postdoctoral research in the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, University of Edinburgh. She has previously worked as a research fellow in The Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast. She studies genetic and epigenetic regulation of neurogenesis and neurodevelopmental disorders using multi-omics approaches. Outside of the lab, she enjoys travel, music, cooking and sweat out in the gym.

Kaushik Narasimhan (NUIG)

Kaushik Narasimhan is a second-year PhD student in the discipline of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at National University of Ireland, Galway. His research focuses on assessing the potential of biomaterials to enhance the outcomes of stem cell-based brain repair in Parkinson’s disease. Outside of college, Kaushik either likes being a couch potato and stream Netflix or travelling to and exploring new places with his friends.

Conor Thornberry (NUIM)

Conor Thornberry is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Psychology, Maynooth University. His research investigates age-related neural and behavioral correlates of human spatial navigation, and how this may be linked to cognitive decline. When not messing with virtual water mazes or EEG equipment, Conor enjoys walking, travelling, exercising, and sim racing in his spare time.

Ailís Stevenson (Ulster University)

Ailís Stevenson is a third-year PhD student in Personalised Medicine at Ulster University. Her research focuses on alterations in the oral and blood microbiomes and their role in psychiatric disorders including depression and schizophrenia. Outside of the lab she loves reading fiction, baking and finding new places to explore for walks.

Andrew McGovern (UL)

Andrew J. McGovern is a 2nd year PhD fellow in the University of Limerick and a Teaching Fellow in University College Dublin. Following his BSc and MSc in Neuroscience in University College Cork, he is now researching is exploring sex differences in neurodegeneration. His PhD is investigating the metabolic reprogramming hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease through bioinformatic analysis of a cortical proteome from a male and female, gonadectomised, and tibolone treated mouse model. Andrew previously worked in the University of Limerick as a Teaching Assistant where he studied a PGDip in Teaching learning and Scholarship and is now a Teaching Fellow in UCD contributing to ‘MicroCreds’ initiative in the School of Medicine. Andrew is also extremely active in science communication with his podcast “Living Room Logic – Irish Science Podcast”, a TikTok page with 28k followers and 5 million views @ScientistIreland, involvement in the department of health’s SciComm Collective during COVID-19 and in public speaking events with Pint of Science and TEDx.

Erin Harris (UCC)

Erin Harris is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and was previously a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience at University College Cork. She studies sex differences in stress-related psychiatric illness using a rat model. Originally from the United States, Erin has been living in Cork for 3 years. Outside of the lab, she enjoys singing, making silly TikToks, and exploring Ireland.

Steven Fagan (RCSI) 

Steven Fagan is the previous NSI-ECRN president and is currently working as a Sr. Manager Global Scientific Communications – Publications in Eli Lilly and Company. He was previously a postdoc in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. His research focused on investigating the role of non-coding RNA in neuronal and astroglial function with specific attention to tRNA fragments in epilepsy. In his spare time Steven enjoys hiking, cycling and camping, and after that cooking up a feast.

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