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News 

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 2024: Publication Success!

Congratulations to PhD student Shane Crinion who's paper 'Neuropsychiatric disorders, chronotype and sleep: A narrative review of GWAS findings and the application of Mendelian Randomisation to investigate causal relationships' was recently published in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior!

Please see our publications section for a short summary of the paper or read the full text here.

October 2023: We're Hiring!

We are currently seeking highly motivated individuals to join our team in a number of research position opportunities

Please visit our Join page to see if you're the candidate we are looking for.

Applications will be accepted until the 5th of November 2023, by 5pm. 

We look forward to hearing from you, and if you have any queries please contact us.

September 2023: Celebrating Achievements and Welcoming the Next Chapter

The FamilyGenomics Research Group would like to congratulate our most recent PhD graduates, Dr Fiana Ní Ghrálaigh and Dr Thomas Dinneen for the significant impact they’ve made during their time with us.

 

We find ourselves in a moment of transition, to both celebrate their remarkable accomplishments and to extend a warm welcome to our new PhD students Enya Nordon and Aung Myat Phyowho who are about to continue their academic journey with us.

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Enya is focusing her research on rare tandem repeat expansions to investigate the genetic link between sleep and neurodevelopmental conditions. This research is under the supervision of Dr Lorna Lopez and Dr David Fitzpatrick and is funded by the Kathleen Lonsdale Institute for Human Health Research.

Aung is set to commence his PhD research on the potential links between disrupted circadian rhythms and autism spectrum disorder. This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and is under the supervision of Dr Lorna Lopez.

Please visit our team page to get to know all our past and present team members.

June 2023: Knowledge Never Takes a Holiday

We are delighted to introduce and welcome our summer intern students who are undertaking comparative research projects in post genome-wide association study results for various neurodevelopmental conditions and sleep related phenotypes with the Family Genomics Research group. These opportunities are made possible by the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science, the Health Research Board (HRB), and FutureNeuro. We are lucky to host their brilliance this summer and we wish them all the best in their research projects.

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Enya has just completed her final year in BSc Biomedical Sciences at Maynooth University and has previously worked with the research group as a Summer Intern in both 2021 and 2022, and as a research assistant in 2021. This summer she joins the team as a Research Assistant. The research she has undertaken as part of the group has included an investigation on the quality of sleep and its' association with the common cold virus, and the evaluation of gene scoring systems. In October Enya will begin a PhD with the group where she will study the genetic links between sleep and neurodevelopmental conditions. 

Christina Bermingham has just completed her third year of biomedical science at Maynooth University. Her research project investigates post genome-wide associations for epilepsy and sleep related phenotypes and is supported by funding from FutureNeuro. Christina is driven by the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in scientific research and has always been interested in a career in research.

“Understanding the genomic cause of disorders such as epilepsy plays an important role in improving the quality of life of affected individuals. For this reason, I find the research of the Family Genomics Research Group highly rewarding and am very happy to be a part of it this summer.”

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Dearbhla Brady will begin her third year of biological and biomedical science at Maynooth University in the fall. Her research project is supported by the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) and the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Centre for Research Training in Foundations of Data Science. The project is a comparison of post genomic-wide association analysis (GWAS) results for ADHD and sleep related phenotypes. Dearbhla is motivated to learn more about genomics and bioinformatics techniques that build an understanding of biological pathways to help improve treatments and therapies for specific conditions.

 

“I hope to gain more of an insight into my career interests and prospects, gain new skills and continue networking and learning from fellow students, staff, and alumni.”

Laura Kupisiak is going into her fourth year of biological and biomedical sciences at Maynooth University. She is part of the SPUR and SFI summer student program researching the post-genome wide association analysis results for schizophrenia and sleep related phenotypes.

Laura is grateful to receive mentorship and guidance from respected researchers and is looking forward to establishing meaningful connections within the family genomics research network.

 

“As luck would have it, this research project explores all of my specific research interests which include the impact of sleep on human health and disease, genomics, and the study of neurological conditions.”

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Shakira Browne joins us from University College Dublin where she is studying in her final year of psychology. Her research project looks at the comparison of GWAS results for autism and sleep related phenotypes and is supported by the Health Research Board. Shakira is fascinated by the importance of interdisciplinary research and is interested in examining GWAS, MRI and EEG data in order to gain a more complete understanding of the aetiology of neurodevelopmental disorders.

 

“I have already learned so much and it has confirmed how much I enjoy research.”

August 2023: We are Hiring! 

We are currently seeking a Research Fellow and Research Assistant to join the Family Genomics Research Group, in the Department of Biology at Maynooth University, to continue our work on the FamilySleeps research study, funded by a European Research Council Starting Investigator Award to Dr Lorna Lopez.

To learn more about the positions and how to apply, please visit our Join page. 

Applications will be accepted until the 27th of August 2023, by 5pm. 

We look forward to hearing from you, and if you have any questions please contact us!

May 2023: Enhancing Research with Public and Patient Involvement

Continue your education journey with us!

Apply today for a PhD position with our ERC FamilySleeps Project and explore the genetic link between sleep and autism. 

Go to our Join page to learn more about the position and apply today.

April 2023: Don't sleep on this month's update from the Family Genomics Team

We're Hiring!

We are currently seeking a highly motivated PhD student to join our team and help us tackle one of the most important questions in psychiatric genomics research.

Go to our Join page to learn more about the position and apply today.

Applications will be accepted until 30th April 2023.

Read our most recent blog:

  • Learn about how Daylight Saving Time has evolved in Ireland in our latest blog post.

We would like to introduce and welcome our new research assistant, Laura Rudderham, and PPI contributor, Claire Hayes to the Family Genomics group. Please visit our team page to get to know all our team members.

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.

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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.

 


 

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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 

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