Jackie "of
all trades"




Sir Henry Wellcome Post-Doctoral Fellow
New York University and University of Cambridge
Department of Psychology

University of Cambridge
Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute
MRC Centenary Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2013

University of Cambridge
PhD in Psychology, 2012
PhD Supervisor, Dr. Trevor Robbins; Advisor, Dr. Barbara Sahakian

University College Dublin
BA in Psychology (First Class Honors), 2009



Recent Press:
Claire was awarded the 2015 BAP Junior Psychopharmacology Award for excellence in psychopharmacology research.

Claire penned this piece about how habits can shape beliefs for New Scientist's Big Ideas:
Why Can't I Stop? (see article)

Claire was listed as one of the top 30 thinkers under 30 in Pacific Standard Magazine (see article)


In January 2017, I will take up a post as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin

My research is funded by the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, and I currently work under the supervision of Professors Elizabeth Phelps and Nathaniel Daw here at NYU, and in collaboration with Professor Trevor Robbins at University of Cambridge. My work is focused on understanding the learning mechanisms and brain structures that support automaticity in human instrumental behavior. In particular, I am interested in how conditioned fear influences the extent to which humans are capable of selecting goal-directed actions, and conversely how individual differences in habit-learning can alter fear learning. I currently use functional magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral experiments and psychophysiology to address these questions. During this fellowship, I also aim to use computational modeling to investigate the role of basic reinforcement learning processes in psychiatry and normal fear conditioning. The ultimate goal of this basic work is to develop an evidence-based, dimensional, framework for understanding a range of psychiatric disorders which are characterized to varying degrees by maladaptive behavior and excessive fear expression.


Gillan, C.M. & Daw, N.D. (in press). Talking psychiatry research online. Neuron

Ersche, K.D., Gillan, C.M., Jones, P.S., Williams, G.B., Luitjen, M., de Wit, S., Ward, L.H.E., Sahakian, B.J., Bullmore, E.T. & Robbins TW (in press). Carrots and sticks fail to change behavior in cocaine addiction. Science.

Gillan, C. M., Kosinski, M., Whelan, R., Phelps, E. A. & Daw, N. D. (2016). Characterizing a psychiatric symptom dimension related to deficits in goal-directed control. eLife, 5:e11305. doi: 10.7554/eLife.11305 see article

Gillan, C. M., Robbins, T.W., Sahakian, B.J., van den Heuvel, O. & van Wingen, G. (2015) The role of habit in compulsivity. European Neuropsychopharmacology, doi:10.1016/j.euroneuro.2015.12.033 see article

Gillan, C. M., Otto, A. R., Phelps, E. A. & Daw, N. D. (2015). Model-based learrning protects against forming habits. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 15(3), 523-36. see article

Gillan, C. M., Sahakian, B. J. (2015). What is the driver, obsessions or compulsions in OCD? Neuropsychopharmacology, 40(1), 247-8. see article

Gillan, C. M., Apergis-Schoute, A., Morein-Zamir, S., Urcelay, G. P., Sule, A., Fineberg, N. A., Sahakian, B. J., Robbins, T. W. (2014). Functional neuroimaging of avoidance habits in OCD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(3), 284-93. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14040525. see article

Gillan, C. M., Robbins, T. W. (2014). Goal-directed learning and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 5(369), 1655. see article

Voon, V., Derbyshire, K., Ruck, C., Irvine, M. A., Worbe, Y., Enander, J., Schreiber, L. R. N., Gillan, C. M., Fineberg, N. A., Sahakian, B. J., Robbins, T. W., Harrison, N. A., Wood, J., Daw, N. D., dayan, P., grant, J. E., Bullmore, E. T. (2014). Disorders of compulsivity: a common bias towards learning habits. Molecular Psychiatry. doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.44. see article

Gillan, C. M., Morein-Zamir, S., Durieux, A., Fineberg, N. A., Sahakian, B. J., Robbins, T. W. (2014). Obsessive-compulsive disorder patients have a reduced sense of control on the illusion of control task. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 204. see article

Fineberg, N. A., Chamberlain, S. R., Goudriaan, A. E., Stein, D. J., Vanderschuren, L.J.M.J., Gillan, C. M., Shekar, S., Gorwood, P.A.P.M., Voon, V., Morein-Zamir, S., Denys, D., Sahakian, B. J., Moeller, G. F., Robbins, T. W., Potenza, M. N. (2014). New Developments in Human Neurocognition: Clinical, Genetic and Brain Imaging Correlates of Impulsivity and Compulsivity. CNS Spectrums, 19, pp 69-89. doi:10.1017/S1092852913000801 see article

Gillan, C. M., Morein-Zamir, S., Urcelay, G.P., Sule, A., Voon, V., Apergis-Schoute, A., Fineberg, N.A., Sahakian, B.J., Robbins, T.W. (2014). Enhanced avoidance habits in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Biological Psychiatry, 75(8), 631-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.02.002 see article

Gillan, C. M., Morein-Zamir, S., Kaser, M., Fineberg, N. A., Sule, A., Sahakian, B. J., Cardinal, R., Robbins, T. W. (2014). Counterfactual decision-making in obsessive-compulsive disorder: further evidence for impaired goal-directed control. Biological Psychiatry, 75(8), 639-46. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.01.018 see article

Morein-Zamir, S., Papmeyer, M., Gillan, C. M., Fineberg, N. A., Robbins, T. W., Sahakian, B. J. (2013). Punishment induces an impulsive response style in OCD: Evidence from a motivational go/no go task. Psychological Medicine, 43(2), 391-400. see article

Robbins, T. W., Gillan, C. M., Smith, D., de Wit, S., Ersche, K. D. (2012). Neurocognitive endophenotypes; a dimensional approach to psychiatry. Trends in Cognitive Neuroscience, 16(1), 81-91.

Gillan, C. M., Papmeyer, M., Morein-Zamir, S., Sahakian, B. J., Fineberg, N. A., Robbins, T. W., de Wit, S. (2011). Disrupted balance between goal-directed behavior versus habit learning in obsessive-compulsive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 168(7), 718-26. see article

Book Chapters:

Gillan, C. M. (accepted). Habit-learning. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Phenomenology, Pathophysiology and Treatment. Ed. C. Pittenger. Oxford University Press.

Gillan, C. M., Urcelay, G. U. & Robbins, T. W. (in press). An associative account of avoidance. In Handbook of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning. Eds. Murphy & Honey. Wiley and Sons