Not a sunny day, but Trinity College is always inviting. Proud of my group of rising clinicians and scientists.


A major focus in my lab is the investigation of the functional brain organization that supports human cognition and consciousness, and how this organization breaks down in the disordered brain. My work combines psychological theory, neuroimaging, and research of brain-injured and anesthesized patients, and translates this knowledge to develop clinically applicable neuroimaging measures. Additionally, my work explores the medico-ethical and societal implications of such applications, to build ethical guidelines for their clinical use.

A second focus is the investigation of early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease by combining neuroimaging, clinical, neuropsychological and physiological assessments. In the face of a global dementia pandemic, it is extremely important to understand the nature of the earliest cognitive/functional changes, as well as their biological basis. This can lead to better diagnoses, potential targets for treatment, and better understanding of the disease itself. We carry out this work in collaboration with the PREVENT UK project.

Curriculum Vitae

Trinity College Dublin launches a new initiative in NeuroHumanities, aiming to stimulate public engagement and generate exciting research at the inter-disciplinary boundary between humanities and brain sciences.


Our new paper in Scientific Reports ( was covered in the Déise Today | WLR radio show, Silicon Republic, and Irish Daily Mail, among other media (December 2018).

Dr. Naci’s work is featured on Wikipedia by the Permanent Canadian Mission to UNESCO, as part of their wider efforts to promote the visibility of outstanding women scientists. Of nearly six million English articles on Wikipedia, fewer than 20% of profiles are about women (July 2018).

Dr. Naci and colleagues were awarded the Global Brain Health Institute Project Grant to change the dementia narratives and associated stigma through art and creative processes (June 2018).

Dr. Naci speaks with Bob McDonald of Canada’s Quirks and Quarks about using narratives to understand human conscious experience in non-responsive patients thought to unconscious, whether in a vegetative state, a coma, or those waking up under general anesthesia during surgery, and parallels of my work to storytelling rituals in remote Filipino hunter-gather societies (December 2017).

Dr. Naci was awarded Trinity College Provost’s Scholarship Grant and will be hiring a new PhD student for a 4-year project, starting from September 2018.

Dr. Naci was awarded the Global Brain Health Institute Project Grant to develop early biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in midlife, asymptomatic individuals at high-risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

Our paper on using neuroscience to prevent accidental awareness in anesthesia was covered on the front page the National Post of Canada (November 2017), and several radio shows, including the Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver – November 14, 2017; ‘Canada Now’ on SiriusXM Canada Talks – November 14, 2017; Western News – November 30, 2017:

Dr. Naci’s research features in Canada’s Globe and Mail (July 2017).

Dr. Naci’s work is featured on the yearly newsletter of the School of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin (June 2017).

Dr. Naci speaks about the science of consciousness with Quebec’s Curium Magazine (June 2017)

Dr. Naci speaks about consciousness and encouraging young girls to pursue science careers with Marie Clare magazine (May 2017).

Read Dr. Naci’s interview with (March 2017)

Dr. Naci will receive the L’Oréal-Unesco for Women in Science International Rising Talents award in Paris, France, on March 23rd. View CTV’s interview (March 2017).

Listen to Dr. Naci’s interview on the BBC’s Radio 4 (March 2017).

Dr. Naci’s research is the leading feature on Canada Excellence Research Chairs‘ bulletin (Feb 2017).

Listen to Dr. Naci’s interview with the BBC World Service Witness Program on Albania’s ’97 pyramid schemes collapse and ensuing civil war (Jan 2017).

Dr. Naci will move to an Assistant Professor position at the Trinity College Dublin, Global Brain Health Institute, and School of Psychology from May 2017.

Dr. Naci was awarded the L’Oréal Canada for Women in Science Research Excellence Fellowship, with the support of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, in Ottawa, Canada (Nov 2016). Read more.

Dr. Naci speaks with Neurology Today (October 2016) on the replication crisis in neuroimaging research. Read more here. Read more.

Peer-reviewed Publications

* = Corresponding/Senior


Tung J, Peterson A, Mackenzie G, Naci L, Speechley K, Weijer C. Towards the Assessment of Quality of Life in Patients with Disorders of Consciousness. Quality of Life Research. Submitted.

Luppi AI, Craig MM, Pappas I, Finoia P, Williams GB, Allanson J, Pickard JD, Owen AM, Naci L, Menon DK, Stamatakis EA. Consciousness-specific interactions of neural complexity and integration – a spatial and temporal perspective. Submitted.


Graham M, Wallace E, Doherty C, McCann A, Naci L* (2019) Awareness to Prognosis: Ethical Implications of Assessing Covert Consciousness After Severe Brain Injury. Neuroethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. In Press

Accompanied by independent commentary by James L. Barnat (2019). “Further Considerations in Using Functional Neuroimaging in Patients with Disorders of Consciousness” Neuroethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. In Press



Irwin K, Sexton C, Daniel T, Lawlor B, Naci L*. (2018) Healthy Aging and Dementia: Two Roads Diverging in Midlife? Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. Read

Naci L*, Haugg A., MacDonald A., Anello M., Houldin E., Naqshbandi S., Gonzalez-Lara LE., Arango M., Harle C., Cusack R., Owen AM. (2018) Functional diversity of brain networks supports consciousness and verbal intelligence. Scientific Reports 8, Article No. 13259 Read

Graham, M., Doherty C. P., Naci, L.* (2018) Using neuroimaging to detect covert awareness and determine prognosis of comatose patients: informing surrogate decision-makers of individual patient results. Seminars in Neurology.38(5):555-560.Download

Haugg A., Cusack R., Gonzales-Lara L., Sorger B., Owen A.M., Naci L* (2018) Do patients thought to lack consciousness retain the capacity for internal as well external awareness? Frontiers in Neurology. 9: 492. Download

Graham, M., Owen, A. M., Weijer, C. Naci, L.* (2018)Using neuroimaging to detect covert awareness in the severely brain-injured and patients who become accidentally aware under general anesthesia. Frontiers in Bioscience 10:337-349Download


Graham, M., Owen, A. M., Cipi, K. Weijer, C. Naci, L.* (2017) Minimizing the harm of accidental awareness under general anesthesia. Lessons from patients misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state. Sep 14. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000002495. Anesthesia and Analgesia. [Epub ahead of print] Download

Naci, L*, Sinai, L, Owen, A. M. (2017) Detecting and interpreting conscious experiences in behaviorally non-responsive patients. NeuroImage. 145(Pt B):304-313. Download.

Sinai L., Owen AM, Naci L*. (2017) Mapping preserved real-world cognition in brain-injured patients. Frontiers in Bioscience. 22:815-823.  Download

Abdalmalak A., Milej D., Diop M., Shokouhi M., Naci L., Owen A.M., Lawrence K. St.(2017) Can time-resolved NIRS provide the sensitivity to detect brain activity during motor imagery consistently? Biomedical Optics Express. Vol. 8, Issue 4, pp. 2162-2172.

Gibson, R. M., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci. L., Owen, A. M, Cruse, D. (2017) Reply to “Is command following unrelated to top-down attention in consciousness disorders?” Annals of Neurology. 81(1):160-161.


Naci, L*, Graham*, M, Owen, A. M. Weijer, C. (2016) Covert narrative capacity: A cross-section of the preserved mental life in patients thought to lack consciousness. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 1:61–70. * These authors contributed equally. Selected for written and audio review is Practical Reviews in Neurology. Download

Gibson, R. M., Chennu, S., Fernández-Espejo, D., Naci. L., Owen, A. M, Cruse, D. (2016) Somatosensory attention identifies both overt and covert awareness in disorders of consciousness. Annals of Neurology. 80(3):412-23.

Owen, A. M., Naci, L. (2016) Decoding thoughts in behaviourally non-responsive patients. In Sinnott-Armstrong (Ed). Finding Consciousness. Oxford University Press.


Peterson, A., Cruse, D., Naci, L., Weijer, L., Owen, M. A. (2015) Risk, Diagnostic Error, and The Clinical Science of Consciousness. NeuroImage: Clinical. 7: 588–597Download

Naci, L*, Taylor, K. I., Cusack, I., Tyler, L. K. (2015) Are the senses enough for sense? Early high-level feedback shapes our comprehension of multisensory objects. In S. Zhuanghua and H. J. Müller (Eds.) Multisensory perception and action: psychophysics, neural mechanisms, and applications. eBook. Frontiers Research Topics.

Graham, M., Weijer, C., Cruse, D.,Fernandez-Espejo, D., Gofton, T., Gonzalez-Lara, L., Lazosky, A., Naci, L., Norton, L., Peterson, A., Speechley, N. K., Young,B.,, Owen, M. A. (2015) An Ethics of Welfare for Behaviourally Non-responsive Patients with Covert Awareness. AJOB Neuroscience. 6(2), 31–41.

MacDonald, A., Naci, L., MacDonald, P., Owen, A. M. (2015) Anesthesia and neuroimaging: Investigating the neural correlates of unconsciousness. TICS. 19(2): 100–107Download


Naci, L*, Cusack, R., Anello, M., Owen, A. M. A common neural code for similar conscious experiences in different individuals. (2014) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2014;111(39):14277–82DownloadFeatured on MacleansScience, and Nature.

Owen, A. M., Naci, L* Decoding thoughts in disorders of consciousness. In M. Monti and W. G. Sannita (Eds.) Brain Function and Responsiveness in Severe Disorders of Consciousness. Springer. In Press.

Peterson, A., Norton, L., Naci, L., Owen, A. M., Weijer, C. (2014) Toward a Science of Brain Death. Am J Bioeth. 14(8):29-31. Download

Weijer, C., Peterson, P., Webster, F., Graham, M., Cruse, D., Fernández-Espejo, D., Gofton, T., Gonzalez-Lara, L. E., Lazosky, A., Naci, L., Norton, L., Speechley, K., Young B., Owen, A. M. (2014) Ethics of neuroimaging after serious brain injury. BMC Medical Ethics 15, 41. Download

Graham, M., Weijer, C., Peterson, A., Naci, L., Cruse, C., Fernández-Espejo, E., Owen, A. O. (2014) Acknowledging awareness: informing families of individual research results for patients in the vegetative state. J Med Ethics. Published Online First: [please include 30/07/2014] doi:10.1136/medethics-2014-102078. Download


Naci, L*, Owen, A. M. Making every word count for vegetative patients. (2013) JAMA Neurology. 70(10), 1235-41. Download or Read it for free at the Journal of the American Medical Association. INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE. Named one of Best 51 Discoveries at Western University Since 1878.

Guger, C., Noirhomme, Q., Naci, L., Real, R., Lugo, Z., Veser, S., Sorger, B., Quitadamo, L., Lesenfants, D., Risetti, M., Formisano, R., Toppi, J., Astolfi, L., Emmerling, T., Erlbeck, H., Monti, M. M., Kotchoubey, B., Bianchi, L., Mattia, D., Goebel, R., Owen, A. M., Pellas, F., Müller-Putz, G., Kübler, A.  Brain-computer interfaces for coma assessment and communication. Emerging Theory and Practice in Neuroprosthetics; ed. Ganesh R Naik, IGIGLOBAL Press 2013.

Naci, L*, Cusack, R., Jia, Z., V., Owen, M. A. (2013) The brain’s silent messenger – using selective attention to decode human thought for brain-based communication. J Neurosci 33(22), 9385–9393. Download. Featured on PSYCHOLOGY PROGRESS.

Peterson, A., Naci, L., Weijer, C., Owen A. M. (2013) A principled argument, but not a practical one. AJOB Neuroscience 4(1), 52–53. Download

Peterson, A., Naci, L., Cruse, C., Fernández-Espejo, E., Graham, M., Weijer, C., Owen, A. O. (2013) Assessing decision making capacity in the disorder of consciousness patient. AJOB Neuroscience 4(4), 3-14. Download


Naci, L*, Monti, M. M., Cruse, D., Sorger, B., Rainer, G., A., Kotchoubey, B., Kubler. A,  Owen, A. M. (2012) Brain-computer interfaces for communication with non-responsive patients. Ann Neurol 2012; 72(3), 312–23.  Download

Naci, L*, Cusack, R., Taylor, K., Tyler, L. K. (2012) Are the senses enough for sense? Recurrent high-level feedback shapes our comprehension of multisensory objects. Front Integr Neurosci  Download

Cusack, R., Veldsman, M., Naci, L., Mitchell, D. J., Linke, A. (2012) Seeing different objects in different ways: measuring ventral visual tuning to sensory and semantic features with dynamically adaptive imaging. Hum Brain Mapp 33(2), 387–97. Download


Covington, M., He, C., Brown, C., NaciL., Brown, J. How complex is that sentence? A proposed revision of the Rosenberg and Abbeduto D-Level scale. Research Report, 2006. Artificial Intelligence Center, University of Georgia. Download

Covington, M., He, C., Brown, C., Naci, L., McClain, T., Fjordbak, B., Semple, J., Brown, J. Schizophrenia and the structure of language: The linguist’s view. Schizophrenia Research 2005; 77(1), 85–98.

Naci, L. Software to measure rambling, cognitive difficulty and degree expression in schizophrenic speech. Artificial Intelligence Center, University of Georgia. Download