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Research Associates

The network recognizes the achievements and interests of people across all institutions who are committed to the area of Trials Methodology who have secured funding in this area, who are working primarily on trials methodology projects and are regular contributors to the Network. Contact the HRB-TMRN to become a Research Associate.

Prof Dympna Casey

Prof. Dympna Casey

School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Galway

Dympna Casey is the Established Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing & Midwifery University of Galway and has worked for over 25 years in nursing education. She teaches and supervises students at undergraduate, Masters and PhD level. Her research interests mainly focus on healthy and active aging, chronic disease management, and developing psychosocial interventions for people with dementia. Her methodological expertise includes, qualitative research, mixed methods and conducting RCTs. She has specific expertise in qualitative research methodologies in particular using qualitative research within trials to address issues not easily answered using quantitative methods, for examples why an intervention might not have worked as anticipated or capturing the everyday impact or experience of the intervention as experienced through the eyes of end users. Dympna has extensive experience in leading collaborative interdisciplinary and inter institutional projects at local, national and international level and has been awarded more than €12 M in research funding, of this more than €5m as PI.

Dympna Casey is the Established Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing & Midwifery University of Galway and has worked for over 25 years in nursing education. She teaches and supervises [...]

Dr. Hanne Bruhn

Dr. Hanne Bruhn

HRB Clinical Research Facility, UCC

My personal pronouns are she/her. Dr Bruhn is a Senior Research Fellow at the HRB Clinical Research Facility, University College Cork working in the area of Trials Methodology with Dr Frances Shiely. Hanne’s background is as a Health Services Researcher, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Hanne currently works part-time between the HRB CRF in University College Cork and the Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen. Hanne has been working in the area of Trials Methodology since 2017, contributing to Trial Forge (https://www.trialforge.org/).

My personal pronouns are she/her. Dr Bruhn is a Senior Research Fellow at the HRB Clinical Research Facility, University College Cork working in the area of Trials Methodology with Dr Frances Shiely. [...]

Dr. Marie Tierney

Dr. Marie Tierney

Centre for Health Research Methodology, University of Galway

Dr. Marie Tierney is a chartered physiotherapist and postdoctoral researcher at the School of Nursing & Midwifery, NUI Galway. She received both her BSc and PhD from the University of Limerick. Marie worked as a postdoctoral researcher on a number of projects in the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway following the completion of her PhD. More recently, she has worked as a chartered physiotherapist leading education and physical activity classes in a variety of clinical populations. Her clinical and research interests centre on improving health outcomes in chronic disease and the use of technological innovations to deliver education and healthcare solutions. Marie is currently working on the Informed Health Choices – Cancer project funded by the Irish Cancer Society.

Dr. Marie Tierney is a chartered physiotherapist and postdoctoral researcher at the School of Nursing & Midwifery, NUI Galway. She received both her BSc and PhD from the University of Limerick. [...]

Dr. Claire Beecher

Dr. Claire Beecher

Centre for Health Research Methodology, University of Galway

Claire holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Business Studies & Event Management (Limerick Institute of Technology) and Midwifery Science (National University of Ireland, Galway). In 2014 she was awarded the Dr H.H. Stewart Medical Scholarship in Midwifery. Her PhD thesis titled ‘The development of a survey instrument to evaluate women’s experiences of their maternity care in Ireland’ was submitted to University of Galway in March 2020. The survey instrument developed has been adopted by the National Care Experience Programme as the Irish National Maternity Experience Survey and was implemented nationally in Ireland in February 2020.

Claire holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Business Studies & Event Management (Limerick Institute of Technology) and Midwifery Science (National University of Ireland, Galway). In 2014 she was [...]

Dr. Karen Matvienko-Sikar

School of Public Health UCC

Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar is a Health Psychologist and HRB Research Fellow in the School of Public Health, University College Cork. She obtained her PhD, MA and BA from the School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork. Karen’s research interests are in the area of maternal and child health, particularly perinatal stress and health outcomes. Karen has experience and expertise in developing, implementing and evaluating interventions for maternal and child health in antenatal and primary care settings in pilot and feasibility trials. Karen has experience and a keen interest in development of core outcome sets. She recently led on the development of a core outcome set for infant feeding interventions to prevent childhood obesity, which was supported by the HRB-TMRN and the Irish Research Council. Karen also collaborates with the COMET initiative on their annual updates of core outcome sets for comparative effectiveness research. Karen is currently leading on a Study Within a Trial (SWAT) in the area of core outcome sets and questionnaire response rates.

Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar is a Health Psychologist and HRB Research Fellow in the School of Public Health, University College Cork. She obtained her PhD, MA and BA from the School of Applied [...]

Dr. Sinead Holden

Clinical Research Centre, UCD

Dr Sinéad Holden is a Research Fellow at the UCD Clinical Research Centre. She has a special interest in research methodology, transparency and enhancing reporting of research for the benefit of end-users. Sinéad is co-leading the DEFT (Digital EFficient Trials) programme with Prof Peter Doran, to generate knowledge on how we can best integrate technology into clinical trials to enhance their quality and efficiency.

Dr Sinéad Holden is a Research Fellow at the UCD Clinical Research Centre. She has a special interest in research methodology, transparency and enhancing reporting of research for the benefit of [...]

Dr. Brian Slattery

School of Nursing and Human Sciences

Brian is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at Dublin City University. Brian’s research interests are in eHealth (digital health), eHealth in the context of self-management of chronic illness (e.g., chronic pain), digital behaviour change, user engagement, technology design using participatory methods, human computer interaction and more broadly in health and organisational psychology. In the context of trial methodology, Brian is particularly interested in how we conceptualise, maintain, report and measure user engagement as it relates to intervention outcomes. Given this interest, Brian was funded by the HRB TMRN to conduct a SWAT to examine the impact of an informational video on trial retention. Brian was supported by the HRB TMRN to host their first event at Dublin City University on the topic ‘Methodological considerations in digital health behaviour change research: Design, implementation, and evaluation in the context of randomised trials’.

Brian is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at Dublin City University. Brian’s research interests are in eHealth (digital health), eHealth in the [...]

Dr. Catherine Houghton

Dr. Catherine Houghton

QUESTS, University of Galway

Catherine Houghton, RN, RCN, BN, MHSC, PhD, is a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Catherine’s primary research expertise is in qualitative methodology, qualitative evidence synthesis (QES), and dementia research. She has extensive experience in, and has published on, qualitative case study methodology, qualitative evidence synthesis methodology, data collection, ethics, rigour, paradigms and analysis in qualitative research. This interest in research methodology led to her current focus on QES and trial methodology. In 2015, Catherine was awarded funding from the HRB-TMRN to develop staff expertise in QES. This led to the registration of a QES in the Cochrane Methodology Review Group exploring the factors that impact on recruitment to trials. This review is currently being prepared for submission. Catherine was subsequently awarded funding from the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme for the purpose of developing a clearly articulated pathway between QES and trial methodology and further developing QES expertise in Ireland. Catherine is currently collaborating on a number of qualitative evidence syntheses, for example in: Personhood in dementia, infant feeding, pulmonary rehabilitation and trial recruitment, two of which are registered in Cochrane. Catherine is Co-Chair for QUESTS (Qualitative Research in Trials Centre), established in 2016 and embedded within HRB-TMRN. The mission of QUESTS is to maximise the integration of qualitative research in randomised trials In addition to collaboration on successful bids, QUESTS has delivered training on qualitative approaches that can be used in trials and Studies Within A Trial (SWAT).

Catherine Houghton, RN, RCN, BN, MHSC, PhD, is a lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway. Catherine’s primary research expertise is in qualitative methodology, qualitative [...]

Patricia-Kearney

Prof. Patricia Kearney

School of Public Health. UCC

I am Professor of Epidemiology in UCC and my research interests are in large-scale observational epidemiology, clinical trials and implementation science. I was the lead PI in Ireland for the EUFP7 funded TRUST clinical trial, ‘Multi-modal Effects of Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Untreated Older Adults with Subclinical Hypothyroidism; a Randomised Placebo-controlled Trial, the largest trial ever undertaken worldwide among people with subclinical hypothyroidism. At the time the trial started, there was no clinical research facility (CRF) in UCC, UCC had not previously sponsored a clinical trial and few staff had training or experience in clinical trials. I worked with the newly developed CRF-C to develop expertise and capacity in clinical trial research, training research nurses, doctors and pharmacists. In addition, I developed a network of over 100 GPs actively recruiting participants for TRUST with satellite sites across the South of Ireland. A HRB-TMRN funded PhD student worked with me on TRUST investigating the role of Risk Based Monitoring in clinical trials. The HRB-TMRN supported a Study Within A Trial (SWAT) associated with TRUST to look at patient preferences for dissemination of the results of clinical trials. I am currently leading the Choosing Healthy Eating for Infant Health (CHErIsH) study, funded through a HRB ICE Award. CHErIsH is a pilot study of an infant feeding intervention to prevent childhood obesity developed based on a systematic approach to the design, implementation and evaluation of the intervention. The TMRN funded a Core Outcome Study led by one of the ICE Fellows of childhood obesity interventions associated with CHErIsH. I am co-PI of the ongoing Improving Diabetes Eye Screening (IDEAS) study, a feasibility study of an intervention to improve diabetic retinopathy screening uptake. I am PI of a HRB-TMRN SWAT evaluating the impact of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) on the IDEAS trial intervention.

I am Professor of Epidemiology in UCC and my research interests are in large-scale observational epidemiology, clinical trials and implementation science. I was the lead PI in Ireland for the EUFP7 [...]

Dr. Sinead Duane

School of Marketing, University of Galway

Dr Duane is a lecturer in Marketing in NUI Galway and was previously a HRB Trials Methodology Research Network (TMRN) Postdoctoral Researcher for SWAT Trials. Dr Duane has significant expertise in SWAT design and conduct, the use of digital media in trial recruitment and retention, and the design and conduct of RCTs. Dr Duane is currently a co-applicant on the MIAMI project (https://primarycaretrials.ie/miami-study/) which is evaluating the use of electronic reminders on retention through a SWAT. Dr Duane also has expertise in complex intervention design and has a particular interest in behaviour and social change activities, qualitative research and process evaluation methodologies.

Dr Duane is a lecturer in Marketing in NUI Galway and was previously a HRB Trials Methodology Research Network (TMRN) Postdoctoral Researcher for SWAT Trials. Dr Duane has significant expertise in [...]

Petek-Taneri

Dr. Petek Eylul Taneri

Centre for Health Research Methodology, University of Galway

Dr Taneri graduated from medical school in 2010. Dr Taneri worked as a general practitioner in a small Turkish town in the Syrian border and became a Public Health Specialist in 2017. For two years Dr Taneri worked as the manager of Community Cancer Prevention, Early Diagnosis and Screening Center in Turkey. Between 2019 and 2022 Eylul was an Assistant Professor in Bahcesehir University Faculty of Medicine Public Health Department, Istanbul, Turkey. Currently Eylul works as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the University of Galway.

Dr Taneri graduated from medical school in 2010. Dr Taneri worked as a general practitioner in a small Turkish town in the Syrian border and became a Public Health Specialist in 2017. For two years Dr [...]

Dr. Paula Byrne

Centre for Health Research Methodology, University of Galway

Dr. Paula Byrne is a postdoctoral researcher with Evidence Synthesis Ireland & HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network at the University of Galway. Her work focuses on evidence synthesis, scientific uncertainty and how health ‘facts’ and ‘misinformation’ are defined and dealt with. Previously, Paula worked with the Health Technology Assessment Directorate within HIQA. Here she developed a new method of justifying new practices in medical exposure to ionising radiation, which is currently being finalised. Also, she produced rapid reviews on a wide range of scientific topics to inform the National Public Health Emergency Team during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her PhD focused on the use of statins for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. In particular, she considered the process of medicalisation and how ‘low-value’ medical care might be delineated or defined in the context of absolute risk reduction or number-needed-to-treat.

Dr. Paula Byrne is a postdoctoral researcher with Evidence Synthesis Ireland & HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network at the University of Galway. Her work focuses on evidence synthesis, [...]

Dr. Linda O’ Neill

Trinity Exercise Oncology Research Group

Dr Linda O’Neill is a Research Fellow with the Trinity Exercise Oncology Research Group, in the Discipline of Physiotherapy, Trinity College Dublin. She is a CORU registered physiotherapist and member of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP). Her main research interest is in exercise oncology, in particular exercise in cancer survivorship. She has over 30 peer reviewed publications in the field. She currently works as a Project Manager on the HRB/MRCG funded Preoperative Exercise to Improve Fitness in Patients Undergoing Complex Surgery for Cancer of the Lung or Oesophagus (PRE-HIIT) trial and the HRB funded Rehabilitation Strategies following Oesophago-gastric and Hepatopancreaticobiliary Cancer (ReStORe II) trial. In recent years, Dr O’Neill has become very involved in trial methodology research. She is particularly interested in learning more about how to recruit and retain participants in trials. She currently leads an embedded Study Within A Trial (SWAT) within the ReStORe II trial, and has supervised a number of HRB-TMRN summer studentships in the areas of trial recruitment and dissemination. She is a member of the NIHR-TMRP Trial Conduct Working Group, and is currently co-lead of the TMRP Trial Conduct Working Group-Retention Topic Group.

Dr Linda O'Neill is a Research Fellow with the Trinity Exercise Oncology Research Group, in the Discipline of Physiotherapy, Trinity College Dublin. She is a CORU registered physiotherapist and member [...]

David Keane

Dr. David Keane

CURAM, University of Galway

David has a background in medical physics with 15 years in the NHS as a registered Clinical Scientist. His research and clinical work focused on the use and evaluation of technology to support people with kidney failure. David now works in CÚRAM, the SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices at the University of Galway, focussed on developing clinical trial methodology and infrastructure for medical devices under the supervision of Professor Matthew Griffin.

David has a background in medical physics with 15 years in the NHS as a registered Clinical Scientist. His research and clinical work focused on the use and evaluation of technology to support people [...]

Dr. Lydia O’Sullivan

Health Information & Quality Authority

Lydia is a Senior Health Technology Assessment Analyst on the Ionising Radiation team in the Health Technology Assessment Directorate at HIQA. Lydia completed a BSc in Radiation Therapy at Trinity College Dublin and worked clinically as a Radiation Therapist and Clinical Trials Coordinator and then as a trial monitor before undertaking her PhD in clinical trials methodology at the UCD School of Medicine, in collaboration with the HRB-TMRN. Her PhD research focused on Informed Consent in Clinical Trials.

Lydia is a Senior Health Technology Assessment Analyst on the Ionising Radiation team in the Health Technology Assessment Directorate at HIQA. Lydia completed a BSc in Radiation Therapy at Trinity [...]

Ruán Kane

Centre for Health Research Methodology, University of Galway

Ruán earned his BA, and later a H. Dip. in Psychology and MSc in Clinical Neuroscience from University of Galway. After completing his Masters he went on to work on the iRelate study, which sought to examine the complex interrelationships between schizophrenia, social cognition and immune function; here he was responsible for running of the secondary site on St. James’s Hospital campus, Dublin. Following this, he returned to Galway to work on the SCOPE-BD clinical trial, which aims to evaluate potential anti-depressant effects of scopolamine among people with Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD) who are currently depressed. In July 2023 he joined the HRB-TMRN as a Research Associate.

Ruán earned his BA, and later a H. Dip. in Psychology and MSc in Clinical Neuroscience from University of Galway. After completing his Masters he went on to work on the iRelate study, which sought to [...]

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