Student Spotlight: PhD candidate Caoimhe Moran

PhD candidate Caoimhe Moran's psychology studies have led her on an adventure around the world.

Originally from Ireland, Caoimhe Moran is a keen traveller whose studies have taken her from a Bachelor of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Padova, Italy, to Maastricht University in the Netherlands for her master’s degree, before moving to Melbourne to complete a PhD in psychology while also experiencing a brand new culture.

Caoimhe’s undergraduate degree covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from social psychological theories to the role of neurotransmitters in the brain, but it was her interest in neuroscience that motivated her to pursue a Master of Cognitive Neuroscience. Learning that the brain can predict and process events before they happen spurred a passion for neuroscientific research, leading to her PhD studies on how the brain predicts the sensory consequences of our body movements using electroencephalography (a method used to record the electrical activity in the brain). Caoimhe’s research in the visual and tactile domains examines whether the brain processes some sensations before they happen, by predicting what the sensation will most likely be, thus allowing us to reduce surprising events.

Caoimhe credits her PhD course as being the source of lifelong friendships and unforgettable experiences, from simple activities like coffee catch-ups to adventures on the Great Ocean Road. Learning how to code has also been a considerable achievement – having started as a complete beginner, she is now able to code confidently with a goal in mind, like finishing an analysis or creating an experimental task. Caoimhe’s advice to prospective students is to consider all factors when choosing a PhD program: the place you’re in and the people you’re working with are just as important, if not more so, than the topic of research.

Continuing her travel adventures, Caoimhe will soon be heading to Jerusalem as part of her joint PhD program with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is excited to join a new lab and experience a different way of researching and learning, and is looking forward to experiencing the vibrancy, history and cuisine of Jerusalem.

Outside of university, Caoimhe is an active person who loves yoga, running, going to the gym and playing team sports. Joining a touch rugby team in Melbourne has been a highlight of her stay. She enjoys getting out into nature, particularly swimming – she finds that nothing is as refreshing as taking a dip in the sea on a cold day. When she’s not outdoors, Caoimhe enjoys reading fiction and cooking with friends.

A group of young people wearing hiking gear and backpacks make fun poses on a trail.