top of page


Welcome to our news page where we share our updates about our research group. Keep up-to-date with our latest news posts below. 

February 2023: The Circadian Mental Health Network 

The Family Genomics team are pleased to be a part of the Circadian Mental Health Network, a new research collaboration between researchers, clinicians, charities, patients, carers and the public launched on February 1st.  The network is led by Professor Danny Smith at the University of Edinburgh and funded by the MRC Network Grant.  We look forward to working with our chronobiologist, psychiatrist and lived experience colleagues across the UK to further understanding of how circadian timing affects mental health.

Circ Mental health Network.png

January 2023: Autism Policy Committee meeting in the Oireachtas 

Dr Lorna Lopez joined the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Autism to discuss Autism Policy with Science Foundation Ireland on 31st January 2023. A recording of the meeting can be watched here, Oireachtas Joint Committee meeting on Autism.



Lorna Lopez Oireachtas 2023.png

October 2022: Public patient involvement (PPI), research engagement, and our new team members

Please view our two latest blogs published this month:

  • Our first blog, Maynooth University Research Week 2022, discusses an upcoming public patient involvement (PPI) event that is taking place where Dr Fiana Ní Ghrálaigh will be presenting our video series 'An illustrated exploration of autism genomics research processes' at this event. 

We would like to introduce and welcome Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dr Laura Fahey, and MSc Research Student, Luna Alvarado Añon, to the Family Genomics Research Group. Please visit our team page to get to know our new team members.  

September 2022: Our most recent publication and blog

Dr Cathy Wyse, Dr Lorna Lopez and Research Summer Interns undertook research last year to investigate the susceptibility of the common cold. They discovered associations between daylength, disease risk and infection risk.

In recent weeks their work was published. To read the highlights and main findings of this research paper, please see our blog 'When are you most likely to catch the common cold?.' The detailed summary of these findings and full text of the research article can be found on our publications page.

August 2022: We are now recruiting for a study to investigate the effects of Daylight Exposure and Vitamin D on Circadian Rhythms, Mood, and Sleep. 

Please see our participate page to find out more. We include information about the aims of this study, who is eligible to take part, and what is involved. 

July 2022: Meet this year's Research Assistants

Aoibhin Woods, Enya Nordon, Giulia Guasoni and Hannah Walsh (from left to right) were successfully awarded positions within the Family Genomics research Group this summer to assist with and conduct research within the context of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric conditions. 

Read their blog, 'Biology of Brain Disorders Conference: Our Interns' Perspectives', to gain insight into their experience of their first biological neuroscience conference.

June 2022: Science Communication at the "Maynooth Supports Ukraine" Community Day

Last month, the summer students and research assistants from the Family Genomics Research Group helped out at the "Maynooth Supports Ukraine" community day on the 15th of June. The team engaged in science communication with children and families in attendance, to share the values and research interests of the Family Genomics Research Group, additionally sharing information regarding any research opportunities available.

Our summer students created engaging ways for the children to interact with science, through the use of 3D DNA helix models, weighted brain bean-bags, neuron teddy bears, and DNA-themed colouring activities. The day was a great success, and our team appreciated the opportunity to give back to the community. 

April 2022: New video series, 'An illustrated exploration of the genomics of autism.'

This month, the Family Genomics Research Group has launched a video series for members of the autism community in Ireland to coincide with World Autism Month. If you are an autistic individual, a family member, a clinician, an educator, or a researcher, our new series may be of interest to you.

Fiana Ní Ghrálaigh and Dr Lorna Lopez were awarded a grant called 'Impact through dissemination support fund 2021.' They recognize how important it is to keep the community informed about research and related processes that are ongoing and underway. With this in mind, they planned a dissemination project to communicate to the community what our research team does during certain stages of autism research in the form of illustrations through stop-motion videos. These videos were created by Laura Finnegan. 

Please see our engagement page to view the latest video from this project.


First update of 2022: Autism genomics recruitment closing, successful publications and Irish women in STEM in Ireland and Sweden

We would like to say a huge thank you to the families that are involved in the autism genomics research project. Families have been amazingly helpful over the last few months by providing biological samples and taking the time to keep in contact with our research study recruiters. 
Without the active participation of families that are interested in and eligible for this study, we would not be able to undertake our research to uncover more discoveries of genetic variants associated with autism that can be present in families with two or more autistic individuals. We are very grateful for your continued involvement.

Recruitment of new families to this study is closing at the end of February as we need to progress to the next stage of our research. If you are a family with autism and/or have an interest in autism genomics, please visit our autism genomics page and participate page to find out more.

PhD candidates, Fiana Ní Ghrálaigh and Thomas Dinneen, have recently written research articles associated with the genetics of neurodevelopmental conditions which have been
successfully published in academic journals, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and Trends in Genetics. Please see our publications page for further information on the contents of these articles.  

Dr Lorna Lopez was among women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) from different scientific and clinical backgrounds that discussed their varying experiences as women in science. This recorded webinar was hosted by the Irish embassy in Sweden in honour of St Brigid's Day. Please see the full video on our engagement page if you wish to know more about Irish Women in STEM from the Karolinska Institutet and Maynooth University.

November 2021: Calls for the Health Research Board Summer Scholarships are now open!

During the summer of 2021, the Family Genomics Research Group worked with final year Biomedical Science student, Alexandra Keogh. This year, Alex was awarded this excellent scholarship and worked under the supervision of Dr Cathy Wyse and Dr Lorna Lopez. Alex discusses her experience of the scholarship and working with the Family Genomics Research Group in our most recent blog, 'Summer scholarship: My HRB Research Experience.' Please read to find out more about how Alex's experience has shaped her perspective as an aspiring researcher. Contact us if you are interested in applying for the HRB Summer Student Scholarship 2022 and working with our team. 

October 2021: Joint-winner of SPUR Undergraduate Research Virtual Symposium 

We congratulate Ava Clarke on her recent achievement. Ava showcased her summer research project that she conducted with the Family Genomics Research Group at the SPUR Undergraduate Research Virtual Symposium and received joint first place for her excellent presentation of her research.
Ava discusses her SPUR experience and her time spent with the Family Genomics Research Group and fellow SPUR awardee, Enya Nordon, in our recent blog post "SPUR: Research interns join the Family Genomics Research Group". Please see our Blogs page to read more about the SPUR experience.

September 2021: Newsletter article feature in the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 

Research Group Lead, Dr Lorna Lopez, as well as Professor Cathal Seoighe and Professor Walter Kolch were interviewed for this month's 'Think Tank' newsletter from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland by Dr Eimear O'Neill. Lorna is featured in the 'Research Series: A New Understanding, the Future of Genetic Research in Ireland'. 

Lorna discusses current techniques and research being conducted by the Family Genomics Research Group. In particular, she provides her perspective on genetic architecture of psychiatric conditions, including the how such research in psychosis genetics has informed psychosis research. Lorna gives research advice and talks about the future directions of how neuropsychiatric genomics can impact in autism can impact other fields within neuropsychiatric research areas. 

August 2021: We are now recruiting for a genomics study

Please see our participate page to find out more. We list what's involved in this study, who can take part and the benefits of the study. 

July 2021: Meet our new Research Assistants

We welcome Enya, Ava, Collette and Aoife to The Family Genomics Research Group. To find out more about our new members, please visit our Team page 

Enya Profile Pic.png
Ava Profile Pic.jpg
Collette Profile Pic.jpg
Aoife B Profil Pic.jpg
bottom of page