Dr Michelle Downes

Dr Michelle Downes is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at UCD. Prior to joining UCD in 2016 she worked as a research associate at UCL Institute of Child Health where she also obtained a PhD in developmental cognitive neuroscience. Her PhD investigated the development and assessment of executive functions in typically developing children as well as preschool children with sickle cell disease using electroencephalography, eye-tracking, and behavioural methods. She completed an Msc in Paediatric Neuropsychology at UCL and a BA (Hons) in Psychology at National University of Ireland, Galway. She completed a neuropsychology research internship at the Brain Tumour Clinic at Children’s Hospital Boston in 2010. Her research focuses on the impact of disease-related and environmental factors, such as sleep problems and family function, on brain and behaviour development in children. She is particularly interested in the development of executive functions and how these can be assessed in young children in an ecologically valid way. She investigates brain and cognitive development in typically developing children and paediatric patient populations (including ADHD, epilepsy, pre-term, obstructive sleep apnoea, sickle cell disease).

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Dr Jessica Bramham

Jessica Bramham is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Neuropsychology and Deputy Head of the UCD School of Psychology.  As an undergraduate, she studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, then completed a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology followed by a PhD in Neuropsychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.  Jessica worked as a clinical psychologist in the Neuropsychiatry Department at the Maudsley Hospital and co-ordinated the UK National Adult ADHD Service. She became a Clinical Lecturer at King’s College London in 2004.  Jessica was appointed at UCD in January 2008.  Her main research area is adulthood ADHD and its co-morbidities.  She teaches neuropsychology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.


Postdoctoral Researcher

Nabil Hasshim

Nabil’s research background is in psycholinguistics and executive function development, having conducted research at the Psycholinguistics Lab at the National University of Singapore where he did his bachelors degree, and the Applied Cognitive Development Lab at the National Institute of Education in Singapore as a research assistant.

Prior to joining UCD, Nabil was based at Bournemouth University where he completed his PhD at the Cognitive Control Lab followed by a postdoc position at the Centre for Face Processing Disorders. Nabil’s PhD examined the measurement of inhibition using behavioural and eye-tracking methods. His broader research interests include: quantitative psychology, experimental methods, cognitive development, visual word recognition, executive functions, and attention.


Research Assistant

Sarah Conroy

Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from NUIG and an MSc in Applied Psychology at Trinity College. She subsequently worked as a research intern at Goldsmiths University, where she assisted in the Neuropsychology lab with the running of various EEG experiments. She also interned at the Birkbeck University Babylab, where she was part of the research team investigating the early development of siblings with Autism, ADHD and typical development.

Upon joining the lab, she is excited to be working on the current project investigating attention development in ADHD.

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Doctoral Students

Jennifer Keating

Jennifer Keating is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr Michelle Downes and Dr Jessica Bramham. Her research focuses on the contribution of sensory processing to the relationship between sleep and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in high-risk infants. Jennifer graduated with first class honours from the BA in Psychology programme at UCD, during which time she investigated perspective taking and theory of mind in the general population and the effect of autism tendencies and psychosis proneness.

Rebecca Gaffney

Rebecca Gaffney is completing a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in UCD. Rebecca is interested in investigating potential early markers of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with infants who are at risk of developing ADHD. Within this study she is examining the relationship between language development, early adaptive behaviours and social/emotional development in infants two years of age and younger whose parents or siblings have ADHD compared to age matched controls. 

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Previous Lab Members

Basak Ozkara - Intern
Kathy Trinh - Intern
Tom Herrnsdorf - Intern
Michelle Nevin - MPsychSc Student
Marion Gildea - Undergraduate Student
Ibak Baky - Undergraduate Student

Technical Staff

Colin Burke

Colin Burke is Chief Technical Officer for the UCD School of Psychology. His research interests are eye-tracking within 2D, 3D and VR environments, and he has a keen interest in research methods.