Connecting European Neuroscience

Áine Kelly

Ordinary member, Committee for Higher Education and Training (CHET) (July 2020 - July 2022)

Curriculum Vitae                                                  

Professional and academic career


1995-1999 PhD, Trinity College Dublin
1991-1995 BA (Mod) Physiology, Trinity College Dublin

Present positions

2018- Professor in Physiology, Trinity College Dublin
July 2018- Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education, Trinity College Dublin

Past positions:

2010-2016 Head of Physiology, Trinity College Dublin
2007-2018 Associate Professor in Physiology, Trinity College Dublin
2009 Visiting Professor, Université Paris Sud (Paris-Saclay), France
2002-2007: Lecturer, Dept. Physiology, Trinity College Dublin
2000-2005: Part-time Assistant Lecturer, School of Physics, Dublin Institute of Technology 
2000-2002: Health Research Board Postdoctoral Fellow, Trinity College Dublin and Université Paris Sud (Paris-Saclay)
1999-2000: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Enterprise Ireland), Trinity College Dublin
1998-1999: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (EU Framework 4), Trinity College Dublin

Honours and awards

Recipient of >1.7m from Science Foundation Ireland, Health Research Board, Irish Research Council

2009 Fellow, Trinity College Dublin
2009 Visiting Professorship, Université Paris-Saclay
2005 Fellow, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland
1995 Trinity Foundation Fellowship

Awards and Prizes
2011 Trinity College Dublin Provost's Teaching Award
1995 Physiological Society Undergraduate Prize
1995 Trinity College Dublin Gold Medal
1994 Watts Medal, Health Research Board, Ireland

General administrative and organisational experience

2019-date President, Neuroscience Ireland
2019-date Governing Council, FENS
2019 Member, Physiological Society Grant Review Task Group
2007-2011 Secretary, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland

Conference organisation
2019 Festival of Neuroscience Public Engagement Programme
2013 6th European Workshop on Cannabinoid Research
2007-2011 Annual meeting, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland

University administration
2018-present Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education
2010-2016 Head of Physiology

Public engagement activities
2019 Organizer, Public Engagement Programme, Festival of Neuroscience 
2019 Keynote speaker iWish: inspiring girls to pursue STEM
2017-present Annual Brain Awareness Week events
2017-2020 Education & Public Engagement Officer, Neuroscience Ireland
2010 Art/Science installations for Science Gallery Dublin exhibitions ‘Biorhythm’, ‘Human’, ‘FATLAB’, ‘Trauma’

2000- Ad hoc reviewer for > 30 journals eg. Journal of Neuroscience,
Trends in Neuroscience, Nature Communications, British Journal of Pharmacology
2000- Ad hoc grant reviewer for EU, MRC UK, BBSRC UK, L’Oréal UNESCO Women
in Science Fellowships

2019- Associate Editor, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (Learning and Memory)
2015- Editorial Board, Neuropharmacology
2015- Senior Editor, Irish Journal of Medical Science
2012- Review Editor, Frontiers in Membrane Physiology and Biophysics

Research interests

My research lies at the interface between neuroscience and exercise physiology. I am interested in understanding how regular physical activity can protect brain function throughout the lifespan. A growing literature suggests that physical activity modulates the neurochemistry of the brain and promotes an anti-inflammatory environment in the brain parenchyma. This is of relevance to the study of ageing as both normal ageing and age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease share the common feature of chronic inflammation. Present projects in my lab focus on activity of glial cells in the brain in response to age, sedentary behaviour and regular exercise. I have led an independent research group for 16 years and in that time have supervised 10 PhD students to completion. I have generated €1.7m in research funding, and authored >50 publications (>2600 citations; H=27).                                                

Selected Publications

Mela V, Mota BC, Milner M, McGinley A, Mills KHG, Kelly ÁM, Lynch MA. (2020) Exercise-induced re-programming of age-related metabolic changes in microglia is accompanied by a reduction in senescent cells. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2020 21:S0889-1591(19)31480

Devenney K.E., Guinan E.M., Kelly Á.M., Mota B.C., Walsh C., Olde Rikkert M., Schneider S., Lawlor B. (2019) Acute high-intensity aerobic exercise affects brain-derived neurotrophic factor in mild cognitive impairment: a randomised controlled study. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine. 11;5(1):e000499 

Fortune, JM, Kelly Á.M, Robertson IH, Hussey J (2019) An investigation into the relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness, cognition and BDNF in young healthy males Neuroscience Letters 704:126-132

Birch, A.M., Kelly Á.M. (2019) Lifelong environmental enrichment in the absence of exercise protects the brain from age-related cognitive decline. Neuropharmacology 145 (A) 59-74 

OʼConnell, B., O’Shea, N., O’Dwyer, T., Denvir, K., Farrell, G., Wilson, F., Kelly, Á.M. (2018) Effects of match play and training on circulating S100B concentration in professional rugby players Brain Injury 32 (13-14) 1811-1816

Kelly Á.M. (2018) Exercise-induced modulation of neuroinflammation in models of Alzheimer's disease Brain Plasticity 12 (4), 81-94

OʼConnell B, Kelly Á.M, Mockler D, Orešič M, Denvir K, Farrell G, Janigro D, Wilson F. (2017) Use of Blood Biomarkers in the Assessment of Sports-Related Concussion-A Systematic Review in the Context of Their Biological Significance. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine 28 (6), 561-571

Ryan, S.M., Kelly Á.M. (2016) Exercise as a pro-cognitive, pro-neurogenic and anti-inflammatory intervention in transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease Ageing Research Reviews 27: 77-9

Prenderville JA, Kelly ÁM, Downer EJ. (2015) The role of cannabinoids in adult neurogenesis. British Journal of Pharmacology 172(16):3950-63.

Bechara, R.G., Lyne, R, Kelly Á.M (2014) BDNF-stimulated intracellular signaling mechanisms underlie exercise-induced improvement in spatial memory in the male Wistar rat Behavioural Brain Research 275:297-306


Áine Kelly

Professor in Physiology
Dept. of Physiology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland