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Professor Shane O'Mara

Professor of Experimental Brain Research (Psychology)


I am Professor of Experimental Brain Research in Trinity College Dublin, and am a Principal Investigator in, and currently the Director of, the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and a member of the academic staff of the School of Psychology. I was an undergraduate and postgraduate at NUI Galway (BA, MA). I undertook my doctoral work (DPhil) at the University of Oxford. I am a Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin (FTCD) and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (FAPS). I was also elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA). Research Focus: My research focuses on the relations between cognition, synaptic plasticity and behaviour, in the context of brain aging and depression. Research Interests: Biology of learning and memory; mechanisms of brain repair; drug action in CNS; synaptic plasticity; visualising in vivo neuronal activity; defining distribution of bioactive agents in CNS; imaging human brain during learning and memory; models of neurodegeneration; models of secondary depression and their treatment; organic disorders of memory. I am also interested in public policy applications and counterfactual interpretations of neuroscience. Research Support and Research Funding: My research work has been or currently is supported by the Wellcome Trust; Science Foundation Ireland; the Health Research Board; the European Commission; GlaxoSmithKline; Alkermes. I blog shaneomara.wordpress.com, mostly on neuroscience-, psychology-, science- and public policy-related themes (and maybe the intersection of all of these themes, but sometimes on other things entirely). I tweet at @smomara1.
  ACTIVATED PROTEIN-KINASE   ALZHEIMERS-DISEASE   AMINO-ACID RECEPTORS   AMMONS HORN   ANATOMICAL DATA   ANTERIOR CINGULATE CORTEX   ANTERIOR THALAMIC NUCLEI   ARACHIDONIC-ACID   AREA CA1   BDNF   BDNF PROTECTS   BEHAVIORAL STRESS   Biology of learning, memory and cognition   CA1   CALCIUM   CHRONIC NEUROINFLAMMATION   COGNITIVE MAPS   COMPLEX-SPIKE CELLS   CORTEX   CUE CONTROL   CYTOKINES   DENTATE GYRUS   DEPOTENTIATION   DISORIENTATION   EFFERENT CONNECTIONS   ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICALLY-DEFINED CLASSES   ENTORHINAL CORTEX   ENVIRONMENT   FIRING PATTERNS   FIRING PROPERTIES   FREELY-MOVING   FRONTAL-CORTEX   GYRUS IN-VITRO   HEAD DIRECTION CELLS   HIGH-FREQUENCY STIMULATION   HIPPOCAMPAL   HIPPOCAMPAL AREA CA1   HIPPOCAMPAL FORMATION   HIPPOCAMPAL SLICES   HIPPOCAMPUS   IN-VIVO   LASTING POTENTIATION   LEARNING AND MEMORY   LESIONS   LONG-TERM POTENTIATION   MESSENGER-RNA   METHYL-D-ASPARTATE   NEURONS   PAIRED-PULSE FACILITATION   PARIETAL CORTEX   PATH INTEGRATION   PLACE NAVIGATION   PLASTICITY   POTENTIATION   RAT   RAT HIPPOCAMPUS   RATS   SLICES   SPATIAL MEMORY   SUBICULUM   SYNAPTIC TRANSMISSION   WATER MAZE
Details Date
Major Conference Organization: The European Brain and Behaviour Society meeting Sept 2005. I was the Chair and Chief Organiser of this conference; I led the successful bid to bring this conference to Dublin and to have it hosted by the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. This was a major international meeting of some 450 delegates. 2005
Details Date From Date To
Association for Psychological Science; Society for Neuroscience; European Brain and Behaviour Society; Neuroscience Ireland
Callaghan, C.K. and Rouine, J. and Dean, R.L. and Knapp, B.I. and Bidlack, J.M. and Deaver, D.R. and O'Mara, S.M., Antidepressant-like effects of 3-carboxamido seco-nalmefene (3CS-nalmefene), a novel opioid receptor modulator, in a rat IFN-α-induced depression model, Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 67, 2018, p152-162 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Barlow, S. and Fahey, B. and Smith, K.J. and Passecker, J. and Della-Chiesa, A. and Hok, V. and Day, J.S. and Callaghan, C.K. and O'Mara, S.M., Deficits in temporal order memory induced by interferon-alpha (IFN-α) treatment are rescued by aerobic exercise, Brain Research Bulletin, 140, 2018, p212-219 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Passecker, J. and Islam, M.N. and Hok, V. and O'Mara, S.M., Influences of photic stress on postsubicular head-directional processing, European Journal of Neuroscience, 47, (8), 2018, p1003-1012 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
O'Mara, S., The captive brain: Torture and the neuroscience of humane interrogation, QJM, 111, (2), 2018, p73-78 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Shane O'Mara, A Brain for Business - A Brain for Life, 1st, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, 10.1007/978-3-319-49154-7pp, Book, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Brotons-Mas JR, Schaffelhofer S, Guger C, O'Mara SM, Sanchez-Vives MV, Heterogeneous spatial representation by different subpopulations of neurons in the subiculum., Neuroscience, 343, 2017, p174 - 189, Notes: [Abstract The subiculum is a pivotal structure located in the hippocampal formation that receives inputs from grid and place cells and that mediates the output from the hippocampus to cortical and sub-cortical areas. Previous studies have demonstrated the existence of boundary vector cells (BVC) in the subiculum, as well as exceptional stability during recordings conducted in the dark, suggesting that the subiculum is involved in the coding of allocentric cues and also in path integration. In order to better understand the role of the subiculum in spatial processing and the coding of external cues, we recorded subicular units in freely moving rats while performing two experiments: the "size experiment" in which we modified the arena size, and the "barrier experiment" in which we inserted new barriers in a familiar open field thus dividing the enclosure into four comparable sub-chambers. We hypothesized that if physical boundaries were deterministic of the firing of subicular units a strong spatial replication pattern would be found in most spatially modulated units. In contrast, our results demonstrate heterogeneous space coding by different cell types: place cells, barrier-related units and BVC. We also found units characterized by narrow spike waveforms, most likely belonging to axonal recordings, that showed grid-like patterns. Our data indicate that the subiculum codes space in a flexible manner, and that it is involved in the processing of allocentric information, external cues and path integration, thus broadly supporting spatial navigation.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Jankowski, M.M. and Islam, M.N. and O'Mara, S.M., Dynamics of spontaneous local field potentials in the anterior claustrum of freely moving rats, Brain Research, 1677, 2017, p101-117 , Notes: [cited By 1], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Callaghan, C.K. and Rouine, J. and O'Mara, S.M., Exercise prevents IFN-α-induced mood and cognitive dysfunction and increases BDNF expression in the rat, Physiology and Behavior, 179, 2017, p377-383 , Notes: [cited By 1], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
O'Mara, S.M., Place Cells: Knowing Where You Are Depends on Knowing Where You're Heading, Current Biology, 27, (17), 2017, pR834-R836 , Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Hegde P, O'Mara S, Laxmi TR., Extinction of Contextual Fear with Timed Exposure to Enriched Environment: A Differential Effect., Annals of neurosciences, 24, (2), 2017, p90-104 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
  

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Mullally, SM, Roche, RAP, Laing, J, Robertson, IH & O'Mara, SM., A virtual lesion of the Human Hippocampus: Anteceding n-Back performance inhibits subsequent hippocampal-dependent memory function, Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting 2005, New York, USA. , 2005, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Roche, RAP, Mullally, SL, Hayden, J, Brennan, P, Fitzsimons, M, McMackin, D, McNulty, J, Prendergast, J, Sukumaran, S, O'Mara, SM & Robertson, IH, Effects of Prolonged Rote Rehearsal on Learning and Hippocampal Metabolism in the Aged, Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting , San Francisco, USA. , 2004, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Mullally, SL, Roche, RAP, Laing, J, Robertson, IH, & O'Mara, SM , Does Performance of a Working-Memory N-Back Task Impact on Episodic Verbal Learning, Recall and Recognition? , Cognitive Neuroscience Society Annual Meeting, San Francisco, USA. , 2004, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
O'Mara, S.M., Mangaoang, M.A., McMackin, D.M., Quigley, J., Relationship Of Language Disorder To Mnemonic Deficits After Unilateral Hippocampectomy In Human Patients, 2003, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Roche, RAP & O'Mara, SM, Event-related potentials during response inhibition in normal absentmindedness and traumatic brain injury, Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, EBBS 2003, Barcelona, Spain, 63 (Suppl), 2003, pp27-, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
Roche, RAP & O'Mara, SM , Learning, attention and executive control in visuomotor association learning., EURESCO conference on Action and Perception in Three-Dimensional Space, Aquafredda di Maratea, Italy., 2003, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
OMARA, SM, THE EFFECTS OF THE ENDOTOXIN LIPOPOLYSACCHARIDE ON SYNAPTIC TRANSMISSION AND PLASTICITY IN THE CA1-SUBICULUM PATHWAY IN VIVO, unknown, 2000, 12, ISI Web of Science, 2000, pp250 - 250, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
SHAW, K, STRESS: HOW IT AFFECTS SPATIAL LEARNING AND BDNF EXPRESSION, unknown, 2000, 12, ISI Web of Science, 2000, pp330 - 330, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
COMMINS, S, THE EFFECT OF LIPOPOLYSACCHARIDE ON LEARNING AND RETENTION IN THE WATERMAZE AND BDNF EXPRESSION IN THE RAT DENTATE GYRUS, unknown, 2000, 12, ISI Web of Science, 2000, pp83 - 83, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED
DELANY, D, A BIOLOGICALLY REALISTIC MODEL OF HIPPOCAMPAL CA1-SUBICULUM INTERACTIONS, unknown, 2000, 12, ISI Web of Science, 2000, pp242 - 242, Meeting Abstract, PUBLISHED

  

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Award Date
FAPS 2010
MRIA 2011
Biology of learning and memory; mechanisms of brain repair; drug action in CNS; synaptic plasticity; visualising in vivo neuronal activity; defining distribution of bioactive agents in CNS; imaging human brain during learning and memory; models of neurodegeneration; models of secondary depression and their treatment; organic disorders of memory. Key Research Question: How does the brain change as a result of experience? To investigate this general problem, I have adopted multidisciplinary techniques from diverse disciplines (e.g. neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, behavioural analysis, neuroimmunology). Techniques routinely used in my research group include: in vivo neurophysiology in freely-moving/anaesthetised rat (field potentials/action potential recordings of single neurons/neuronal ensembles); neurobehavioural assays (automated water, radial, open field; object exploration, odour discrimination, etc.); brain protein assays (BDNF; prostaglandins); radioimmunoassays; neurohistology.