Current Researchers

Research Team


Dr. Richard Roche

BA (Sch.), Dip. Stat., Ph.D.


Dr. Roche’s current research involves two main areas of interest, the neurocognitive processes underlying human spatial navigation and representation, and the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying memory consolidation and reconsolidation. To date, Dr. Roche has published 13 research articles in such journals as Hippocampus, NeuroImage and Experimental Brain Research, has presented at international conferences including CNS, EBBS and FENS, and has acted as a reviewer for several neuroscience journals. Themes: neuroscience of learning & memory, spatial memory & navigation, consolidation & reconsolidation, memory & ageing, human electrophysiology, response inhibition, sustained attention, traumatic brain injury & visual search. Techniques Behavioural measures; Reaction Time; EEG/ERPs; Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS); functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).


Dr. Seán Commins

B.Sc., Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

Dr. Commins’ research is the general area of behavioural neuroscience and is particularly interested in spatial navigation and the formation of long-term memories. He examines the role of the hippocampus and surrounding brain areas in memory formation and emphasising its molecular and electrophysiological underpinnings. Themes: the area of neuroscience that is concerned with the function of brain areas and their relation to behaviour, consolidation of long-term memories, spatial navigation, investigation of neuroimmune and neuroendocrine interactions. He has over 30 publications in international neuroscience journals such as Brain Research, Hippocampus, European Journal of Neuroscience and Neuroscience and has presented his work at many international conferences.


Dr. Andrew Coogan

B.A. (mod.), Ph.D.


Dr. Coogan is a behavioural neuroscientist who specialises in the field of circadian rhythms, chronobiology and sleep. Dr. Coogan is especially interested in how the immune system communicates with the master circadian clock in the brain, and the implications of this communication for how our behaviour alters during short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) illness, as well as during healthy ageing.  We are also interested in looking how circadian rhythms become altered in psychiatric conditions, and how drugs that are used in the treatment of these conditions alters the circadian clock. Dr. Coogan has published 31 peer reviewed papers in neuroscience to date in international journals (with >500 citations to date), is a member of several scientific societies and has been an invited speaker at a number of conferences and symposia.  He has a number of research collaborators throughout Europe.


Francesca Farina

Doctoral Research Student

 I am interested in the area of spatial learning and memory. My PhD research investigates the interacting roles of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in spatial processing using immediate early gene analysis. I am supervised by Dr. Seán Commins and my research is funded by the Maynooth University Doctoral Teaching Scholarship.

See or email me at

Walsh Elizabeth

Elizabeth Walshe

Doctoral Research Student

My research interests lie in the area of cognitive neuroscience. I am specifically interested in the behaviour of spatial navigation and gait, and the associated brain activity of these behaviours. I am currently researching under the supervision of Drs Richard Roche and Seán Commins. My research aims to establish a link between impaired cognition (specifically executive functioning) and navigation deficits, or falls, in older adults and stroke/TIA patients. I am also interested in EEG/ERP analysis of brain activity associated with executive functioning and fall risk. See  /

My research is funded by the Irish Research Council.

Rawdon Caroline

Caroline Rawdon

Doctoral Research Student

I graduated from University College Dublin in 2003 with a B.A. in Psychology. I am currently undertaking research under the supervision of Dr Richard Roche from the Department of Psychology at NUI Maynooth in collaboration with Prof. Mary Cannon from the Department of Psychiatry at RCSI. My research examines electrophysiological correlates of cognitive processing in an adolescent sample. More specifically my work focuses on the electrophysiological correlates of spatial working memory and emotion recognition.

My research is funded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS).

Brady Noeleen

Noeleen Brady

Doctoral Research Student

My project involves measuring and enhancing Source Memory in older adults.  My interests include looking at behavioural task performance, and human electrophysiology and the subsequent EEG/ERP analysis.  The areas of memory that I am interested in are Episodic and Source Memory and the Age-Related Memory decline seen in these areas.  I have tested the differences between young and older adults in episodic memory retrieval both behaviourally and with electrophysiology.  I have proceeded to develop new source memory tasks in order to accurately measure source memory.  I am currently testing younger and older adults with these tasks both behaviourally and while measuring brain activation.  My future research will involve developing a strategy to enhance source memory in older adults based on the observed results.  I regularly attend the Neuroscience Ireland Annual Conference, having previously presented my work at the 2010 and 2011 conferences.

Emma O’Callaghan

Doctoral Research Student

I am interested in neuroimmunology and chronobiology research including dysfunction of the circadian system in disease states and in normal healthy aging.  I am currently investigating how chronic neuroinflammation impacts on circadian timekeeping processes at a behavioural and molecular level.  I attended conferences such as Neuroscience Ireland, The Federation of European Neurosciences Conference (FENS) and those specific to chronobiology research including The Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (SRBR) and the UK Clock Club.

anderson seanSean Anderson

Doctoral Research Student

I am particularly interested in the role of neuroinflammation in disrupting cognition and behaviour, both in CNS disorders, and also potentially in contributing to psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety. I am currently investigating how chronic neuroinflammation may affect the hippocampus and other relevant areas of the brain to produce behavioural and cognitive alterations via both immunohistochemical and electrophysiological analysis. I am also interested in the effects of existing medications on inflammatory factors in the CNS and their possible neuroprotective effects, as well as the development of novel therapeutics which protect from neuroinflammation.

Daniel Barry

Doctoral Research Student

Joeseph Duffin

Doctoral Research Student


Kate Forte

Doctoral Research Student

My area of interest is spatial ability and what can happen to this faculty after stroke. My research aims to examine the efficacy of low tech sensory interventions; visual, auditory and motor, in the rehabilitation of spatial hemineglect after stroke.  Spatial hemi-neglect is an interesting phenomenon that causes a loss of awareness for part of the world around you. It can have a serious effect on rehabilitation of other stroke-related deficits so it is really important to develop effective treatment for this condition.  My research is funded by the Irish Research Council. See

Niall McGowan

Doctoral Research Student

Saileog O’Keefe

Doctoral Research Student

AmhadMicah Amd

Doctoral Research Student

My current projects focus on developing experimental protocols inspired by Relational Frame Theory for the induction and manipulation of emotional functions, particularly emotional ‘valence’, purely through contextual control. As a continuation of research I began as an undergraduate, I am developing the ‘Positive’ Contextual Control (PCC) procedure for reducing frontal lobe ‘Alpha wave’ asymmetry i.e. increasing left frontal lobe ‘Alpha wave’ activity behaviorally. Neurofeedback practitioners working with depression attempt to reduce frontal asymmetry with behaviorally generic procedures that can take over 60 weeks to take effect. The PCC is intended to demonstrate clinically significant effects in 4 weeks without requiring an EEG machine.

Carol Rogan

Doctoral Research Student


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