Dr. Connolly was appointed as Professor and Chair of the Department of Linguistics and Languages at McMaster University in 2008. He is now the Director of the ARiEAL Research Centre and co-directs the Language, Memory & Brain Laboratories located at McMaster University.
Dr. Connolly received his PhD from the University of London. He studies reading and speech comprehension using a variety of brain imaging techniques including electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, and magnetic resonance imaging. He uses these technologies for assessing cognitive function after severe brain injury. He pioneered the technique of computer presentation of psychometric assessment tests and simultaneous brain activity measurement. This technique was designed particularly for acquired brain-injury populations (e.g., stroke and traumatic brain injury) experiencing significant communication impairments that make traditional assessment methods difficult or impossible to implement. The application of brain activity measures in association with established cognitive assessment tests has proven to be of direct clinical value in hard-to-assess cases (e.g., unresponsive wakefulness syndrome and related disorders of consciousness including recent applications in coma) and can provide neuropsychological performance scores comparable to those obtained with traditionally administered tests. The technique has proven to be of value for both initial assessment and monitoring during therapeutic intervention. He holds a patent for aspects of this research and has expanded the work significantly since his arrival at McMaster University where he works with colleagues in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Engineering studying brain injury and coma.
Dr. Connolly has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals for over 35 years, has been an invited speaker at numerous scientific conferences in Europe and North America, and recently finished his role as an associate editor of Clinical Neurophysiology. His research has been supported by Canadian, American, British, and (other) European funding agencies.