Dr Isabelle Killane

Trinity Centre for Bioengineering,
Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College Dublin, 152-160 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Department of Medicine,
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Education and Research Unit, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9.

Email: killani@tcd.ie
Tel: +353-1-8964214


Biographical Information

My research focus is neural engineering and rehabilitation with an emphasis on experimental and statistical models that examine predictors of disease states or events in order to improve function. My principal research interest is the exploration of locomotion as a window to understand and improve cognitive function in older adults and individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). During my PhD, I investigated kinematic predictors of conversion to mild cognitive impairment in older adults employing the TILDA dataset. Subsequent to this, as a postdoctoral researcher with the FP7 European funded VERVE consortium (tcd, DFKI) I examined the efficacy of a dual motor-cognitive intervention in individuals with Parkinson’s Disease who experience freezing of gait. I also find the complexity of disease (effect of personal characteristics, comorbidities) fascinating and have gained tremendous expertise on this which I am currently exploring in other populations (regression and survival models in uncontrolled asthma cohorts) as part of a clinical trial employing connected health to assess inhaler adherence (INCA, Industry Collaborators). I have been involved with the INCA project since 2007 and I am a patent co-inventor (EU 13766910.7 – 1662 PCT/EP2013067932, US 14/424,964). Previous to this I worked as a validation engineer in the medical device and pharmaceutical industry.

My future research plans are to build on the foundations of my postdoctoral and PhD research to further develop new engineering methods, statistical models, experimental tools and develop interventions in conjunction with clinical and industry partners, in particular gaining funding with those across the European Union and with budding collaborations that I have formed in Britain, Australia and the United States. In particular, I have gained expertise and interest in the collection and interpretation of gait data through biomedical sensors (pressure-sensing mats, 3-D motion analysis, balance boards) and neurological data through experimentation and neuropsychological assessment test, with some experience of other methods (EEG, fNIRS). In addition, I hope to gain funding to develop a brain-training intervention for older adults with COPD. I am involved with several student projects (see webpage and publications below also): Risk factors for hospital re-admission in COPD, Links between gait and cognitive function in the TILDA dataset (cross sectional and longitudinal), ExerGaming as a tool for improving cognitive reserve in Parkinson’s Disease.

I am a member of the gait and cognitive research groups in The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA) and have worked in collaboration with the Dublin Neurological Institute, Mater Hospital, Dublin. I am a member of the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Postdoctoral Committee and involved with organising a series of public engagement seminar sessions with The Science Gallery. I have been involved with research into and commercialisation of connected health solutions for healthcare in one form or another since my time at University College Dublin from 2007. I have been involved with writing, administration or project management of several funding proposals: H2020 (http://independence-asd.eu), FP7 (http://www.welcome-project.eu/home.aspx), (http://verveconsortium.eu/) and Enterprise Ireland (eBIOTECH).

I hold a PhD in neural engineering (“Development of Neural Engineering Methods for the Objective Assessment of Cognitive Processing based on Gait Data: An Analysis of a Truly Nationally Representative Cohort of Older Adults” ), an MSc in Bioengineering, a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics and a BA, BAI in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. During my PhD I completed the M.Sc in Neuroscience Neural Engineering and Neural Imaging courses and the M.Sc in Bioengineering Neural Engineering course.

Research Interests

  • Statistical Models that examine Predictors of Exacerbation and Clinical Improvement in Asthma Patients.
  • Self-Motion and Cognitive Function in Aging Populations (links between measures of gait and cognition, specifically executive function, division of attention, dual task changes).
  • Effect of Age and Cognitive Decline on Variability of Gait (higher control of gait, internal rhythmicity of locomotor system)
  • Self-Motion, Cognitive Function and Sensory Processing in Parkinsons Disease, in particular in Freezing of Gait
  • Ambulatory Gait and EEG Analysis

Publications in International Reviewed Journals

  • Maguire F, Killane I, Creagh A, Donoghue OA, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Baseline Association of Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome with Sustained Attention, Memory and Global Cognition. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Sep 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.jamda.2017.07.016.
  • Sulaiman I, Seheult J, Sadasivuni N., MacHale E, Killane I, Giannoutsos S., Cushen B, Matshediso M, Breathnach A, Boland F., Reilly RB. The Impact of Common Inhaler Errors on Drug Delivery: Investigating Critical Errors with a Dry Powder Inhaler. , Costello RC. Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery · March 2017. DOI: 10.1089/jamp.2016.1334
  • *Butler, J.S., *Fearon, C., Killane, I., Waechter, S.M., Reilly, R.B., Lynch, T. Motor Preparation Rather Than Decision-Making Differentiates Parkinson’s Disease Patients With And Without Freezing of Gait, Clinical Neurophysiology (2016), doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2016.12.019.         *J. S. Butler and C. Fearon contributed equally to the paper.
  • Sulaiman I, Seheult J, MacHale E, Boland F., O'Dwyer SM, Rapcan V, D'Arcy S, Cushen B, Matshediso M, Killane I, Ryder SA, Reilly RB, Costello RC.  A Method to Calculate Adherence to Inhaled Therapy That Reflects the Changes in Clinical Features of Asthma. Ann Am Thorac Soc, 2016.
  • Killane I, Sulaiman I, Mac Hale E, Breathnach A, Taylor T, Holmes M, Reilly RB, Costello RW. Predicting asthma exacerbations employing remotely monitored adherence. Healthc Technol Lett. 2016 Mar 23;3(1):51-5. doi: 10.1049/htl.2015.0058
  • Sulaiman I, Mac Hale E, Holmes M, Hughes C, D’Arcy S, Taylor T, Rapcan V, Doyle F, Breathnach A, Seheult J, Murphy D, Hunt E, Lane S J, Sahadevan A, Crispino G, Diette G, Killane I , Reilly RB, Costello RW. A protocol for a randomised clinical trial of the effect of providing feedback on inhaler technique and adherence from an electronic device in patients with poorly controlled severe asthma . BMJ Open. 2016;6.
  • Sulaiman I, Seheult J, Killane I , MacHale E, Reilly RB, Costello RW. A new clinically relevant method of calculating adherence. Eur Respir J. 2015;46.
  • *Killane I ,*Feron C, Newman L, McDonnell C, Waechter S, Sons K, Lynch T, Reilly RB. Dual Motor-Cognitive Virtual Reality Training Impacts Dual-Task Performance in Freezing of Gait. IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics. 2015;JBHI-00251-2015. *I.Killane and C.Fearon contributed equally to the paper.
  • Killane I , Donoghue OA, Savva GM, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Relative Association of Processing Speed, Short-Term Memory and Sustained Attention With Task on Gait Speed: A Study of Community-Dwelling People 50 Years and Older . The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. 2014. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glu140
  • D'Arcy S ,MacHale E, Seheult J, Holmes MS, Hughes C, Sulaiman I, Hyland D, O'Reilly C, Glynn S, Al-Zaabi T, McCourt J, Taylor T, Keane F, Killane I, Reilly RB, Costello RC, A Method to Assess Adherence in Inhaler Use through Analysis of Acoustic Recordings of Inhaler Events. PLoS ONE, 2014. 9(6): p. e98701.

Proceedings Papers for International Conferences

  • Maguire, F., Killane, I., Creagh, A., Donoghue, O,  Kenny, RA, Reilly, RB. Movers and Shakers: Motor Measures of Cognition. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, London. April 2017
  • Sulaiman I, Mokoka MC, MacHale E, Seheult J, Hughes C, Holmes M, D’arcy S, Taylor T, Rapcan V, Murphy D, Hunt E, Lane SJ, Sahadevan A, Crispino G, Diette GB, Sartini-Bhreathnach A, Cushen B, Killane I, Reilly RB, Costello RW. Service design and delivery: P208 Behavioural feed-back education intervention to enhance adherence in patients with severe uncontrolled asthma, a randomised clinical trial. Dec 2016. Thorax
  • T. Munteanu, E.J. Baird, C. Fearon, S.M. Waechter, C. McDonnell, J. Gallego, B. Quinlivan, I. Killane, J.S. Butler, T. Lynch, R.B. Reilly. Freezing of gait (FOG) in PD: Is electroencephalography (EEG) a gateway to elucidating the pathophysiology? 20th International Congress on Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders (MDS) Berlin, Germany, 19-23 June 2016.
  • Sulaiman I, Mac Hale E, Seheult J, D'Arcy S, Rapcan V,  Cushen B, Matshediso M, Killane I,  Franciosi A, Sahadevan A, Keane M, Keane J, Lane S, Murphy D, Reilly RB, Costello RC. Feedback on Adherence and Inhaler Technique Using the INCA Device: A Randomised Control Trial in Severe Asthma. American Thoracic Society (TS) Conference 2016: A50. Asthma: Observational Studies
  • Killane I, Fearon C, McDonnell C, Sons K, Reilly RB.  Assessing Variances After A Freezing of Gait Intervention: A Dual Motor-Cognitive Task in a Virtual Environment Joint World Congress of ISPGR (International Society of Posture and Gait Research) and Gait & Mental Function (GMF) Seville, Spain, 2015. 
  • Waechter S, McDonnell C, Fearon C, Gallego J, Quinlivan B, Killane I, Butler J,  Lynch T, Reilly RB The Impact of Dual Tasking on Cognitive Performance in a Parkinson’s Disease Cohort with and without Freezing of Gait: An EEG and Behavioral Based Approach. March 2015. IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering (FrCT4.13)
  • Sheehan KJ, Killane I, Gormley J, Kenny RA, Foran T. The influence of the content of speech production and perception on gait variability. ISPGR GMF, Vancouver, Canada, 2014.
  • Killane I, Cosgrave N, McDevitt N, , Foran T, Sheehan KJ, Gormley J, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Comparison of Standard and Poincare Measures of Stride Time Variability.  ISPGR GMF, Vancouver, Canada, 2014.
  • Killane I , Donoghue O, Savva G, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Contributions of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) to Dual Task Gait Performance. ISPGR GMF, Vancouver, Canada 2014
  • Killane I,Donoghue O, Savva G, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Variance Between Walking Speed and Neuropsychological Test Scores During Three Gait Tasks Across The Irish Longitudinal Study On Aging (TILDA). Proceedings of the 35th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (IEEE EMBC’13), Osaka, Japan. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:6921-4. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6611149.
  • Killane I, Gallego J, Browett G, Reilly RB. Measurement of Attention During Movement: Acquisition of Ambulatory EEG and Cognitive Performance from healthy Young Adults. IEEE EMBC’13, Osaka, Japan. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2013;2013:6397-400. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2013.6611018.
  • Killane I, Donoghue O, Savva G, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Association Between Gait Variability and Sustained Attention in a Community Dwelling Nationally Representative Population Sample. ISPGR GMF, Akita, Japan 2013.
  • Killane I , Donoghue O, Savva G, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Exploring Correlations between Walking Speed and Cognitive Function using Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) subscores from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). British Geriatrics Society (BGS) Autumn Scientific Meeting, Harrogate, Yorkshire, England 2012.
  • Killane I, Brennan C, Savva G, Donoghue O, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Comparisons between Simple and Complex Gait Tasks across different Executive Function Groups and Tertiles – Cross Sectional Data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging (TILDA). ISPGR GMF, Trondheim, Norway 2012.
  • Killane I, Browett G, Reilly RB. Measuring Neural Responses During Mild Exercise. International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (iCAMPAM), Glasgow, Scotland 2011 (Shortlisted for Best Student Poster)
  • Whelan R, Longergan R, Killane I , Reilly RB, Hutchinson M, Tubridy N. Cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis correlates highly with a delayed P3 component in even related potential testing. World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis: Joint meeting of ACTRIMS, ECTRIMS and LACTRIMS (the Americas, European and Latin America Committee on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis), Montreal 2008.

Presentations at National Conferences

  • Bennett, G., Cushen, B., Killane, I., Maguire, F., Costello, RW, Reilly, RB, “Investigating gait and cognition in elderly COPD patients hospitalised with an acute exacerbation", Irish Gerontology Society. Age Ageing (2016) 45 (suppl_2): ii13-ii56. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw159.120. (Awarded Medal for Best in Section)
  • Creagh, A., Killane, I., Maguire, F., Donoghue, O,  Kenny, RA, Reilly, RB, “Examining the links between domains of gait and cognitive decline: a factor analysis approach", Irish Gerontology Society. Age Ageing (2016) 45 (suppl_2): ii13-ii56. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw159.
  • Maguire, F., Killane, I., Creagh, A., Donoghue, O,  Kenny, RA, Reilly, RB, “Characterisation of Motoric Cognitive Risk Syndrome from a Nationally Representative Sample", Irish Gerontology Society. Age and Ageing 45(Supplement 2):ii1-ii12 · September 2016. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afw159.33 
  • Maguire, F., Killane, I., Reilly, RB, “Gait, Cognition and Associated Risk Factors: Insights from Share and TILDA”, Proceedings of BioEngineering in Ireland, 2016.
  • Bennett, G., Killane, I., Cushen, B., Reilly, RB, “Risk Factors for Hospital Re-Admissions in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease", Proceedings of BioEngineering in Ireland, 2016.
  • Killane I, Donoghue O, Cronin H, Kenny RA, Reilly RB. Can meaning be found behind mean temporal gait parameters in an older Irish population sample? Correlations between stride time variability and attention.Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Bini19), Meath, Ireland 2013.
  • Killane I, Browett G, Reilly RB. Measuring Neural Responses During Sitting, Cycling and Walking. Bini17, Galway, Ireland 2011.
  • Killane I, Browett G, Reilly RB. Gait and Cognition. Bioengineering Christmas Symposium 2010. (Best Poster Presentation Winner)
  • Whelan R, Longergan R, Killane I, Reilly RB, Hutchinson M, Tubridy N. A delayed P3 event-related potential component correlates highly with cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis. Neuroscience Ireland 2008.


  • Health Research Board Investigator Led Project Scheme 2017:

€366,478. Co-applicant (July 2017), ILP-HSR-2017-005: "The relationship of medication adherence and environmental factors to exacerbations in patients with severe asthma"

  • Trinity Grant Award 2014, 2013, 2012.

This travel award, which allowed Isabelle to travel to Canada (2014) to attend the Joint Conference of the International Society of Posture and Gait Research and Gait and Mental Function (ISPGR/GMF), to Japan (2013) to attend two conferences: ISPGR/GMF and IEEE EMBC and Norway (2012) to attend ISPGR/GMF, was only made possible by the generosity of previous generations of graduates contributing to two sources of funding, the Graduate Studies Research Travel Fund and the Trinity Trust.

  • Student Travel Grant 2012
    This travel grant allowed Isabelle to attend the Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Section of Bioengineering of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland (Bini19).
  • Postgraduate Research Studentship Award 2012
    Awarded by the Graduate Studies Office and Engineering Department, Trinity College Dublin. The selection of nominees from this award is based on academic merit. Awards are made to students who have demonstrated excellent academic abilities (with an emphasis on achievement during their postgraduate studies). Receipts of this award have their annual fees covered, along with receiving an annual maintenance grant of €8,000.
  • Best Poster Presentation Winner:
    • Best Poster in Section, Irish Gerontology Society Scientific Meeting, Kerry, Ireland (2016): "Risk Factors for Hospital Re-Admissions in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease" (Authors: Bennett, Cushen, Killane, Costello, Reilly).
    • Shortlisted for Best Student Poster at International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (iCAMPAM), Glasgow, Scotland 2011: “Measuring Neural Responses During Mild Exercise” (Authors: I. Killane, G.Browett, R.Reilly)
    • Best poster, Trinity Centre for Bioengineering (TCBE) Christmas Symposium 2010, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland: “Gait and Cognition” (Authors: I. Killane, G. Browett, R.B. Reilly).

Reviewer for the following journals

  • Journal of Gerontology: Series A (Medical Sciences).
  • Journal of American Geriatrics Society.
  • Brain Topography.
  • Experimental Gerontology.
  • BMJ Open
  • Gait & Posture
  • Sensors