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School of Psychology
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Phone number: 01 700
Glasnevin Campus
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Academic biography

Dr. Catherine Fassbender, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Psychology in the School of Psychology, Dublin City University (DCU).

She received her BA in Psychology from University College Dublin in 1999. Within the Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin, under the supervision of Professor Hugh Garavan and Professor Ian Robertson she received a Graduate Diploma in Statistics in 2002 and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2005. Her graduate work, supported by a Government of Ireland Research Scholarship for the Humanities and Social Sciences, involved investigating cognitive control through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Dr. Fassbender subsequently moved to the University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, where, as a Post-Doctoral Research fellow, under the supervision of Professor Julie Schweitzer, she examined cognitive control in children and adolescents with ADHD. In 2007 Dr. Fassbender accepted a position at the University of California, Davis MIND Institute and Department of Psychiatry within the Medical School in Sacramento, California, USA where she completed her Post-Doctoral post. In 2008 she received a Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship in ADHD to continue her work in cognitive control and ADHD.

Dr. Fassbender became a member of the UC Davis MIND Institute faculty in 2012. She expanded her research interests to include the examination of cognitive impairments in other clinical disorders such as substance dependence at the UC Davis Imaging Research Center, under the supervision of Dr. Ruth Salo, as an Assistant Professional Researcher.  She received funding from the US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse to examine cognitive control processes in ADHD and substance abuse comorbidity and to examine risk for relapse in poly-substance abuse. She was also a co-investigator on a number of projects including those examining ADHD, development across adolescence through young adulthood, as well as adolescent substance use. She also received the Joe P. Tupin Research Award from the UC Davis Dept. Psychiatry in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in Psychiatry in 2016.

Dr. Fassbender joined the DCU School of Psychology in September 2019. She is the Module Co-Ordinator for PSYC516 Advanced Psychological Research Methods and PSYC515 Specialist Review in Psychology and Wellbeing within the MSc in Psychology and Wellbeing.

Dr. Fassbender's research interests include understanding the neural correlates of cognitive control processes in clinical disorders, examining cognition and reward processing following long-term substance abuse, determining neural risk factors for relapse from sobriety in substance users and examining the neural and behavioural risk factors for substance abuse in adolescents.  She conducts her research using behavioural, functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological methods. Her goal is to better understand the cognitive impairments in clinical disorders in order to inform targeted treatments. She is also interested in identifying patterns of brain and behaviour function that will inform the early identification of individuals vulnerable to substance dependence with the goal of prevention.