Clare Kelly

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 developing brain, and to examine how development sometimes goes awry.

In January of 2015, I returned to Ireland and to 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, my lab uses brain imaging methods to understand the developing brain, and how typical brain development is disrupted in mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions. Many of these conditions – such as depression and anxiety – 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. This is exactly what our recently funded SFI project, “Sex matters: Identifying the neurodevelopmental origins of sex differences in depression,” aims to do.

I am a passionate proponent of open and reproducible science, of accessible science communication and public engagement, and an advocate for equality, diversity, and inclusion. I am a member of the School of Psychology’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, and made key contributions to our recent successful application for an Athena Swan Bronze Award.

A longtime bicycle commuter, I am a member of the College Smarter Travel (Active Travel) Committee. I am also one of a group of TCD staff seeking to prioritise action on climate and biodiversity in the College. Taking up a recent “call to climate action” to those working in the fields of cognitive science and psychology, I worked with colleagues in the School of Psychology and across the College to create a new Trinity Elective module, “The Psychology of the Climate Crisis” to help students think about how human thought and behaviour has caused the climate and biodiversity crises, and how we might use our understanding of psychology to help solve these crises. These fundamental questions are also giving shape to new directions in my research programme and I am keen to develop new collaborations in this space.

I am currently the Director of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the School of Psychology. In addition to teaching on the Psychology of the Climate Crisis, I teach two foundational modules in Research Methods and Statistics, and an advanced module on the Psychology of Morality and Moral Development. I have served on College Council, and I am currently Secretary to the Fellows and a member of the Standing Committee of Fellows, having being elected to Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin in 2019.

Google Scholar Author Profile:

ORCID logo