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Feng Deng

I obtained my Master's degree in 2018 from School of Psychology, South China Normal University (SCNU). My previous research direction was applications of DTI technique on studies of affective disorders and world class gymnasts. I am currently doing PhD in Dr. Lorina Naci’s lab in Trinity College Dublin. My PhD project is mainly about healthy and pathological ageing (i.e. Alzheimer's Disease). I am very interested in how brain and cognition change and interact with each other during these two processes. The methodology involved includes regular MRI scan and a battery of cognitive tests. Especially, we applied naturalistic stimuli during fMRI scan to explore higher-level cognition, such as executive function and information processing. Beyond the daily research, I enjoy a lot reading general fictions and fantasies.

Huiqing Hu

I completed my master’s degree in South China Normal University in June 2019. During master stage, my research focused on detecting the neural mechanism of Parkinson’s disease by using fMRI and DTI techniques. I am currently doing PhD in Dr. Naci’s lab. My PhD project will be exploring the development of conscious awareness in infancy, and the influence of premature birth on it. I am very interested in the neonates' capacity for conscious experience, the extent to which neonates can consciously process information about themselves and their environment. I am going to investigate whether or not the brain mechanisms of conscious awareness are instated in neonates using neuroimaging techniques. I hope that my research will contribute to our understanding of how early consciousness arises in the development of the human infant.

Qing Qi
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I obtained my master’s degree from the School of Psychology, South China Normal University in June 2021. During master stage, my research focused on investigating the neural mechanism of spatial navigation in a 2D subway paradigm. I am currently doing a PhD in Dr. Lorina Naci's lab in Trinity College Dublin. My PhD project is mainly about developing biomarkers for the early detection of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). I am very interested in using neuroimaging to detect functional and structural changes in specific brain networks of dementia, and developing sensitive biomarkers of early AD. I hope my work will intervene in the development of dementia to some extent. Outside of research, I like playing badminton and travelling.

Bolin Cao

I received my master’s degree from the School of Psychology, South China Normal University (SCNU) in 2020. Over the last several years, I have been studying dynamic functional connectivity and temporal delay to detect the brain functional alterations in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOC) based on resting-state fMRI. Now, I am doing PhD in Dr. Lorina Naci's lab in Trinity College Dublin. My PhD project aims to develop and validate inexpensive and portable techniques, to help improve the accuracy of diagnostic and prognostic assessments for DOC patients. In addition, I am interested in using brain network and dynamic analysis to explore the brain function in disease or health.

Master students
Nicola Taylor
Shane Flanagan

I am currently studying for my master's degree in Clinical Neuropsychology at Leiden University and completed my undergraduate in Psychology at UCD. I am completing my thesis in collaboration with Feng Deng in the PREVENT Dementia project. I have had the pleasure of previously working as a research assistant in clinical pain research, however, I am excited to delve further into the field of neuropsychology and neuroscience specifically surrounding the fast-growing field of dementia research. I am excited to join the Naci lab and look forward to expanding our knowledge of specific factors influencing the development of dementia. 

Nicola Taylor

I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology in Trinity College Dublin in June 2018. As a student I spent some time as a research assistant in Professor Richard Carson’s lab, assisting with projects investigating the connections between motor and cognitive functioning in old age, and the impact of brain stimulation on motor learning. My final year project focused on threat interpretation and attention in childhood worry. I will be starting my Master in Dr. Naci’s lab in September 2018 – my research will involve using neuroimaging to gain insights into cognitive functioning in patients with disorders of consciousness. I also hope to investigate the effect of music therapy in this patient group, and to develop ethical guidelines around the sensitive issues of interpreting and communicating results from these paradigms in a clinical context. Broadly, I am interested in improving our understanding of the brain and the mind, and I’m excited to begin exploring these complex questions using novel techniques.

Lou Angey

I started my college curriculum with a double undergraduate degree in both Biology and History. I discovered neurosciences and more specifically cognitive, psychological, and psychiatric neurosciences and I became extremely interested in the matter. Therefore, I took a major in Neurosciences with an option of Philosophy of biology, in order to get a broader vision of the discipline. I am also very passionate about neurodegenerative diseases. I am deeply interested in subjects such as depression, Alzheimer's, Parkinson as these diseases require a multidisciplinary approach. I love multidisciplinarity and to link neurosciences with other sciences. My main goal would be to pursue a PhD and become a researcher in cognitive and psychological neurosciences. Currently, I am doing a research internship at Professor Naci’s group at Trinity College Dublin.

Ines Jani
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I completed my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and Mental Health at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada in April 2020. My undergraduate thesis was under the supervision of Dr. Sara Tremblay and Dr. Lauri Tuominen looking at the neural mechanisms of theta burst stimulation in the core depression network using simultaneous PET/fMRI. I later worked as a research assistant for 2 years assisting on projects focusing on using neuromodulation and neurobiological markers for treatment efficacy to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders. I am currently doing my Masters in Neuroscience at Université Paris Cité and will be working with the Naci lab on the PREVENT Dementia project. My project will involve using neuroimaging techniques to better understand the effects of mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) in the middle age population and associations with Alzheimer’s disease. I am looking forward to working on this project and many others during my stay in Dublin with the Naci Lab.

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I am a fourth-year undergraduate student in Psychology at Trinity College Dublin. Working under the supervision of Dr. Naci in collaboration with Feng Deng, I am completing my final year research project on the effects of midlife dementia risk-factors upon behaviour and cognition. Working within Dr. Naci’s lab in the Global Brain Health Institute, I have been scoring a range of questionnaire results obtained from Imperial College London to assist in exploratory data analysis on behalf of the PREVENT DEMENTIA study. I plan to pursue a PhD in experimental psychology, with a focus on cognitive neuropsychology, with my specific interest being neural correlates for mental representations. Outside of Psychology, I enjoy making art and music!

Peter Gorman

I am currently in the second year of the Dual BA programme between Trinity College Dublin and Columbia University. I study Neuroscience, and in the future I hope to work in clinical or research applications of the field. At this point in my career my interests are naturally broad and diverse, but a specific interest in the science of consciousness led me to work for the summer with Dr. Naci in the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College. My work with the Naci lab focuses on early linguistic indicators of Alzheimer’s disease in at-risk adults. 

Rebecca Sammon

I am a final-year psychology student, completing my capstone project under the supervision of Lorina Naci. With the help of Qing Qi, I am investigating the effects of menopause and occupational attainment on cognition in women at mid-life. I also assist with the PREVENT project in St James’ Hospital, where I meet with participants and facilitate cognitive assessments. I am excited to expand my knowledge of neuropsychology and brain health as the year progresses. Outside dementia, my interests include climate psychology, addiction, and community psychology. I hope to pursue further study in applied psychology after I graduate.

Research Assistants
Elena Dell'Utri

I completed my B.Sc. in Psychological Sciences and Techniques at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan. I am currently a second-year graduate student in Applied Behaviour Analysis at Trinity College Dublin. I also work part-time as a tutor for autistic children, using evidence-based principles to focus on how an individual’s environment can affect their behaviour and how learning takes place. I believe that working on the PREVENT Dementia study as a research assistant, alongside experts in the medical field, will be a fantastic learning opportunity.

Sandra El-Sherbiny

I am an undergraduate student at Trinity College Dublin undertaking a BSc in Human Health and Disease (HHD). I was ecstatic when Dr Naci gave me the opportunity to join the PREVENT Dementia study  as a research assistant since I am immensely fascinated with brain function in health and disease. I look forward to expanding my knowledge on the different factors that affect cognition.

Additionally, I was awarded a Health Research Board summer student scholarship to investigate the relationship between Alzheimer’s Disease risk factors, protective lifestyle factors and cognition in midlife, which will contribute to the PREVENT study.

Amy Heneghan
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I completed my MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at the National University of Ireland Galway in July 2020 and have a BA in psychology from University College Dublin. I conducted my MSc dissertation in the Clinical Neuroimaging lab of NUIG under the supervision of  Dr Dara Cannon and Laura Costello, and explored the influence of reported experience of childhood trauma and schizophrenia diagnosis on subcortical grey matter volumes and whole-brain cortical thickness. I am excited to join the Naci lab as a research assistant and look forward to applying what I have learned about brain health in the context of dementia.

Erika Stewart

I completed my BA in Neuroscience in Trinity College Dublin in May 2019. I carried out my final year research project under the supervision Prof. Andrew Harkin in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, which was focused on investigating the impact of inflammatory driven metabolites on neuronal integrity and synapse formation. Following my undergraduate degree, I spent some time working as a postgraduate research intern in Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, helping out with research investigating the role of inflammation in delirium and dementia. I am currently working as a research assistant in Dr. Lorina Naci’s lab, investigating early biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease. I plan to pursue a PhD in the near future. Outside of research I enjoy rock climbing, hiking and travelling.

Remy Mcmeekin

I am a research assistant in the School of Psychology. I am an international student that is originally from Oklahoma and in the second year of a four year Psychology course. I am also completing a degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Julia Khaw

I graduated from Maastricht University in The Netherlands with MSc in Neuropsychology. I completed my master’s thesis at the University of Oxford where I worked on a project examining automatic imitation in elderly adults and stroke patients. I have also worked in an NHS acute mental health ward for women. I am presently working as an RA in Dr. Lorina Naci’s lab, investigating early biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. My research interests center on utilizing neuroimaging techniques in understanding neurodegeneration and brain injuries.

Dawn Higgins

I recently completed my Masters in Psychological Science in UCD, having previously undertaken a BA in Psychology in Maynooth University. During my Masters I investigated older adult suicide prevention in conjunction with Pieta House. I am currently working as a research assistant in Dr. Lorina Naci’s lab, investigating early biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease. My research interests surround older adults and healthy aging generally. In the near future, I plan to undertake a PhD which is expected to focus on adapting neuropsychological assessment using a process based approach within individuals with dementia.

Atlantic Fellow
Catherine Jordan

I am an experimental psychologist and an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), Trinity College Dublin. I completed my BA in Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I then went on to complete a MSc in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology and PhD in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Under the supervision of Professor Robert Logie, my PhD thesis explored two areas: working memory and music and the relationship between musical expertise and cognitive ageing. My research combine the areas of music and cognitive neuroscience. I am currently working with Dr. Lorina Naci to explore the brain mechanisms underlying the proposed benefit of personally meaningful music on the behavioural symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Previous members
Niamh Duffy
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I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology and English literature at Trinity College Dublin in 2018. I have been working for the summer with Dr. Naci to assist with the preparation of a grant proposal, reviewing literature in the areas of mindfulness, ageing and attention. In the future I hope to pursue postgraduate study in linguistics.

Mimma Anello

I’m Dr. Mimma Anello and I am currently a 2nd year resident in neurology at Western University. I completed my Bachelor of Medical Sciences with a honours specialization in physiology in 2013 and my medical school in 2017 both at Western University.  I started my research with Dr. Melvyn Goodale looking at size constancy in blind echolocators for my undergraduate thesis project.  Following this I worked with Dr. Lorina Naci and Dr. Adrian Owen where I helped with research that focused on discovering the neural correlates of consciousness. I was also involved with a project that investigated anesthesia induced unconsciousness. I am currently interested in movement disorders and have just joined the Dr. Penny MacDonald lab at the Brain and Mind Institute. In my spare time I love spending time with my dog Bravo and baking which is a passion of mine.

Leah Sinai

I completed my Master’s of Science in Psychology at the University of Western Ontario under the supervision of Dr. Lorina Naci and Dr. Adrian Owen from 2013-2015.  My thesis project, titled “Naturalistic paradigms for neuroimaging and bedside measures of conscious awareness” studied the brain’s response to audio and video clips, and compared the healthy brain’s response to the response of those with disorders of consciousness.  Both fMRI and Galvanic Skin Responses analysis were used in my thesis.  I am currently entering my 4th year of medical school at Schulich School of Medicine in London Ontario.  I plan to pursue family medicine as my future career path.

Tarun Daniel

I am a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Biology and Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience at the University of Georgia. Under the supervision of Dr. Naci, I worked on a literature review regarding the diverging cognitive tracks of healthy aging and dementia. My current research at the Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at UGA involves analyzing anti-saccade task performance in schizophrenic patients using fMRI, as well as managing all data uploads and downloads to the central project server. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school and become a physician.

Katie Irwin

I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Georgia, studying Biology with a Neuroscience emphasis. I traveled to Dublin as an Honors International Scholar to work under Dr. Naci at the Global Brain Health Institute. Under Dr. Naci’s guidance and in collaboration with Tarun Daniel, I wrote a literature review concerning cognitive and structural neuroimaging markers that can potentially differentiate healthy brain aging and pathological Alzheimer’s disease-related processes in midlife. I plan to pursue an MD/PhD dual degree and conduct research on neurodegeneration, likely focusing on the molecular pathology of Alzheimer’s disease in order to identify new therapeutic approaches.

Amelie Haugg

I am a PhD student at the Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland and currently work on real-time fMRI neurofeedback and addiction. For my master’s thesis in Cognitive Neuroscience, I spent 9 months as a visiting graduate student at Western University, Canada. There, under the supervision of Lorina, I investigated functional connectivity during movie watching to identify patterns of conscious awareness in disorders of consciousness patients. Using a similar analysis approach, I was also involved in another project on functional connectivity under anesthesia.

Vivian Jia

I graduated from Western University’s Bachelor of Medical Sciences program (class of 2012) with an Honors specialization in Physiology. I worked on a thesis project under Dr Naci’s and Dr. Owen’s supervision, during the final year of my undergraduate studies. We developed an fMRI paradigm to detect and measure attention in healthy participants. The ultimate goal was to measure attention and to communicate with patients who are behaviorally non-responsive. I am currently pursuing a medical degree at the University of Alberta School of Medicine. My work with Dr Naci has inspired me to continue along the neuroscience/neurology path during and after medical school.

Arnold Lee
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I am a fourth year undergraduate student, about to embark on a journey to discover brain activation patterns in response to natural auditory stimuli. At the moment, I am interested in anything and everything as I have a lot to learn. One day I hope to climb a mountain, write a children’s novel, and most importantly, understand the brain a little better.

Ali El Hamouly

I am in my third year of my Biomedical Sciences program as part of the Honours specialization in Medical Sciences module at Western University. My current research involves studying whether or not patients (mis) diagnosed as vegetative state have the ability to orient themselves in space. My involvement in this project is part of my growing passion for the medical field and my aspirations to become a physician.

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