Professor Joe Eustace MB, BAO, BCh, MHS (Clin Epi) FRCPI
Dept. of Nephrology, Cardiac-Renal Centre, CUH and Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, UCC

Professor Joe Eustace

Joe Eustace, Professor of Medicine, Consultant Nephrologist and the Director of the Clinical Research Facility, Cork. Professor Eustace graduated from University College Dublin in 1990, undertook postgraduate training in General Internal Medicine and Nephrology in Dublin and from 1996-1999 he undertook a Clinical Nephrology Fellowship in Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore; and a NIH Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School of Public Health as part of which he completed a MHS degree. He was subsequently appointed to the Johns Hopkins Faculty of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology as an Assistant Professor and while at Hopkins served as Director of Ambulatory Dialysis Services and as State Commissioner in the Maryland Kidney Commission. He returned to Ireland to take up the position of Consultant Nephrologist at Cork University Hospital in 2005 and was appointed Professor and Director of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at UCC in 2011. His research has been funded by the NIH (NIDDK), National Kidney Foundation, Johns Hopkins Clinical Scientist Award and the Health Research Board. He has authored or co-authored over 45 peer reviewed original scientific papers, and written 8 book chapters. His current research focus is on Vascular and Bone Health in Renal Transplant Recipients.


Frances Shiely Bio Photo

Dr Frances Shiely has been working in the CRFC as a Senior Lecturer Research Methodology (50%), since January 2013. Frances also works as a lecturer in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC, where she has held her appointment since 2005. She obtained her PhD degree from the University of Limerick in 2003 in the area of lifestyle epidemiology, researching on physical activity uptake and maintenance. She held a senior postdoctoral research position from 2003 to 2005 at the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Sciences, University College Dublin where she worked in population health, specifically nutritional epidemiology, obesity and the determinants of health in old age. In 2008 she was a visiting scientist at the Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle where she worked on a partner notification study in the area of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Frances’ research interests are in lifestyle epidemiology with a focus on the improvement of public health. Her main areas of application are the prevention of obesity and sexually transmitted infections. She has been teaching Epidemiology and study design for a number of years and is particularly interested in research methodology. She also supervises undergraduate BSc, Masters and PhD students.


Darren Dahly PhD, Senior Lecturer in Patient Focused Research Methods. Dr Dahly has degrees in Biology (BA, Hendrix College), International Health (MHS, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), and Nutritional Epidemiology (PhD, University of North Carolina). He has previously worked as a Lecturer in Epidemiology in the Division of Biostatistics, University of Leeds, where he was funded by a MRC fellowship to study infant growth patterns; and a Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at University College Cork, where he was funded by an HRB Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement award to investigate the impact of maternal factors on perinatal health. Dr Dahly is experienced with a variety of statistical models, and particularly interested in the application of latent variable and longitudinal models in health research.



Evelyn Flanagan Bio Photo

Dr Evelyn Flanagan undertook her primary degree in physiology in University College Cork. Following graduation Evelyn embarked on her PhD studies in ‘The role of TGF-β1 in chronic renal failure’, under the guidance of Professor Edward Johns in the physiology department University College Cork. On graduating Evelyn began developing her interest in clinical data management and has been involved in numerous national and local data management projects. In addition Evelyn has a particular interest in the role of electronic data capture systems in clinical research and has an MSc in Clinical Research from the University of Liverpool.

Ruben Keane 27.01.17

Dr Ruben Keane, Quality and Regulatory Affairs Manager:

Ruben has over 12 years experience in Clinical Research within Pharmaceutical  (Marion Merrell Dow) and Contract Research Organisations  (ICON and Quintiles) before joining the Clinical Research Facility as Quality and Regulatory Affairs Manager in 2014. She completed her BSc Hons (1985) and  PhD (1989) in University College Cork (UCC ) in 1989, and aobtained a Higher Diploma in Applied Psychology (2011).

Ruben has extensive experience in monitoring, pharmacovigilance/drug safety, data management, study management, quality management, audit and regulatory affairs obtained during her roles as Clinical Research Associate (Marion Merrell Dow, France and ICON Dublin), Associate Director of Drug Safety (Quintiles Dublin), Project Manager (Trinity College Dublin), Data Manager (Oral Health Services Research Unit, UCC) and in her current role as Quality and Regulatory Affairs Manager. 

Mary-Claire O’Regan joined the staff of the Clinical Research Facility in September 2014 as centre manager but has been a member of the management team since July 2013, representing the EU-FP7 funded SENATOR Clinical Research Trial project based at UCC’s Department of Medicine. Mary-Claire is responsible for the day to day operational management of the CRF-C in particular CRF-C interactions with research funders and stakeholders and corporate UCC (HR, Finance, OCLA and OVPRI etc.).

Mary-Claire brings 10+ years of experience in the management and administration of large, multi-centre, multi-partner, multi-national research, collaboration and infrastructure projects with a working knowledge of EU Commission funded programmes and the research funding agencies in Ireland. 

Prior to joining the Department of Medicine, Mary-Claire worked in the Tyndall National Institute, one of Europe’s leading research centres in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the largest research facility of its type in Ireland. At Tyndall, Mary-Claire was the Centre Manager for the Micro-Nano Centre (70+ people) and administered a research portfolio of c.30M€.

Mary-Claire is a previous recipient of the UCC Research Support Person of the Year award. A programme which was established to recognise UCC staff who have made exceptional and very influential research contributions, pushing boundaries, enhancing knowledge, and raising the national and international research profile of the University. 

Mary-Claire holds an Honours degree in Electronic & Electrical Engineering from Cork Institute of Technology and Diploma in Safety, Health and Welfare at Work from University College Dublin.

David joined the CRF-C in July 2017. He holds a Masters in Pharmacy (MPharm), Masters in Public Health (MPH), Post Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (PG Cert) and is currently writing up his PhD.

He has extensive experience as a community pharmacist spanning over 14 years. He has previously worked as a Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacy in University College Cork (UCC). While there, he contributed to and assisted in the delivery of research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He also supervised on a number of research projects. He was a clinical trials pharmacist involved in the Thyroid Hormone Replacement for Subclinical Hypo-Thyroidism Trial (TRUST). This was a randomised placebo controlled clinical trial comparing levothyroxine to placebo in community dwelling older adults (≥65 years) with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH). He is a tutor on the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) Academy. This educational initiative was developed by the IPU to support pharmacist engagement with Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Damian O'Driscoll

Damian completed an undergraduate in Sociology and Social Research from the University of Limerick in 1998. He completed a Higher Diploma in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin in 2000 and a Masters in Sociology from University College Cork in 2004. He recently completed a Higher Diploma in Project Management from Cork Institute of Technology. He is a member of the
Project Management Institute (PMI).

Damian has extensive experience as a health service researcher and a research project manager. He has previously worked in the Health Research Board (Research Analyst on the National Intellectual Disability Database) and Cork University Hospital (Researcher Officer in the Quality & Risk Management Dept). He joins the CRFC from the National Cancer Registry, Ireland, where he spent 6 years as project manager on two HRB funded national population based cancer research studies (PanCAM and CaRE).

At the CRFC Damian is currently project manager on a number of clinical studies, including, the Irish Omega-3 study (funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute) and the Radica Study (funded by the Science Foundation Ireland).

Máire McCarthy photo

Máire graduated with a BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion from UCC in 2011. She went on to complete her Masters in Public Health, specialising in Epidemiology in 2012 and more recently obtained her Diploma in Project Management. Previously, Máire has worked for the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre on an audit for Severe Maternal Morbidity and also in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health on the “Food Choice at Work Study”, “Irish Population Salt Intake Study” and for the “Cork and Kerry Diabetes and Heart Disease Study”.  Máire joined us in September 2014 from the Health Information and Quality Authority where she worked as the Research Ethics Administrator.

Orlaith studied Law and Irish in University College Cork, graduating in 2005. She went on to attend Blackhall Place and completed her Indentures of Apprenticeship in 2010 . Previously Orlaith worked in- house with a leading security firm. Orlaith works part time with the CRF-C in research administration. Orlaith joined the Clinical Research Facility in November 2013.

Aoife graduated with a BSc in Neuroscience from UCC in 2005. She went on to complete her masters in Neuropharmacology in NUIG in 2007. Aoife has extensive experience as a pre-clinical research assistant. Previously, she has worked in the APC and the School of Pharmacy UCC where she held a pre-clinical role for 7 years. Aoife joined the CRF-C in December 2014 where she works in Research Administration.


Sarah graduated with a BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion from UCC in 2014. She previously worked with the E-learning team in The Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC and completed an internship in The Division of Information, Evidence, Research and Innovation with The World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark. Sarah joined the Clinical Research Facility in October 2014 where she is currently working as a Research Assistant on The Radica Study (funded by the Science Foundation Ireland).





Liam brings over 20+ years of Accounting and Financial experience to the CRF-C.

Previously working in EMC as a Financial Analyst and as a General Ledger Accountant,

Liam also worked as a General Ledger Supervisor in companies such as Avery Dennison & GTS.

His experience in London was as an Assistant Financial Controller in a children's charity.

Liam spent almost five years working in  the National Gallery in London as a senior assistant accountant.

Data Manager

Evelyn graduated with a BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion from UCC in 2015.

Evelyn first came to CRF-C in 2014 as a placement student. She then joined the CRF-C in 2015 as a full time research assistant working on multiple commercial studies in Cork University Hospital.

In 2016 she took on a new role as Data Manager with the aim of implementing a web-based resource management system for clinical research studies (CRF Manager) in the CRF-C.

Evelyn is also currently studying for an MSc in Clinical Trials with the University of Edinburgh.


Maeve Kelsey Bio Photo

Maeve Kelsey

Research Nurse Manager

Maeve Kelsey is Clinical Trials Nurse Manager with the CRF-C since March 2016. She qualified as a Registered General Nurse with the Richmond and Beaumont Hospitals in 1989 and as a registered Midwife with Forth Valley Health Board, Scotland in 1992. Maeve has extensive experience in the conduct of phase 2 to 4 academic and HPRA regulated trials and has been part of the CRF-C research team since 2012. She worked for Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC and Alimentary Health Ltd, prior to that. Maeve also worked in the pharmaceutical industry from 1994 – 2001 and successfully promoted medicines in a broad range of therapeutic areas.

In her current role, Maeve oversees the conduct and progress of academic and industry sponsored trials within the CRF-C and supervises the work schedule of staff working on these projects. Maeve also holds a level 9 post graduate certificate in Clinical Research Nursing from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland and is currently studying for a MSc Clinical Trials with the University of Edinburgh.


 Jean Foley Photo

Jean graduated from St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin as a registered General Nurse. She holds a Certificate in Nurse Management, a Certificate in Practice Nurse and a post graduate certificate in Clinical Research from the Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin. Jean worked as a nurse in Dublin and Cork before joining Minerva where she worked as Research Nurse involved in large multinational trials. She joined Alimentary Health as Clinical Nurse specialist in research before joining the Clinical Research Facility Cork in 2012.

Aisling graduated with a BSc in General Nursing from CUH/UCC and has worked in the areas of Surgical and Medical nursing in CUH, Intellectual Disability, and has extensive experience in Gerontology. Aisling took a break from nursing in 2008 to work in the Sales field with Nutricia Medical, a division of Danone. Responsible for sales and promotion of Oral Nutritional Products in the community, she developed a keen interest in the link between diet and health. Aisling worked with the ELDERMET project before joining the HRB-Clinical Research Facility in January 2014 which she is currently involved in both Renal and Rheumatology clinical trials.  Aisling is currently undertaking a Post Graduate Cert. in Clinical Research with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, Dublin.

Kay completed general nurse training in 1997 and gained experience as a staff nurse for 4 years post registration. Her career in research started in 2003 when she took on the role as Nurse Manager at Shandon Clinical Trials, Cork.

Kay’s experience at Shandon Clinic spanned over 7 years where she managed the nursing aspects of a large number of pharmacokinetic studies as well as a number of PhaseII/III studies in outpatients with ambulant medical conditions.

She went on to complete a certificate in Clinical Research for Nurses in 2010 when the Royal College of Surgeons first introduced the course.

Kay also holds a Diploma in Health Service Management and a certificate in Management for Nurses and Health and Safety at Work.

Prior to taking on the role of Clinical Research Support Officer at the HRB CRFC-C, Kay worked as a Nurse Manager at Quintiles Drug Research Unit, London. This was a very busy Phase I unit where she gained vast experience in clinical research right from study start up (draft protocol stage) to study close out. 

Colleen graduated from UCC in 2007 as a General Nurse, training in the Mercy University Hospital. From there, she travelled to New Zealand and Australia. On return home, Colleen undertook a Higher Diploma in Midwifery in the National Maternity Hospital and University College Dublin and stayed for 4 years before returning to Cork for a position as Research Midwife with the IMPROVED study in the INFANT Centre, a study investigating metabolomic and proteomic bio-markers to detect pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.

Colleen is currently undertaking a Masters by Research in UCC evaluating Maternity Services in Cork University Maternity Hospital with special focus on the Domino Midwifery-Led Service. 

Colleen joined the HRB-Clinical Research Facility-Cork in October 2016 as a Research Nurse and is currently involved with RCTs in the A&E Department and ICU.  

Emma graduated from the Bon Secours Hospital Cork as a registered general nurse.  She worked as a nurse both in Ireland and the USA in both adult and paediatric settings.  In 2013, she was awarded her MSc in Nursing from UCC.  Since 2010 Emma has worked on longitudinal birth cohort studies in the INFANT Research Centre before joining the Clinical Research Facility Cork in 2017.

Dr. Brendan Palmer joined the CRF-C in July 2017 as an Associate Biostatistician and Senior Postdoctoral Researcher. Brendan has joined us from the Dept. of Medicine, UCC, where his studies focused on the longitudinal analysis of Hepatitis C virus evolutionary dynamics in a treatment naïve environment. This research was structured around the application of bioinformatic and statistical analyses to large, next-generation sequencing datasets. The outcomes to this research have helped to better understand Hepatitis C virus genome adaptation to its host environment during chronic infection.

At the CRF-C, Brendan will work as part of the Statistics and Data Analysis Unit (SDAU) to support patient-focused research projects, assist with the development of statistical analysis plans and to develop methodologies aimed at improving patient-focused research.

Brendan holds a primary degree in Microbiology, a M.Sc. in Bioinformatics with Computational Biology and a Ph.D. in Virology. 

Ann-Marie joined the CRF-C in June 2017 from the Intensive Care Unit in the CUH.

She did her initial training in London at St George's Hospital and worked there for many years with a break in between to go travelling. Ann-Marie's background is predominately intensive care. She moved back to Cork over 10 years ago and worked in the Mercy Hospital until 2015 when she then moved to the CUH.

She has completed several courses in that time including the intensive care course and the x-ray prescribing course.

Robin is in his 3rd year of the BSc Public Health at University College Cork. He has undertaken a 12 week work placement in the Clinical Research Facility-Cork as a Research Assistant. He has a keen interest in clinical drug trials as well as Epidemiology and hopes, on completion of his BSc in Public Health that he will continue his studies in the area of CT, by studying a MSc in Clinical Trials in either the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, or University of Edinburgh.

Laura is a third year BSc Public Health student in University College Cork. She has completed a 12 week placement with the CRF-C as a research assistant and has a keen interest in clinical trial design and nutrition. In recent college elections she has been elected the Medicine and Health College Representative, a part of the universities’ Student Union.

Maura graduated with a BSc in Public Health and Health Promotion in 2015 and completed a Master of Public Health degree in 2016, both from UCC. While completing her Master degree, Maura worked as a research assistant with the Food Choice at Work team working on data entry, analysis and development of marketing and informational material for business start-up. She also worked as a postgraduate teaching assistant for BSc Public Health students during this time. More recently, Maura has worked as a research assistant in the School of Economics in UCC, conducting an economic evaluation of a suicide prevention programme and in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in UCC working with the ESPRiT team on diabetes health services research. She joined the CRF-C in July 2017.

Birgitta Gleeson PhD, is working as a Postdoctoral Researcher with the CRF-C since 2016. Dr. Gleeson has a primary Bachelor of Science degree where she specialised in Microbiology, a Master of Science in Immunology and Global Health and a PhD in Medicine and Health. Birgitta’s PhD primarily focused on developing novel stem cell based therapeutics for the treatment of myocardial infarction. During her PhD, Birgitta started developing an interest in the area of clinical research and after graduating she began working as a research associate with the CRF-C. Birgitta then travelled to Uganda to work as a clinical researcher on global health research trials after which she returned again to the CRF-C to take up the positon of a Postdoctoral Researcher. Birgitta’s current role is in the development, conduct and coordination of both academically and commercially led clinical research projects.

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