CNS News & Events

Cork Neuroscience Centre BRAIN CONNECTIONS Open Day

22 Oct 2018
Some of the members of the event organising committee; Prof Aideen Sullivan, Dr Suzanne Timmons, Dr Yvonne Nolan and Prof Cora O'Neill

Dementia and Neurodegenetation Network Ireland DNNI in association with Cork NeuroScience Centre hosted a very successful public outreach event in UCC on Saturday 10th March 2018. Experts from the Cork Neuroscience Centre gathered to raise awareness of causes and symptoms of Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease, and to explain the latest research into how these conditions can be understood, treated and managed.

The event was organised by Professor Cora O'Neill, Director of Cork Neuroscience Centre, and School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC. Professor Aideen Sullivan and Dr Yvonne Nolan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, UCC and Dr Suzanne Timmons, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation UCC, on behalf of the Cork Neuroscience Centre in collaboration with Dementia and Neurodegenetation Network Ireland (DNNI).

Organisers and speakers from left: Dr Yvonne Nolan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience UCC, Dr Catherine Jordan, Global Brain Health Institute TCD, Dr Eva McMullan, School of Music and Theatre UCC, Dr Suzanne Timmons, Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation UCC, Professor Aideen Sullivan Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience UCC, Dr Gerard Clarke, Department of Psychiatry and APC UCC, Ms Ann Twomey, DNNI & Alzheimer Society Ireland, Dr Aisling Ryan, Cork University Hospital, Professor Cora O'Neill, Director of Cork Neuroscience Centre, and School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC.,  Dr Tony Foley, Department of General Practice UCC,  Ms Carol Rogan, Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland.

Among the activities on the day were a series of short presentation sessions which were re-run throughout the afternoon and presented by Neurologists, Geriatricians, Neuroscientists, and General Practitioners. Interactive stands were distributed along the foyer of the Western Gateway building and representatives from patient organisations and session speakers were on hand to provide information and contacts for anyone with an interest in Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease or Parkinson's Disease. There were uplifting music sessions which featured lively performances by the talented Ukuladies and guests. UCC Physiotherapists led stimulating brain health workshops demonstrating how to increase movement in everyday life.

The first speaker session: ‘Understanding Dementia’ was led by Dr. Suzanne Timmons, Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical lead for the National Dementia Office, and she addressed the question of ‘What is dementia?’ Prof. Cora O’NeillDirector of Cork Neuroscience Centre, and School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Dr. Yvonne Nolan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, then each presented their latest research work, and it's application in the clinical setting.

Session 2: ‘Patient and Carer Perspective’. Dr. Tony Foley, General Practioner, spoke about the role of the GP and the Primary Care Team for families seeking help.  This was followed by a joint session by Dr. Gerard Clarke, Department of Psychiatry & APC and Ms Ann Twomey, a former family carer and member of DNNI’s Advocacy Advisory Board  and Board of Directors of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, who spoke about caregiver stress, biological foundations, personal perspectives and building resilience. Dr. Aisling Ryan, Consultant Neurologist, CUH, concluded the session by detailing what to expect when meeting the neurologist.

Session 3: 'Understanding Parkinson’s Disease'. Dr. Sean O’Sullivan, Neurologist, Bons Secours Hospital Cork, explained the causes and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Professor Aideen Sullivan, Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience UCC, followed by presenting her research work on Parkinson’s Disease and its treatments. Physiotherapists Dr. Ruth McCullagh and Helen O’Regan UCC, delivered sessions on exercise and brain health, emphasising the importance of exercise for a healthy brain. Attendees took to the floor and worked through a series of brain empowering exercises.

Session 4: 'Music and Brain Health'.  Dr. Eva McMullan, UCC School of Music & Theatre, introduced the 'Ukuladies', a group of ukulele-playing ladies who care for their brain health by regularly meeting to play music. Joined by some other musicians and friends for the day, they performed rousing renditions of many popular songs. Catherine Jordan, Global Brain Health Institute in Trinity College Dublin, followed with a very informative presentation explaining the beneficial effects of music on brain health. The Ukuladies closed the sessions with more brain-stimulating performances.


The foyer of the Western Gateway Building was a hive of activity all afternoon as attendees moved from session to session and stopped off to explore the many interactive stands. The Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, the Department of Neurology and the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy  were present with representatives available at their stands to answer questions and provide information. The Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience demonstrated the effect of Alzheimer’s disease on brain cells with microscope slides and a model of a neuron. The APC Microbiome Institute were on hand to discuss brain health, gut bacteria and the communication between the brain and the gut. UCC Alzheimer’s Society members chatted to visitors about the work they have been doing since setting up the first society of its kind in an Irish University. Postgraduate researchers from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience presented their current research, and gave all a sense of the effects of dementia with their virtual reality headsets. The Alzheimer Society of Ireland chatted to members of the public about dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease at their stand. Staff were also available from the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, with information and advice. There was great support from the local Cork Parkinson’s Association group, with many members attending the event.



Ms Carol Rogan, Interdisciplinary Scientific Coordinator Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland with Professor Cora O'Neill, Director of Cork Neuroscience Centre, and School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC.


'Brain Connections Brain health, Dementia including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease' was organised by the Cork NeuroScience Centre in association with Dementia and Neurodegeneration Network Ireland,(DNNI).

The Cork Neuroscience Centre organising team were happy that this public event successfully brought information and education on all aspects of dementia & neurodegeneration and brain health to a large attendance. The Cork NeuroScience Centre is a cohesive multidisciplinary team of scientists, clinician scientists and clinician principal investigators working together to maximise collaborative strengths and accelerate discovery in Neuroscience. Their team of people are the life-blood of the centre and unite the expertise and talents of principal investigators from diverse backgrounds including: pharmacology, psychiatry, biochemistry; cell and molecular biology, gerontology, neurogastroenterology, neurology, nanotechnology, anatomy, psychology and more.

The unique team in the Cork Neuroscience Centre work together with a shared vision and passion and have created a truly multidisciplinary environment that is maximising research, education, outreach, and technological advances in neuroscience with national and international collaborators and industrial partners. The Cork Neuroscience Centre currently consists of 30 primary academic and clinical scientist principal investigators with 9 affiliated principal investigators contributing new technologies and expertise in complementary innovative areas. Its total research staff of approximately 120 researchers includes post-graduate PhD, MD and MSc students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, technician and administrative staff.
Link to Cork Neuroscience Centre Website

Lecture notes from the day are available on DNNI website,

Link HERE to a video of the Ukuladies keeping our brains healthy through music!


Postgraduate research students from Departments of Biochemsitry, Anatomy and Neuroscience and APC and fourth year BSc Neuroscience students were on hand all day to support the smooth running of the Brain Connections meeting.

Photos B.Riedewald


Cork NeuroScience CNS Centre - Integrating Clinical and Basic Research

Cork NeuroScien floor,