Catherine is a cognitive neuroscientist investigating the relationship between musical expertise and the development of dementia, and music as therapy. She holds teaching and research responsibilities at the School of Psychology at University College Dublin, Ireland.
Words of Strength
Initiative, building relationships
To reduce the scale and impact of dementia, Catherine believes in raising public awareness about how we are all active participants in the fight against dementia. By adopting healthy lifestyle changes, we can maintain our brain health as we age, and so ward off neurodegenerative diseases, like dementia.
Catherine leads a research project to measure the effect of music on the behavioral and cognitive symptoms of dementia. By better understanding how and why music can have such a positive effect on dementia, treatments can be developed to maximize the potential music can offer to a person living with dementia and their caregiver.
Catherine established TIMBRE (The Irish Music Brain Research Group), a multidisciplinary initiative that brings together clinicians, musicians, composers, choral leads, neuroscientists, psychologists, and music therapists. Its purpose is to establish Ireland as a key player in the area of music, neuroscience, and health research.
In Ireland, music-based services for people with dementia are under-resourced. There are also gaps in our scientific understanding of why music can help persons with dementia. Catherine looks to address these scientific gaps and, by doing so, to raise awareness about the benefits of music for persons with dementia and their caregivers.
Catherine completed her undergraduate degree, a BA in psychology, at the National University of Galway, where she was awarded the undergraduate scholar award for her academic achievements. She studied for her MSc degree in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Edinburgh. In 2017, she completed her PhD in psychology (Human Cognitive Neuroscience) under the supervision of Professor Robert Logie, Dr. Katie Overy, and Dr. Thomas Bak. She joined the Atlantic Fellows program in 2017. Upon graduation of the fellowship, she joined the School of Psychology at University College Dublin, where she holds teaching and research responsibilities.