After receiving my BA in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin in 2002, I joined the lab of Hugh Garavan, PhD, and began to learn about functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as an ideal method to non-invasively study human brain structure and function. Upon completion of my PhD in 2005, I joined the lab of Drs. F. Xavier Castellanos and Michael P. Milham at the New York University Child Study Center. Since that time, my research has centred on utilizing task-based, resting state/intrinsic functional connectivity, and structural imaging methods to study the functional and structural architecture of the brain in healthy, developing, and disordered human populations.
In January of 2015, I returned to Ireland and to Trinity College to become an Ussher Assistant Professor of Functional Neuroimaging, working at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN), with a joint appointment in the School of Psychology and Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine. Here in TCD, I continue to use functional and structural neuroimaging methods to understand the developing brain, and how typical brain development is disrupted in neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions.
Mental health difficulties such as depression, anxiety, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be thought of as late signs of early-occurring changes in brain function, cognition, and behaviour. To better understand mental health difficulties, to better identify who is likely to develop mental health difficulties and why, and to improve treatments, we need to trace the origins of mental health in the developing brain. My current research uses cutting-edge brain imaging techniques (functional magnetic resonance imagine – fMRI) to examine the links between how children and adolescents behave, think, and react to their worlds and how their brains are organised.
The ultimate goals of my work are to better understand brain and behavioural development and to identify patterns of brain function and behaviour that either increase or decrease vulnerability to mental health difficulties during childhood and adolescence. A better understanding of the links between brain and behaviour will help us to improve intervention strategies in the future, so that we may alleviate or prevent the development of mental health difficulties and set a path away from suffering towards wellness.
Google Scholar Author Profile: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1_bjrikAAAAJ&hl=en