Robert completed a BSc (Hons) in Biomedical Science at the National University of Ireland Galway with a major in Pharmacology and Biochemistry (2013-2017). During this time, he undertook summer studentships at NUI Galway and the University of Cambridge funded by Wellcome and the Amgen Foundation, respectively. Having developed a foundation in ‘wet lab’ and molecular biology approaches, he then focused on learning skills in computational biology during his PhD. His PhD thesis was completed under the supervision of Dr Riccardo Marioni at the University of Edinburgh as part of the Wellcome 4yr PhD programme in Translational Neuroscience (2017-2021). For his PhD, he was awarded the Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize for outstanding performance in population genetics (Genetics Society, October 2021). Currently, Robert holds a one-year Fellowship with the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit (IEU), University of Bristol to work on a collaborative project between the IEU, Bristol and the Marioni Lab in Edinburgh. He will take up an independent Fellowship in early 2023 to continue his existing work on omics science and shift focus from dementia to heart disease research.
Robert’s work is motivated by trying to identify and understand the molecular factors that underpin conditions such as dementia and heart disease, and how we can harness this information to improve disease screening and therapies.
Outside work, Robert enjoys making trips back to his native coastal County Clare in Ireland or catching up with friends in one or several pubs in Edinburgh.