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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

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, 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

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

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

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, 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

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

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

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

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

Gillan CM, Rutledge RB, Smartphones and the Neuroscience of Mental Health., Annual review of 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, 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

Seow TXF, Rouault M, Gillan CM, Fleming SM, How Local and Global Metacognition Shape Mental Health., Biological 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 URL DOI

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

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

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 DOI URL

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

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

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

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

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 DOI URL

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 DOI URL

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

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

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, 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

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

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

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 & 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, 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, 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

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 drive innovation in mental health science, developing models to understand how alterations in fundamental brain processes leave people vulnerable. We also work on translating basic insights into clinical applications, such as tools for treatment selection and early detection" this is not just to realise impact from our research, but because I believe one of the hardest tests of any basic theory of human behaviour is its successful translation in the real world. I have made a series of important discoveries that have advanced our understanding of how habits are formed and overcome. I have used this to build theories of how they relate to disorders of compulsion like OCD, which feature in our psychology undergraduate textbooks. I have developed several new methods for advancing research in computational psychiatry. For example, defining mental health problems dimensionally (rather than categorically) in terms of their underlying mechanisms using `computational factor modelling". I have built a smartphone app ( that is both a tool for research and public engagement (18,000 registered users), and have pioneered novel methods for studying how mood states evolve over time using natural language processing. I work with several mental health companies to translate the basic research insights into real clinical impact, including treatment selection tools (e.g. Silvercloud Health, Woebot). I have published in major international journals including in the past 3 years in Nature Communications, Biological Psychiatry and JAMA Psychiatry. I review, interview and consult for major funding panels (e.g. ERC, Wellcome, NIMH). I have won several awards including being named Science Foundation Ireland Early Career Researcher of the Year (2022). I have been invited to give 3 plenaries (e.g Society for Biological Psychiatry Conference, 2023) and collaborate with over a dozen international research groups (incl. Princeton, Harvard, UCL, Oxford).


  • 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



NIH roundtable on computational psychiatry, Panellist 2022

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

Journal Peer Review for Science Advances 2021

Scientific Advisory Board for Plato Science 2022

Advisory Board for the Wellcome Trust Mental Health Priority Area 2020

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

Editorial Board at eLife 2020

Editorial Board: Brain and Neuroscience Advances (journal) 2018

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

Journal Peer Review: American Journal of Psychiatry 2019

Journal Peer Review: Behavior, Research and Therapy 2018

Journal Peer Review: Behavioural Brain Research 2014

Journal Peer Review: Biological Psychiatry 2020

Journal Peer Review: British Journal of Psychiatry 2013

Journal Peer Review: Clinical Psychological Science 2013

Journal Peer Review: Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience 2015

Journal Peer Review: Cognition and Emotion 2014

Journal Peer Review: Current Biology 2016

Journal Peer Review: Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 2017

Journal Peer Review: Depression and Anxiety 2015

Journal Peer Review: eLife 2017

Journal Peer Review: European Journal of Neuroscience 2012

Journal Peer Review: Human Brain Mapping 2013

Journal Peer Review: JAMA psychiatry 2018

Journal Peer Reviewer: Journal of Behavioral Addictions 2012

Journal Peer Review: Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science 2013

Journal Peer Review: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 2017

Journal Peer Review: Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders 2015

Journal Peer Review: Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Practice 2013

Journal Peer Review: Molecular Psychiatry 2017

Journal Peer Review: Nature Human Behavior 2019

Journal Peer Review: Neuroimage: Clinical 2017

Journal Peer Review: Neuropsychopharmacology 2016

Journal Peer Review: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2014

Journal Peer Review: PLOS Biology 2019

Journal Peer Review: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 2013

Journal Peer Review: Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2015

Journal Peer Review for Psychiatry Research 2015

Journal Peer Review for Psychological Medicine 2019

Journal Peer Review for Psychological Science 2014

Journal Peer Review for Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2013

Journal Peer Review for Schizophrenia Research 2015

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