PhD Scholars

The HRB-TMRN currently has 9 PhD scholars, whose research is solely focused in addressing a methodology question relevant to randomised trials. The first cohort of HRB-TMRN scholars commenced in 2014 / 2015, and the second cohort commenced in 2018.


  • Marina Zaki
    Marina Zaki

    Marina is a PhD student in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems in University College Dublin and the HRB-TMRN. Marina has an MSc. Translational Medicine (2015) and BSc. Pharmacology (2013). The focus of her PhD research is on understanding the barriers and facilitators to clinical data management and statistical rigour in Irish academic-led clinical trials. Factors contributing to efficient trial design, decision making, conduct, data monitoring, analysis, reporting, publishing and making statistical and clinical inferences from trial results, will be examined, from the perceptions of statisticians, clinical data managers and principal investigators. Marina is studying under the supervision of Professor Eilish McAuliffe (Professor of Health Systems, UCD) with co-supervisors Dr. Marie Galligan (Biostatistician and Clinical Research Tutor, School of Medicine, UCD) and Professor Declan Devane (Director of the HRB-TMRN and Professor of Midwifery, NUI Galway)

  • Jessica O’ Dowd
    Jessica O’ Dowd

    Jessica is a PhD student at the Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin and the HRB TMRN. Jessica holds an MSc Global Health and BSc Physiotherapy. Her research interests include disability, assistive health technologies and how context affects implementation of healthcare interventions in particular in low resource settings. The focus of her research is on the role of context in the implementation of healthcare interventions. She is using a realist methodology for evaluating how context affects healthcare outcomes for complex interventions under the supervision of Dr Fiona Larkin (Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin) and Professor Eilish McAuliffe (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin)

  • Caroline Hurley
    Caroline Hurley

    Caroline Hurley is a PhD Fellow at the Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) and is registered in the School of Medicine at University College Cork (UCC). In October 2014, Caroline was awarded a prestigious PhD scholarship through UCC’s Strategic Research Fund (SRF). Her PhD project titled ‘Risk-adapted approaches to the management of academic clinical trials’ aims to develop and evaluate a centralised risk-based monitoring plan for academic clinical trials in Ireland. Caroline will conduct her research project under the supervision of Professor Joe Eustace, Professor Patricia Kearney, Professor Mike Clarke, Dr Frances Shiely and Dr Evelyn Flanagan. Caroline graduated with a BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion from UCC in 2008. In 2013 she completed her Master’s in Public Health, specialising in Epidemiology. From May 2014 to October 2014, Caroline worked as the Clinical Trial Co-ordinator for the EU FP7 funded TRUST RCT, based in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (UCC).Prior to this, she was a Research Assistant for TRUST from June 2013 -April 2014.

  • Aislinn Conway
    Aislinn Conway

    Aislinn Conway is a PhD Fellow at the Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) and is registered in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the National University of Ireland Galway. The focus of her research is on trials methodology. She is studying the effectiveness of methods for the dissemination of high-quality research findings into clinical practice and in particular, systematic reviews and summary of findings tables. Aislinn is studying under Professor Declan Devane, Director of the HRB –TMRN and Professor of Midwifery at NUI Galway and the Saolta University Health Care Group. Her co-supervisors are Professor Mike Clarke, Queen’s University Belfast and Professor Shaun Treweek, University of Aberdeen.


  • Vivienne Hanrahan
    Vivienne Hanrahan

    Vivienne is a registered midwife with the Nursing & Midwifery Board of Ireland. She holds a First Class Honours BSc Midwifery from Trinity College Dublin. Since qualifying Vivienne has practised as a midwife in the delivery suite and theatre at Rotunda Hospital Dublin. Vivienne’s interest in research lies in all areas of pregnancy, childbirth and maternity care. As a research assistant at the School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, she worked on a study using exploratory design and critical incident technique to investigate women’s perceptions of assistive factors in breastfeeding for six months. This work led to her dissertation; Breastfeeding – An Exploration of the impact of early discontinuation on mothers’ emotional wellbeing. Vivienne has a keen interest in qualitative research, trial methodology and the integration of research in practice. She is a member of the Irish Research Nurses Network, Cochrane Journal Club and Rotunda Innovation Hub.

  • Gloria Emmanuel
    Gloria Emmanuel

    Gloria Emmanuel holds a bachelor degree in Pharmacy and has extensive experience working as a pharmacist in various hospitals, community settings and clinical research organisations. She developed a fervent interest in clinical research while working in the CRO as a Pharmacovigilance Associate where she handled multiple research projects on a wide range of clinical trial designs and protocols from sites across the globe.
    She completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Research from the National University of Ireland, Galway and has also worked as a Clinical Research Associate on a large Phase 3 anticoagulant randomised controlled trial in the Clinical Research Facility, Galway. In 2016, she joined the Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) as the Clinical Trial Manager where she led research studies of novel scaffolds and orthobiologics in patients with symptomatic cartilage injury. Her passion for clinical research motivated her to join the HRB TMRN-TCD scholarship program in September 2018. Her research will endeavour to examine and contribute to the evidence by addressing recruitment uncertainties mainly focussing on embedding trials in routine clinical care (PRioRiTy study, Question 1). The findings of this study will develop an understanding in designing studies to establish a culture of clinical trials as part of routine clinical care duties.

  • Fiona Quirke
    Fiona Quirke

    Fiona is a PhD student with the HRB-TMRN based in the school of Nursing and Midwifery in NUI Galway. Fiona has completed a BSc. in Biomedical science, in which she achieved a first class honours and graduated top of her class. Fiona has also completed a level 8 Diploma in Irish language literacy from NUI Galway. Fiona’s background in Biomedical Sciences has led her to pursue a number of research projects in areas of chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease and colorectal cancer. Her final year research project on Parkinson’s disease etiology was awarded an esteemed award from the Dean of Science in NUI Galway. In addition, she was awarded funding as a Summer Research Scholar from the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, NUI Galway in 2017 to complete a research project investigating biomarkers in colorectal cancer. Her underlying interest in neuropharmacology and neurophysiology led her to pursue her HRB NEPTuNE project ‘COHESION: a core outcome set for the prevention and treatment of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy’.

  • Lydia O’Sullivan
    Lydia O’Sullivan

    Lydia has worked as a Clinical Trial Coordinator and a Clinical Research Associate and holds a BSc in Radiation Therapy and a post graduate diploma in Radiotherapy and Oncology. Lydia is studying under the supervision of Prof Peter Doran (UCD School of Medicine) and Prof Eilish McAuliffe (UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems).

  • Niamh O’Shea
    Niamh O’Shea

    Niamh is currently a Research Support Officer at the HRB Clinical Research Facility Cork, where she is the Project Manager of a pilot study which is due for completion at the end of 2018. Niamh holds an MSc in Healthcare Ethics and Law. Niamh will begin working on her PhD scholarship with UCC and the Health Research Board – Trial Methodology Network (HRB-TMRN) in early 2019. From 2010 to 2017 Niamh was based at the INFANT Centre, University College Cork, where she was the Clinical Trial Coordinator for a double blind, international, multicentre EU FP7 funded project in conjunction with being the Project Manager of various Neonatal Clinical Trials, Medical Device Trials and Observational Studies. Niamh was previously employed as the Project Manager for an independent, single-centre CRO which performed Phase I bioequivalence and bioavailability clinical trials, dental and cosmetic studies. Niamh has been working within the research industry for 12 years. Contact Details:

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