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Dr. Claire Gillan
Associate Professor, Psychology
Associate Professor, Trinity Inst. of Neurosciences (TCIN)


Claire gained her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2013 under the supervision of Trevor Robbins. She stayed in Cambridge to complete a short postdoc funded by the Medical Research Council, before being awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at New York University. At NYU, Claire worked on computational approaches to understanding psychiatry with Nathaniel Daw and Liz Phelps. In 2015, Claire received the Junior Investigator Award from British Association for Psychophamacology for her work on goal-directed learning in obsessive-compulsive disorder. She serves on the editorial board for Brain and Neurosciences Advances, the new flagship journal of the British Neuroscience Association.

Claire's lab at Trinity College Dublin is interested in developing novel approaches to studying brain health in psychiatric and ageing populations - a key goal is to develop objective tests that can be used to predict who will respond to which treatment. To undertake this work, since joining Trinity, Claire has been awarded a fellowship from MQ: transforming mental health to study machine learning predictors of treatment response. In addition, she has received funding from the Global Brain Health Institute and Science Foundation Ireland to develop a smartphone app 'Neureka' that engages the public in science on a large-scale.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Habit Formation in, editor(s)Lynall & Jones , Cambridge Textbook of Neuroscience for Psychiatrists, Cambridge, UK, 2023, [Gillan CM] Book Chapter, 2023

Price, R.B., Ferrarelli, F., Hanlon, C., Gillan, C.M., Kim, T., Siegle, G.J., Wallace, M.L., Renard, M., Kaskie, R., Degutis, M., Wears, A., Brown, V., Rengasamy, M., Ahmari, S.E., Resting-State Functional Connectivity Differences Following Experimental Manipulation of the Orbitofrontal Cortex in Two Directions via Theta-Burst Stimulation, Clinical Psychological Science, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Alexandra Kathryn Hopkins, Claire Gillan, Jonathan Paul Roiser, Toby Wise, Nura Sidarus, Optimising the measurement of anxious-depressive, compulsivity and intrusive thought and social withdrawal transdiagnostic symptom dimensions, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Vanessa M. Brown, Claire M. Gillan, Marlee Renard, Rachel Kaskie, Michelle Degutis, Anna Wears, Greg J. Siegle, Fabio Ferrarelli, Susanne E. Ahmari, Rebecca B. Price, A double-blind study assessing the impact of orbitofrontal theta burst stimulation on goal-directed behavior., Journal of Psychopathology and Clinical Science, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Kelly R. Donegan, Claire M. Gillan, New principles and new paths needed for online research in mental health: Commentary on Burnette et al. (2021), International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Sean W. Kelley, Caoimhe Ní Mhaonaigh, Louise Burke, Robert Whelan, Claire M. Gillan, Machine learning of language use on Twitter reveals weak and non-specific predictions, npj Digital Medicine, 5, (1), 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Robert Whelan, Florentine M. Barbey, Marcia R. Cominetti, Claire M. Gillan, Anna M. Rosická, Developments in scalable strategies for detecting early markers of cognitive decline, Translational Psychiatry, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Legaz A, Abrevaya S, Dottori M, González Campo C, Birba A, Martorell Caro M, Aguirre J, Slachevsky A, Aranguiz R, Serrano C, Gillan CM, Leroi I, Ibañez A, Multimodal mechanisms of human socially reinforced learning across neurodegenerative diseases., Brain : a journal of neurology, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Lee CT, Palacios J, Richards D, Hanlon AK, Lynch K, Harty S, Claus N, Swords L, O'Keane V, Stephan KE, Gillan CM, The Precision in Psychiatry (PIP) study: an internet-based methodology for accelerating research in treatment prediction and personalisation, BMC Psychaitry, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Wise T, Robinson, O & Gillan, CM, Identifying transdiagnostic mechanisms in mental health using computational factor modeling, Biological Psychiatry, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 URL

Sean W. Kelley, Claire M. Gillan, Using language in social media posts to study the network dynamics of depression longitudinally, Nature Communications, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Price RB, Gillan CM, Hanlon C, Ferrarelli F, Kim T, Karim HT, Renard M, Kaskie R, Degutis M, Wears A, Vienneau EP, Peterchev AV, Brown V, Siegle GJ, Ahmari SE, Effect of Experimental Manipulation of the Orbitofrontal Cortex on Short-Term Markers of Compulsive Behavior: A Theta Burst Stimulation Study., The American journal of psychiatry, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Kelly JR, Gillan CM, Prenderville J, Kelly C, Harkin A, Clarke G, O'Keane V, Psychedelic Therapy's Transdiagnostic Effects: A Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Perspective., Frontiers in psychiatry, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Seow TXF, Rouault M, Gillan CM, Fleming SM, Reply to: Metacognition, Adaptation, and Mental Health., Biological psychiatry, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Seow TXF, Benoit E, Dempsey C, Jennings M, Maxwell A, O'Connell R, Gillan CM, Model-Based Planning Deficits in Compulsivity Are Linked to Faulty Neural Representations of Task Structure., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Hunter LE, Meer EA, Gillan CM, Hsu M, Daw ND, Increased and biased deliberation in social anxiety., Nature human behaviour, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Seow TXF, Rouault M, Gillan CM, Fleming SM, How Local and Global Metacognition Shape Mental Health., Biological psychiatry, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Gillan CM, Rutledge RB, Smartphones and the Neuroscience of Mental Health., Annual review of neuroscience, 2021 Journal Article, 2021 DOI

Brown V, Chen J, Gillan CM, Price R., Improving the reliability of computational analyses: Model-based planning and its relationship with compulsivity, Biological Psychiatry: CNNI, 2020 Journal Article, 2020

TXF Seow, CM Gillan, Transdiagnostic Phenotyping Reveals a Host of Metacognitive Deficits Implicated in Compulsivity, Scientific Reports, 10, (1), 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Gillan CM & Seow TXF, Carving out new transdiagnostic dimensions for research in mental health, Biological Psychiatry: CNNI, 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Gillan CM, Vaghi MM, Hezemans FH, van Ghesel Grothe S, Dafflon J, Brühl AB, Savulich G, & Robbins TW., Experimentally-induced and real-world acute anxiety have no effect on goal-directed behaviour., Psychological Medicine, 2020 Journal Article, 2020

Seow TXF, Benoit E, Dempsey C, Jennings M, Maxwell A, McDonough M, Gillan CM, A dimensional investigation of error-related negativity (ERN) and self-reported psychiatric symptoms., International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 DOI

Browning M, Huys, Q, Paulus M, Frank M, Chatham C, Carter C, Den Ouden H, Gillan CM, Chekroud A, Gold J, Phillips M, Powers A, Baker J, Mourao-Miranda J, Stephan KE, Cools R, Dayan P, Hartley C, Roiser J, Schmack K, Sebold M, Kepecs A, Lawson R, Pizzagalli D, Rindskopf D, Schiller D. , Realizing the Clinical Potential of Computational Psychiatry: Report from the Banbury Centre Meeting, February 2019, Biological Psychiatry, 2020 Journal Article, 2020 URL

Recent developments in the habit hypothesis of OCD and compulsive disorders in, editor(s)Naomi A. Fineberg and Trevor W. Robbins , Future Trends In Obsessive-Compulsive And Related Disorders, Cambridge, Springer, 2020, [Gillan, CM] Book Chapter, 2020

Luijten, M, Gillan CM, de Wit S, Franken I, Robbins TW, Ersche, K, Goal-directed and habitual control in smokers, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 DOI URL

Gillan CM, Kalanthroff E, Evans M, Weingarden HM, Jacoby RJ, Gershkovich M, Snorrason I, Campeas R, Cervoni C, Crimarco N, Sokol Y, Garnaat SL, Mclaughlin N, Phelps EA, Pinto A, Boisseau CL, Wilhelm S, Daw ND, Simpson HB , Comparison of the association between goal-directed planning and self-reported compulsivity vs obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis, JAMA Psychiatry, 2019 Journal Article, 2019 DOI URL

Brain and Neuroscience Advances, (2019), 2017 - 2018p, Gillan, CM, Rudebeck, P, [eds.] Journal, 2019

de Wit S, Kindt M, Knot SL, Verhoeven AAC, Robbins TW, Gasull-Camos J, Evans M, & Mirza H, Gillan CM, Shifting the balance between goals and habits: five failures in experimental habit induction, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 DOI URL

Wheaton MG*, Gillan CM*, Simpson HB, Does cognitive-behavioral therapy affect goal-directed planning in obsessive-compulsive disorder?, Psychiatry Research , 2018 Journal Article, 2018 URL DOI

Rouault M, Seow T, Gillan CM, Fleming SM, Psychiatric symptom dimensions are associated with dissociable shifts in metacognition but not task performance., Biological Psychiatry, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 URL DOI

Apergis-Schoute AM, Bijleveld B, Gillan CM, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ and Robbins TW, Hyperconnectivity of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in obsessive-compulsive disorder., Brain and Neuroscience Advances, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Fineberg NA, Apergis-Schoute AM, Vaghi MM, Banca P, Gillan CM, Voon V, Chamberlain SR, Cinosi E, Reid J, Shahper S, Bullmore ET, Sahakian BJ, Robbins T, Mapping Compulsivity in the DSM - 5 Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders: Cognitive Domains, Neural Circuitry And Treatment. , International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 21, (1), 2018, p42 - 58 Journal Article, 2018 DOI

Wu Y, Clark L, Ziliolid S, Eisenegger C, Gillan CM, Dengh H, Lia H, Single dose testosterone administration modulates emotional reactivity and counterfactual choice in healthy males, Psychoneuroendochronology, 2018 Journal Article, 2018 URL DOI

Tobias-Webb J, Limbrick-Oldfield EH, Gillan CM, Moore JW, Aitken MRF, and Clark, Let me take the wheel: illusory control and sense of agency, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2017 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Gillan CM, Fineberg NA, Robbins TW, A Trans-Diagnostic Perspective on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Psychological Medicine, 47, (9), 2017 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Habits and Goals in OCD in, editor(s)C. Pittenger , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Phenomenology, Pathophysiology and Treatment, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017, [Gillan CM] Book Chapter, 2017

Annemieke M. Apergis-Schoutea, Claire M. Gillan, Naomi A. Fineberg, Emilio Fernandez-Egea, Barbara J. Sahakian, Trevor W. Robbins, Neural basis of impaired safety signaling in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PNAS, 114, (12), 2017, p3216 - 3221 Journal Article, 2017 URL DOI

Gillan, C.M. and Whelan, R., What big data can do for treatment in psychiatry, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 18, 2017, p34-42 Journal Article, 2017 DOI

Gillan CM, Kosinski M, Whelan R, Phelps EA & Daw ND, Characterizing a psychiatric symptom dimension related to deficits in goal-directed control, eLife, 5, (e11305), 2016 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Godier LR, de Wit S, Pinto A, Steinglass JE, Greene AL, Scaife J, Gillan CM, Walsh BT, Simpson HB, Park, RJ, An investigation of habit learning in Anorexia Nervosa, Psychiatry Research, 2016 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Ersche KD, Gillan CM, Jones PS, Williams GB, Luitjen M, de Wit S, Ward LHE, Sahakian BJ, Bullmore ET, and Robbins TW, Carrots and sticks fail to change behavior in cocaine addiction, Science, 352, (6292), 2016, p1468 - 1471 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Gillan CM & Daw ND, Taking psychiatry research online, Neuron, 91, (1), 2016, p19 - 23 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Gillan CM, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ, van den Heuvel O & van Wingen G, The role of habit in compulsivity, European Neuropsychopharmacology, 26, (5), 2016, p828 - 840 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

An associative account of avoidance. In Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning in, editor(s)Robin Murphy & Rob Honey , The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning, Wiley & Sons, 2016, pp442 - 468, [Gillan, CM, Urcelay, GU & Robbins, TW] Book Chapter, 2016

Gillan CM & Sahakian BJ, What is the driver, obsessions or compulsions in OCD?, Neuropsychopharmacology, 40, (1), 2015, p247 - 248 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Gillan CM, Apergis-Schoute A, Morein-Zamir S, Urcelay GP, Sule A, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW, Functional neuroimaging of avoidance habits in OCD, American Journal of Psychiatry, 2015, p1 - 10 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Gillan CM, Otto AR, Phelps EA, Daw ND, Model-based learning protects against forming habits, Cognitive Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 15, (3), 2015, p523 - 536 Journal Article, 2015 DOI

Fineberg NA, Chamberlain SR, Goudriaan AE, Stein DJ, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Gillan CM, Shekar S, Gorwood PAPM, Voon V, Morein-Zamir S, Denys D, Sahakian BJ, Moeller GF, Robbins TW, Potenza MN, New Developments in Human Neurocognition: Clinical, Genetic and Brain Imaging Correlates of Impulsivity and Compulsivity, CNS Spectrums, 19, 2014, p69 - 89 Journal Article, 2014

Voon V, Derbyshire K, Rück C, Irvine MA, Worbe Y, Enander J, Schreiber LRN, Gillan CM, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW, Harrison NA, Wood J, Daw ND, Dayan P Grant JE, Bullmore ET, Disorders of compulsivity: a common bias towards learning habits, Molecular Psychiatry, 20, 2014, p345 - 352 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Gillan CM, Morein-Zamir S, Durieux, A, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW, Obsessive-compulsive disorder patients have a reduced sense of control on the illusion of control task, Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 2014, p204- Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Gillan CM & Robbins TW, Goal-directed learning and obsessive-compulsive disorder, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 5, (369), 2014, p1655- Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Gillan CM, Morein-Zamir S, Urcelay GP, Sule A, Voon V, Apergis-Schoute A, Fineberg NA, Sahakian BJ, Robbins TW, Enhanced avoidance habits in obsessive-compulsive disorder, Biological Psychiatry, 75, (8), 2014, p631 - 638 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Gillan CM, Morein-Zamir S, Kaser M, Fineberg NA, Sule A, Sahakian BJ, Cardinal R, Robbins TW, Counterfactual decision-making in obsessive-compulsive disorder: further evidence for impaired goal-directed control, Biological Psychiatry, 75, (8), 2014, p639 - 646 Journal Article, 2014 DOI

Morein-Zamir S, Papmeyer M, Gillan CM, Fineberg NA, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ, Punishment induces an impulsive response style in OCD: Evidence from a motivational go/no go task, Psychological Medicine, 43, (2), 2013, p391 - 400 Journal Article, 2013 DOI

Robbins TW, Gillan CM, Smith D, de Wit S, Ersche KD, Neurocognitive endophenotypes; a dimensional approach to psychiatry, Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, (1), 2012, p81 - 91 Journal Article, 2012 DOI

Gillan CM, Papmeyer M, Morein-Zamir S, Sahakian BJ, Fineberg NA, Robbins TW, de Wit S, Disrupted balance between goal-directed behavior versus habit learning in obsessive-compulsive disorder, American Journal of Psychiatry, 168, (7), 2011, p718 - 726 Journal Article, 2011 DOI

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

Sean Kelley, Aaron Jason Fisher, Chi Tak Lee, Eoghan Gallagher, Anna K Hanlon, Ian Robertson, Claire Gillan, Elevated Emotion Network Connectivity Leaves People Vulnerable to Fluctuations in Depression, biorxiv, 2022 Journal Article, 2022 DOI

Research Expertise


The goal of my research is to understand the fundamental brain processes that leave people vulnerable to mental health problems. A core aspect of my research concerns understanding of how habits are formed and overcome using a combination of electroencephalography and computational modelling, which is the topic of my 2020 ERC starting grant. This foundational work links to theories that I have developed on the role of the brain"s habit system in disorders of compulsion. This theory is now so widely recognised that it features in our undergraduate psychology textbooks. I have developed several new methods for scaling up research in an emerging field of computational psychiatry. For example, I developed `computational factor modelling", a novel method to validate dimensions of mental health problems in large unselected samples. This technique has since been used in >20 papers by international groups and is the topic of numerous collaborations (including KCL, Princeton and UCL). I am a leader in smartphone science, having built the Neureka App that engages over 18,000 registered users as citizen scientists and is now being used by 5 external research teams (UCL, University of Minnesota, Oxford, Chile and Mt Sinai). I have pioneered novel methods for studying how mood states evolve and interact dynamically over time using natural language processing of social media data and have developed a new method to conduct large scale precision CBT studies. I have won several major awards for my research contributions, including Science Foundation Ireland"s Early Career Researcher of the Year (2022) and the Early Career Award from the Society for Neuroeconomics (2022). I have gained >3 million in funding for my research. I review, interview and consult for major funding panels (e.g. ERC, Wellcome, NIMH) a have been invited to give 4 plenaries at international conferences in the past year alone.


  • Title
    • The DETECT project Developing a global infrastructure for digital brain health research at GBHI
  • Funding Agency
    • Global Brain Health Institute
  • Date From
    • 01/2018
  • Date To
    • 01/2020
  • Title
    • A computational approach to identifying trans-diagnostic predictors of antidepressant response
  • Summary
    • Many patients with depression do not respond to their first drug treatment; it often takes several attempts before something works. This lack of precision means that patients suffer through months of ineffective treatment before getting any relief. I aim to improve matters by developing a tool that can be used to estimate a person's likelihood of benefitting from a range of treatments, based on a set of clinical, demographic and cognitive data, which are designed to be feasible to collect in a clinical setting. In order to develop this algorithm, using a technique called machine learning, we need lots of data. Specifically, we need to collect data from hundreds of individuals who are starting out on a new antidepressant treatment and follow their progress over several weeks. To achieve this, I will take this study out of the laboratory and into people's homes via the Internet. Once the algorithm has been trained using data collected online, we will test how well it performs in three local clinics. If successful, this project might one day revolutionise how we assign personalised treatments to individuals suffering from mental health problems.
  • Funding Agency
    • MQ
  • Date From
    • 2017
  • Date To
    • 2020
  • Title
    • A neurocomputational investigation of Pavlovian-instrumental interactions in avoidance
  • Funding Agency
    • Wellcome Trust
  • Date From
    • 2013
  • Date To
    • 2017


computational psychiatry; MACHINE LEARNING



Journal Peer Review for >30 Journals including PNAS, American Journal of Psychiatry, Nature Human Behaviour, Current Biology, Biological Psychiatry, Science Advances, Nature Communications 2011

Editorial Board at eLife 2020-present

PhD Thesis Examination University of Copenhagen 2022

PhD Thesis Examination, Ecole Normale Superiore 2021

PhD Thesis Examination KU Leuven 2022

PhD Thesis Examination University College London 2023

PhD Thesis Examination Oxford University 2023

Editorial Board: Brain and Neuroscience Advances (journal) 2018-present

Grant review panel for Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) German Research Foundation 2023

Editorial Board: Computational Psychiatry 2021-present

Advisory Panel for Alzheimer's Research UK: Think Brain Health Campaign 2021-present

NIH roundtable on computational psychiatry, Panellist 2022

Interview Panel for Wellcome Trust Mental Health Award: Looking Backwards, Moving Forwards 2022

Scientific Advisory Board for Plato Science 2022-present

Scientific Advisory Board for the Wellcome Trust Mental Health Priority Area 2020-present

Scientific Advisory Board: It Get's Brighter (UK mental health charity) 2017-present

NIMH Computational Psychiatry Working Group. NIMH, Bethesda, USA. 2017

International computational psychiatry consensus statement working group. Banbury Meeting, Cold Spring Harbour, USA. 2019

Grant Review: National Institute of Mental Health (NIIMH), R21 scheme 2020

Grant Review: Medical Research Council (MRC), UK 2018

Grant Review: European Research Council (ERC), Consolidator scheme 2019

Grant Review: Marie Curie 2016

Grant Review: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 2019

Masters thesis supervisor for ENS Paris MA programme 2019-2020

Awards and Honours

Early Career Award from the Society for Neuroeconomics 2022

Ziskind-Somerfeld Research Award for Outstanding Research Investigations in Biological Psychiatry, Honorable Mention 2015

Junior Investigator Award, British Association for Psychopharmacology 2015

Postdoc Travel Award, British Association for Psychopharmacology 2015

UK Science & Innovation Network Travel Grant 2014

InSRI Annual Meeting Poster Award 2014

Guarantors of Brain Travel Award 2013

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship 2013

Isaac Newton Trust Public Engagement Grant 2013

Medical Research Council Centenary Postdoctoral Fellowship 2012

Oon Khye Beng Chʹhia Tsio Studentship Award 2011

Downing College Academic Travel Award 2011

Oon Khye Beng Chʹhia Tsio Studentship Award 2010

Medical Research Council PhD Studentship 2009

Cambridge European Trust Studentship (declined) 2009

Hodson Endowment Award 2006

University College Dublin, Entrance Scholarship 2006

Top 30 Thinkers Under 30 (Pacific Standard) 2014


Society for Neuroeconomics Present – 2020

Neuroscience Ireland 2021 – Present

British Association for Psychopharmacology Present – 2013

Society of Biological Psychiatry Present – 2015