Sydney neuroscientist honoured by the British Neuropsychological Society

30 April 2019
Associate Professor Muireann Irish awarded 2019 Elizabeth Warrington Prize
The British Neuropsychological Society has presented Associate Professor Muireann Irish an award for her outstanding work in neuropsychology.
Associate Professor Muireann Irish

Associate Professor Muireann Irish.
Photo by Louise M. Cooper.

Associate Professor Muireann Irish from the School of Psychology and the Brain and Mind Centre has been awarded the 2019 Elizabeth Warrington Prize by the British Neuropsychological Society (BNS).

The prize is awarded annually based on distinguished work in neuropsychology to a person at an early stage in their career.

"It is a great honour to be this year's recipient. Elizabeth Warrington is a true pioneer in the field of neuropsychology, to receive this award is a career-defining moment for me," Associate Professor Irish said.

Her research explores memory and imagination, and how these processes are disrupted in clinical populations such as dementia. Using novel approaches and sophisticated neuroimaging techniques, she has revealed how episodic and semantic memory processes interact to support complex cognitive feats.

"I'm interested in how the brain enables us to mentally travel backwards in time to revisit the past. I also aim to further understand the processes by which we can envisage the future," she explained.

Associate Professor Irish and her team are developing new ways of assessing complex aspects of cognition and how they are altered in neurological disorders. Her work continues to contribute to improving our understanding of how memory processes break down, ultimately guiding how memory disorders are diagnosed and treated.

"Over the next few years, I want to use new neuroimaging techniques to understand how damage to large-scale distributed brain networks in dementia syndromes impacts memory performance," she said.

"I hope to continue to make innovative contributions to the field of human memory and to refine our fundamental understanding of how we remember the past and imagine the future."

The Elizabeth Warrington Prize becomes one of the many honours Associate Professor Irish has received in her career to date. She has been the recipient of several awards including the 2014 NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award, 2015 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award, 2016 NSW Premier's Prize – Early Career Researcher of the Year, 2016 Edgeworth David Medal from the Royal Society of NSW, 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO International Rising Talent Award, and the 2019 Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award.