David Mothersill

David Mothersill
National College of Ireland · School of Business

B.A. (Hons), M.Sc., Ph.D.

About

57
Publications
13,000
Reads
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755
Citations
Introduction
• €100,000 awarded in research funding • 25 papers published in peer-reviewed academic journals • 3 years’ experience Directing a successful Master's Programme
Additional affiliations
November 2019 - present
National College of Ireland
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • In this role, I lecture Psychology students in National College of Ireland and conduct research in the area of social cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging.
August 2019 - October 2019
Dublin Business School
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • In this role, I lead research methods across programmes in Dublin Business School, including advanced teaching on qualitiative and quantitative research, design of new course material, and supervision of student research Dissertations across programmes.
July 2016 - July 2019
National University of Ireland, Galway
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • In this role, I lectured to undergraduate and postgraduate Psychology students, and played a leadership role as Director of the MSc in Clinical Neuroscience.

Publications

Publications (57)
Article
Full-text available
Social cognitive dysfunction, including deficits in facial emotion recognition and theory of mind, is a core feature of schizophrenia and more strongly predicts functional outcome than neurocognition alone. Although traditionally considered to play an important role in motor coordination, the cerebellum has been suggested to play a role in emotion...
Article
Full-text available
MIR137 is implicated in brain development and encodes a microRNA that regulates neuronal maturation and adult neurogenesis. Recently, a common genetic variant within MIR137 showed genome wide evidence of association with schizophrenia, and with altered amygdala activation in those at genetic risk for schizophrenia. Following this evidence, we inves...
Article
Full-text available
In light of observed changes in connectivity in schizophrenia and the highly heritable nature of the disease, neural connectivity may serve as an important intermediate phenotype for schizophrenia. However, how individual variants confer altered connectivity and which measure of brain connectivity is more proximal to the underlying genetic architec...
Article
Objective COVID-19 forced third-level students to transition to online learning (OL). Many students encountered issues with OL, such as accessibility. However, the relationship between OL issues and mental health during this time remains poorly understood. Participants: Third-level students in Ireland (N = 268) completed an online questionnaire exa...
Preprint
Full-text available
Schizophrenia (SZ) is associated with an increased risk of life-long cognitive impairments, age-related chronic disease, and premature mortality. We investigated evidence for advanced brain ageing in adult SZ patients, and whether this was associated with clinical characteristics in a prospective meta-analytic study conducted by the ENIGMA Schizoph...
Article
Abstract Objectives: Lack of knowledge and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards individuals with mental disorders is a worldwide problem but may be particularly damaging for young people. This pilot study examined knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism within a large sample of adults in Ire...
Article
Background Cognitive difficulties are experienced frequently in schizophrenia (SZ) and are strongly predictive of functional outcome. Although severity of cognitive difficulties has been robustly associated with early life adversity, whether and how they are affected by current stress is unknown. The present study investigated whether acute stress...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Deficits in facial emotion recognition are a core feature of schizophrenia and predictive of functional outcome. Higher plasma levels of the cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) have recently been associated with poorer facial emotion recognition in individuals with schizophrenia and healthy participants, but the neural mechanisms affected re...
Article
Objective Exposure to childhood trauma (CT) is associated with cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, and deficits in social cognition in particular. Here, we sought to test whether IL-6 mediated the association between CT and social cognition both directly, and sequentially via altered default mode network (DMN) connectivity. Methods Three-hundre...
Preprint
Full-text available
Over the past 25 years, neuroimaging has become a ubiquitous tool in basic research and clinical studies of the human brain. However, there are no reference standards against which to anchor measures of individual differences in brain morphology, in contrast to growth charts for traits such as height and weight. Here, we built an interactive online...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is considerable evidence of dysconnectivity within the default-mode network (DMN) in schizophrenia, as measured during resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI). History of childhood trauma (CT) is observed at a higher frequency in schizophrenia than in the general population, but its relationship to DMN functional connectivity has...
Article
Childhood trauma, and in particular physical neglect, has been repeatedly associated with lower performance on measures of social cognition (e.g. emotion recognition tasks) in both psychiatric and non-clinical populations. The neural mechanisms underpinning this association have remained unclear. Here, we investigated whether volumetric changes in...
Article
Full-text available
Childhood trauma, and in particular physical neglect, has been repeatedly associated with lower performance on measures of social cognition (e.g. emotion recognition tasks) in both psychiatric and non-clinical populations. The neural mechanisms underpinning this association have remained unclear. Here, we investigated whether volumetric changes in...
Article
Multiple genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia have reported associations between genetic variants within the MHC region and disease risk, an association that has been partially accounted for by alleles of the complement component 4 (C4) gene. Following on previous findings of association between both C4 and other complement-related vari...
Article
Full-text available
Objective This study investigated associations between childhood trauma, parental bonding, and social cognition (i.e., Theory of Mind and emotion recognition) in patients with schizophrenia and healthy adults. Methods Using cross‐sectional data, we examined the recollections of childhood trauma experiences and social cognitive abilities in 74 pati...
Article
Background Machine learning (ML) can distinguish cases with psychotic disorder from healthy controls based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data but it is not yet clear which MRI metrics are the most informative for case-control ML, or how ML algorithms relate to the underlying biology. Methods We analysed multi-modal MRI data from two independ...
Article
Full-text available
Background While traumatic childhood experiences have been frequently associated with adverse effects on social cognitive abilities, specifically emotion recognition, in individuals with schizophrenia (SZ) and to some degree in healthy adults also (Rokita et al., 2018), the neural mechanisms for this association remain unclear. Therefore, the main...
Poster
Background: It is known that childhood trauma (CT) is linkedto altered brain activation and functional connectivity during task-based studies in schizophrenia (SZ). However, despite its relevance in SZ, it remains unknown what the association is between CT and functional connectivity of the default-mode network (DMN). We hypothesized that CT is rel...
Article
Objective: Schizophrenia has recently been associated with widespread white matter microstructural abnormalities, but the functional effects of these abnormalities remain unclear. Widespread heterogeneity of results from studies published to date preclude any definitive characterization of the relationship between white matter and cognitive perfor...
Article
Full-text available
Prior to and following the publication of this article the authors noted that the complete list of authors was not included in the main article and was only present in Supplementary Table 1. The author list in the original article has now been updated to include all authors, and Supplementary Table 1 has been removed. All other supplementary files...
Article
Full-text available
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder associated with both structural and functional brain abnormalities. In the past few years, there has been growing interest in the application of machine learning techniques to neuroimaging data for the diagnostic and prognostic assessment of this disorder. However, the vast majority of studies publishe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Machine learning (ML) can distinguish cases with psychotic disorder from healthy controls based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, with reported accuracy in the range 60-100%. It is not yet clear which MRI metrics are the most informative for case-control ML. Methods: We analysed multi-modal MRI data from two independent case-con...
Article
Full-text available
Background Previous studies using resting-state functional neuroimaging have revealed alterations in whole-brain images, connectome-wide functional connectivity and graph-based metrics in groups of patients with schizophrenia relative to groups of healthy controls. However, it is unclear which of these measures best captures the neural correlates o...
Presentation
We tested whether early-life adversity (ELA) is associated with alterations of functional networks during working memory and resting-state in individuals with schizophrenia. We compared the impact of ELA severity on functional connectivity during working memory and resting-state across different functional networks.
Article
Full-text available
We organized 10Kin1day, a pop-up scientific event with the goal to bring together neuroimaging groups from around the world to jointly analyze 10,000+ existing MRI connectivity datasets during a 3-day workshop. In this report, we describe the motivation and principles of 10Kin1day, together with a public release of 8,000+ MRI connectome maps of the...
Article
Full-text available
Schizophrenia has been conceived as a disorder of brain connectivity, but it is unclear how this network phenotype is related to the underlying genetics. We used morphometric similarity analysis of MRI data as a marker of interareal cortical connectivity in three prior case–control studies of psychosis: in total, n = 185 cases and n = 227 controls....
Presentation
Full-text available
Background Alterations in functional networks during working memory (WM), including the salience network, frontoparietal network, dorsal attention network and default-mode network, have been repeatedly reported in schizophrenia. Changes in functional connectivity related to Early-Life Adversity (ELA) have yet to be characterized despite its relevan...
Presentation
Full-text available
Background In the last two decades, there has been a substantial number of studies indicating a link between schizophrenia (SZ) and early life adversities, such as childhood trauma (CT), which is highly prevalent in psychiatric populations (Rokita et al., 2018). However, little is known about the association between CT and social cognition, defined...
Article
Background: Cognitive dysfunction is a core feature of schizophrenia and a strong predictor of functional outcome. There is growing evidence for the effectiveness of behaviorally based cognitive training programs, although the neural basis of these benefits is unclear. To address this, we reviewed all published studies that have used neuroimaging...
Preprint
Full-text available
We organized 10Kin1day, a pop-up scientific event with the goal to bring together neuroimaging groups from around the world to jointly analyze 10,000+ existing MRI connectivity datasets during a 3-day workshop. In this report, we describe the motivation and principles of 10Kin1day, together with a public release of 8,000+ MRI connectome maps of the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Schizophrenia has been conceived as a disorder of brain connectivity but it is unclear how this network phenotype is related to the emerging genetics. We used morphometric similarity analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data as a marker of inter-areal cortical connectivity in three prior case-control studies of psychosis: in total, N=185 ca...
Poster
Full-text available
Poster that presents findings from the project “The effects of genetic variation on the cognitive phenotypes of intelligence and working memory and episodic memory in schizophrenia,” which was funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) (grants 12.IP.1359 and 08/IN.1/B1916) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2 project (grants 085475 /B/0...
Article
Working memory based cognitive remediation therapy (CT) for psychosis has recently been associated with broad improvements in performance on untrained tasks measuring working memory, episodic memory and IQ, and changes in associated brain regions. However, it is unclear if these improvements transfer to the domain of social cognition and neural act...
Article
Full-text available
Background N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) encephalitis has prominent early psychotic features. It has been rarely misdiagnosed as schizophrenia. NMDAR encephalitis causes deficiencies in working memory in the short & long term. Early immunotherapy/tumour removal improves outcomes. Schizophrenia can cause significant cognitive performance def...
Article
Multiple genome-wide association studies of schizophrenia have implicated genetic variants within the gene encoding microRNA-137. As risk variants within or regulated by MIR137 have been implicated in memory performance, we investigated the additive effects of schizophrenia-associated risk variants in genes empirically regulated by MIR137 on brain...
Article
Background The longstanding association between the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) locus and schizophrenia (SZ) risk has recently been accounted for, partially, by structural variation at the complement component 4 ( C4 ) gene. This structural variation generates varying levels of C4 RNA expression, and genetic information from the MHC regi...
Article
Full-text available
The two hemispheres of the human brain differ functionally and structurally. Despite over a century of research, the extent to which brain asymmetry is influenced by sex, handedness, age, and genetic factors is still controversial. Here we present the largest ever analysis of subcortical brain asymmetries, in a harmonized multi-site study using met...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cognitive remediation (CR) training has emerged as a promising approach to improving cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and related psychosis. The limited availability of psychological services for psychosis is a major barrier to accessing this intervention however. This study investigated the effectiveness of a low support, remotely ac...
Article
With >100 common variants associated with schizophrenia risk, establishing their biological significance is a priority. We sought to establish cognitive effects of risk variants at loci implicated in synaptic transmission by (1) identifying GWAS schizophrenia variants whose associated gene function is related to synaptic transmission, and (2) testi...
Article
Full-text available
Variants at microRNA-137 (MIR137), one of the most strongly associated schizophrenia risk loci identified to date, have been associated with poorer cognitive performance. As microRNA-137 is known to regulate the expression of ~1900 other genes, including several that are independently associated with schizophrenia, we tested whether this gene set w...
Article
Background: Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) has repeatedly shown evidence of altered functional connectivity of large-scale networks in schizophrenia. The relationship between these connectivity changes and behaviour (e.g. symptoms, neuropsychological performance) remains unclear. Methods: Functional connectivity in...
Article
The two hemispheres of the human brain differ functionally and structurally. Despite over a century of research, the extent to which brain asymmetry is influenced by sex, handedness, age, and genetic factors is still controversial. Here we present the largest ever analysis of subcortical brain asymmetries, in a harmonized multi-site study using met...
Article
Background: Deficits in facial emotion recognition have been associated with functional impairments in patients with Schizophrenia (SZ). Whilst a strong ecological argument has been made for the use of both dynamic facial expressions and varied emotion intensities in research, SZ emotion recognition studies to date have primarily used static stimu...
Article
Social environmental stress, including childhood abuse and deprivation, is associated with increased rates of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression. However, the neural mechanisms mediating risk are not completely understood. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have reported effects of social environmental stres...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Does the experience of childhood trauma mediated by its effects on structural brain network organisation confer a biological vulnerability in the later development schizophrenia? We applied a graph-theoretical network analyses approach to participants structural and diffusion MRI scans to examine whether the experience of childhood trauma alters general principles of the brain spatial and topological organization in both healthy controls and individuals with chronic schizophrenia. This study uses data collected as part of the iRELATE study (European Research Council Starter Grant: ERC-2015-STG-677467 awarded to Prof Gary Donohoe). Additionally, this study will implement an improved methodological approach to account for crossing white-matter trajectories; specifically a non-tensor based tractography tool of constrained spherical deconvolution (CSD) will be used to account for ‘edges’ within a network, and a subject-specific Desikan-Killiany Atlas template (Freesurfer v6.0) is used to define ‘nodes’ separately from each individual participant’ T1-weighted MRI with greater individual and anatomical accuracy relative to previous atlas-based parcellation tools.
Project
With the five most significant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) as identified by Savage et al. (2018) and patient diagnosis as independent variables, this statistical regression analysis focuses on the question to what extent these genetic variances were of importance in a clinical population by examining the effects in schizophrenia of previously identified genetic variation associated with intelligence (IQ) in healthy controls. A further objective was to extend the Savage et al. (2018) findings to determine the effects in schizophrenia of genetic variation on memory (specifically working memory and episodic memory).