Robert Whelan, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology
Trinity College Dublin
Professional Profile
Key Areas: translational cognitive neuroscience, psychology, neuroimaging, electroencephalography, machine learning


Neuroimaging often sheds light on early stages of neurodegenerative disease and has the potential to improve early diagnosis and drive specific treatment targets for various brain disorders. Robert Whelan brings expertise in neuroimaging data analysis to GBHI. His work includes predicting clinically relevant outcomes for patients with dementia by utilizing big datasets collected across Irish and international collaborations. Prospective, longitudinal neuroimaging datasets will be an important tool for measuring brain health in individuals around the world.

The early detection of changes in brain health is one the greatest challenges facing the field of neuroscience today.

The vast majority of Whelan’s research is directed toward answering clinically relevant questions, using both structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, high-density electroencephalography, and behavioral assays. He is a strong advocate of the development of sophisticated methods to better understand brain systems in disease and in healthy aging, and many of his projects can be placed under the rubric of “Big Data” approaches. One of Whelan’s main goals is to create predictions based on data that are collected prior to the onset of any symptoms. These predictions would ultimately allow for preventive treatment and a reduction in the number of people who suffer from cognitive impairment.

Bio: Robert Whelan is a psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Trinity College Dublin. He received a first-class honors degree in applied psychology from University College Cork and a doctorate degree in psychology from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, where he received the award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in Social Science. His research has been covered internationally, in both scientific and popular media.