The NI Clinical Research Network (NICRN) undertakes Neurodegenerative research throughout Northern Ireland. The NICRN is part of a UK-wide initiative to provide opportunities for patients and clinicians to participate in high-quality clinical research.

The NICRN aims to:

  • promote Neurodegenerative research within Northern Ireland;
  • attract clinical trials in Neurodegenerative to Northern Ireland;
  • conduct clinical trials across Northern Ireland to the highest   standards of quality and safety;
  • provide infrastructure to facilitate the start-up of new trials in   Neurodegenerative medicine;
  • improve access for Neurodegenerative patients to new cutting-edge treatments.


Areas of interest include the following:

  • Commercial collaborations utilising emergent therapies.
  • Post operative Delirium and cognitive impairment
  • Mild cognitive impairment.
  • Inflammation and dementia
  • In depth cognitive assessment within NICOLA and association of cognitive health with the environment

Professor Bernadette McGuiness – QUB

Neurodegenerative – Clinical Lead

Donna Fitzsimons, RN, BSc, PhD, FESC

Professor Bernadette McGuinness trained in geriatric medicine and general internal medicine. During this time she graduated with an MD for work on neuropsychological changes in dementia. Prof. McGuinness was awarded the Paul Beeson Career Development Award in 2007. This afforded three further years of research into mild cognitive impairment and led to a PhD.

She currently works as Clinical Professor of Ageing within the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast and Consultant Geriatrician in the Belfast Trust. 

Dr McGuinness leads a memory service within the Belfast Trust. From a research perspective she is especially interested in Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, the role of inflammation and nutrition in neurodegeneration; she leads a portfolio of studies in these areas.

She is Clinical Lead of the Northern Ireland Cohort of Longitudinal Ageing (NICOLA) study and co-lead of NICRN Dementia.

Contact email:

Professor Peter Passmore

Neurodegenerative – Clinical Lead

Professor Peter Passmore is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. He trained in the N. Ireland scheme, graduated with MD in 1987 and spent a year as Senior Lecturer in University of Sydney, Australia. He was appointed Senior Lecturer at Queen’s in 1993 and became Professor of Ageing and Geriatric Medicine in 2007.

Professor Passmore has supervised a number of postgraduate and postdoctoral students and mentored colleagues through the academic pathway to formal academic appointment. He has been an invited speaker at several National and International conferences.

He was visiting Professor to the Australian and New Zealand Society of Geriatric Medicine in 2012. He is an Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador. He has over 260 peer-reviewed publications and has published several chapters on a variety of subjects related to cognition and dementia.

Grant funding includes Alzheimers Association, Wellcome, NIA, MRC, EU, BHF, Alzheimers Society and ARUK.

Professor Passmore has served on a number of grant awarding bodies including JPND, Stroke Association, Alzheimer’s Society and ARUK and has reviewed for Dutch and Singaporean National Societies. 

Professor Passmore has been involved in clinical trials since 1984, and since 1994 in the area of dementia.  He has been a co-lead and PI for NICRN Dementia since inception.

Contact email: