Main Speakers

Shane O'Mara

Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin/Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator

Shane O’Mara is Professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator. His research explores the brain systems supporting learning, memory, and cognition, and the brain systems affected by stress and depression. He also explores applying brain science in business and organisations. He has published >120 papers, has edited 3 books, and has written a book examines brain function under stress and duress. His new book is called ‘A Brain for Business – A Brain for Life’, and will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in their ‘Neuroscience for Leaders’ series in 2017. He has done many specialist workshops and seminars in this area. He is a graduate of the National University of Ireland, Galway and of Oxford University.

Laurie Knell

Management Consultant/Associate Lecturer on the Open University Business School’s MBA program

Laurie Knell is a leading management consultant with almost 20 years’ experience working in the consultancy, technology and transportation sectors in Ireland, Europe and Australia and has a track record of delivering organizational change, strategic realignment and business growth both as a consultant and as a leader within organizations. Laurie specialises in working with senior business leaders and their teams, helping them achieve breakthrough performance across the organisation and has worked internationally with leaders and executives in a wide-range of sectors including technology, transportation, finance, pharmaceutical, FMCG, and agri-business. More recently he has worked closely with senior leaders in the sporting field to enhance individual and team performance. Laurie has undertaken studies and advised governmental and semi-state organisation bodies on key policy and priority areas. Laurie is an Associate Lecturer on the Open University Business School’s MBA program, focusing on key aspects of general management as well as creativity and innovation in the workplace. He has contributed to published university texts and course work in these areas.

Past Speakers

Massimiliano (Max) Bianchi

General Manager & Scientific Director Transpharmation Ireland Ltd

Max joined Transpharmation Ltd in January 2014 as General Manager and Scientific Director of the Irish subsidiary Transpharmation Ireland Ltd, a Campus Company at the Trinity College Dublin where he is also an adjunct professor at the school of psychology. Dr. M. Bianchi has 16 years of research experience on neuropharmacology, neuronal cytoskeletal plasticity, and drug discovery. He worked with the former Psychiatry Centre of Excellence for Drug Discovery of GlaxoSmithKline (Psychiatry CEDD-GSK) and during this time successfully completed is Ph.D. on the neuropsychopharmacology of cytoskeletal microtubules (University of Nottingham, UK). He then joined the French Biotech MAPREG in 2007 to establish and lead a new psychopharmacology unit. Transpharmation Ireland Ltd. is the only Contract Research Organization in Ireland specifically focused on psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders currently formed by an international team of 10 people. In only a few years the company becomes a recognized world leader in the field with a global portfolio of clients including the major pharmaceutical companies. Dr. M. Bianchi is the author of several scientific publications and patents, he is also engaged to facilitate the understanding of the neurobiology of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders to lay people.

Sacha Dekker

Senior Director of Sales Learning at Oracle

Sacha was born and raised in the Netherlands, and, before moving to Ireland in 2012, spent large chunks of time in Geneva and South Africa. She’s a travel enthusiast and loves exploring new cultures.

In April 2009 Sacha was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy, after having her first seizure in January of that year. In August 2015, she had a right temporal lobectomy, with the aim of taking out the brain tissue causing the seizures. After waking up fully paralysed on her left side and being told she wouldn’t walk again, she fought her way back and on the anniversary of the surgery, 24 August 2016, walked down the 1,5 km long pier in front of her house.

Sacha went back to work after a year and is currently working as Senior Director of Sales Learning in Oracle, having previously held senior Learning & Development roles with both LinkedIn and Shell.