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I am an Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin.


My research is aimed at understanding the genetic program specifying the wiring of the brain and its relevance to variation in human faculties, especially to psychiatric and neurological disease and to perceptual conditions like synaesthesia.

I also study the biology of agency and free will.


I write the Wiring the Brain blog and you can find me on Twitter at: @WiringtheBrain.

My new book published in October 2023 is:

FREE AGENTS - How Evolution Gave Us Free Will” (Princeton University Press).

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Academic Career

I am a graduate of the Genetics Department, Trinity College Dublin (B.A., Mod. 1991) and received my Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of California at Berkeley (1997), where I studied nervous system development with Prof. Corey Goodman. 


I did postdoctoral research with Prof. William Skarnes at the University of California, Berkeley, and Prof. Marc Tessier-Lavigne at the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford University, using molecular genetics to study neural development in the mouse. 


Since 2002 I have been on the faculty at Trinity College Dublin. I was an EMBO Young Investigator and was elected to Fellowship of Trinity College in 2009. From 2016 to 2018 I served as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education and, from 2018 to 2021, I served as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies (The Senior Lecturer).

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