Research Staff/PhD Students

Ms Claire O'Halloran, RGN

Name: Ms Claire O'Halloran, RGN
Position: Research Nurse
T: +353 (0)21 420 5014/420 5015
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

Ms Claire Cullinane, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies, RGN, RCN

Name: Ms Claire Cullinane, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies, RGN, RCN
Position: Research Nurse
T: +353 (0)21 490 1258
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

I am involved in the Europrevall Project which is a large European Union funded project that will assess how food allergy affects the quality of life of young children in Ireland who are affected by food allergies.  This will lead to improved methods of treatment for these children.

I am also involved in a study investigating latex allergy and sensitization in children and adults who attend the spina bifida clinic in the Cork University Hospital.

Ms. Eileen Duggan RGN, MA

Name: Ms. Eileen Duggan RGN, MA
Position: PhD Student
T: +353 (0)21 420 5015
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

I am currently undertaking a PhD with the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, UCC in collaboration with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC.  The thesis aims to establish the prevalence of asthma and allergic disorders in Cork schoolchildren aged 6-8 years and 12-13 years. It also examines the protective elements and risk factors associated with their development, with particular emphasis on the protective effects of farming. My PhD is supervised by Professor Jonathan Hourihane and Dr. Tony Fitzgerald. I recently completed an M.A. in Health Promotion with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC. The associated research examined what methods of preconceptional care were undertaken by parents prior to achieving a planned pregnancy and the influencing factors. 

Ms. Deirdre Daly RCN, RGN

Name: Ms. Deirdre Daly RCN, RGN
Position: Research Nurse
T: +353 (0)21 490 1258
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

I am involved in the PATCH study which stands for Prevention of Allergy Through Cow's Milk Hydrolysate. The aim of the study is to assess 'The effect of early nutrition in high risk infants on allergy prevention during the first 18 months of life'.We are recruiting parents to be, one of whom has a history of asthma, hayfever, eczema, or food allergy. 

Breastfeeding is the optimal mode of nutrition for the infant. We will be following both breastfed and formula fed babies.  Our recruitment ends 30th June, 2008, so babies need to be born prior to this date in order to be included in the study.

Ms. Aine Gallagher, BSc(Hons) Nursing Studies, RGN, RM

Name: Ms. Aine Gallagher, BSc(Hons) Nursing Studies, RGN, RM
Position: Research Midwife/Baseline Project
T: +353 (0)21 492 0657
F: +353 (0)21 420 5028

I am involved in the SCOPE and BASELINE studies. First time healthy mothers are being recruited to the SCOPE study, the aim of which is to investigate the three major problems of late pregnancy which are pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and poor fetal growth.

The BASELINE study is unique to Cork and babies of SCOPE mothers are being recruited, the aim being to investigate the long term effect of poor growth in the womb, the incidence and prevalence of food allergy and eczema in early childhood and the incidence and effect of maternal and infant vitamin D status on the growth and health of Irish children.   

Dr. Evonne Low

Name: Dr. Evonne Low
Position: Research Fellow/PhD Student
T: +353 (0)21 420 5040

Position:  Wellcome Trust PhD Clinical Research Fellow/Paediatric SPR (RCPI)

The definite diagnosis of seizures in preterm and full term infants is critically dependent on expert interpretation of the full standard EEG. However, this service may not be pragmatically available around the clock. It is necessary to have an effective and a robust system to detect seizures with precision and as rapidly as possible following application of the full standard EEG, to enable clinicians to instigate the appropriate intervention for the newborn. The Neonatal Automated Seizure Detection project provides us that promising alternative at the newborns' cotside. Whilst collecting data for this translation research project which is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the objectives of my PhD research are to compare the seizure burden in fullterm infants with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) versus those with focal cerebral lesions, and between those receiving whole body therapeutic hypothermia versus those receiving standard care. We will be analysing the seizure burden in preterm versus full term infants, together with changes in the vital signs such as heart rate, peripheral oxygenation and blood pressure, including changes in the regional cerebral oxygenation measured by near infrared spectrometry.

Data collection for this research project is based on the collaboration between the Neonatal Units at the Cork University Maternity Hospital and the University College of London. The validation and optimisation procedures for the Neonatal Automated Seizure Detection system are in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCC. The supervisors for my PhD research are Dr. Geraldine Boylan (EEG) and Professor Tony Ryan (Clinical).

Dr Keelin Murphy

Name: Dr Keelin Murphy
Position: Postdoctoral Researcher
T: +353 (0)21 420 5940
F: +353 (0)21 490 1605

Dr Keelin Murphy obtained her PhD from the University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands, in 2011. Her thesis focused on automated medical image analysis, specifically nodule detection and intra-patient registration in thoracic CT. Her research interests lie in the interdisciplinary area where computer science meets the interpretation of clinical scan data. She is currently with the neonatal brain research group working on the automatic analysis of EEG data from neonates.  

Ms. Catherine O'Connor

Name: Ms. Catherine O'Connor
Position: PhD Student
T: +353 (0)87 643 5049
E: catherine


Catherine O’Connor is a part-time PhD student with the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health under the supervision of Dr. Deirdre Murray and Dr. Geraldine Boylan. She is participating in the long term follow-up, at age five years, of a cohort of children with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE). The original study was undertaken by Dr. Deirdre Murray and colleagues.


The aim of the study is to investigate neurodevelopmental outcome of children with HIE, and to determine the predictive validity of continuous video EEG and other markers taken for each child during the neonatal period. Each participant’s intelligence and neuropsychological functioning will be measured using standardised assessments. Parental ratings of general behaviour and executive functioning will also be collected. Neurological, visual and hearing screenings will be offered.


Catherine has been working as a clinical psychologist at Enable Ireland Cork’s children’s services at the Lavanagh Centre for the past 15 years. Interdisciplinary medical, clinical and educational services are provided to children with a physical disability and their families. Her interests include the learning and neuropsychological implications of conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida/hydrocephalus and neuromuscular conditions in addition to children ‘at risk’ neurologically. She works in early intervention and with school aged children with a focus on supporting inclusive practices especially in preschool and primary school settings.


Her previous research interests have included the role of the ‘safety signal hypothesis’ for the measurement of anxiety in adult populations (master’s thesis), and the role of siblings in the life of people with disabilities.


Research articles


D’Arcy F, Flynn J, McCarthy Y, O’Connor C, Tierney E. Sibshops – An evaluation of an interagency model. Journal of Intellectual   Disabilities. 2005; 9(1): 43-57. Sage Publications


Murray DM, Bala P, O'Connor CM, Ryan CA, Connolly S, Boylan GB.  The predictive value of early neurological examination in neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy and neurodevelopmental outcome at 24 months. Dev Med Child Neurol.2010 Feb; 52(2): e55-e59.

Ms Laura O'Connell, BA(Appl Psych),MSc (Foundations in Clin Psych)

Name: Ms Laura O'Connell, BA(Appl Psych),MSc (Foundations in Clin Psych)
Position: Research Psychologist
T: +353 (0)21 420 5014/420 5015
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217
E: Laura.O'

My background is in Psychology, having completed the BA in Applied Psychology at UCC in 2005 and the MSc Clinical Psychology at the University of Bangor, Wales in 2008.

Previously, I have worked at the National Suicide Research Foundation on the National Registry of Deliberate Self Harm and a large scale RCT of deliberate self harm patients; University College Dublin at the National Centre for the Protection of Older People and more recently, Enable Ireland Cork on a longitudinal study examining quality of life and participation of adolescents with cerebral palsy.

I have a particular interest in factors that affect the neurodevelopment of children and am currently working on the BASELINE study led by Dr. Deirdre Murray.  I hope to examine effects of intrauterine and postnatal growth patterns on neurocognitive outcome at two years.

Ms Darina Sheehan, BSc, MSc (Nutritional Science)

Name: Ms Darina Sheehan, BSc, MSc (Nutritional Science)
Position: BASELINE Research Project Manager
T: +353 (0)21 420 5014
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

I moved to the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences to take up the position of Project Manager of the BASELINE Study which is led by Dr. Deirdre Murray. The BASELINE Study is a collaborative study involving the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences here in UCC and the Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.  My role within the study involves recruitment of mothers and babies, carrying out allergy and nutrition assessments and coordinating the BASELINE team.

My previous research work included working on the National Childrens' Food Survey, assessing dietary intake and physical activity levels of 600 primary school children in Ireland.  I then worked on a European project 'EuroFIR' (a European Network of Food Composition Databases) where I was database manager for the Bioactives database.

Ms Hazel Smith, BSc(Hons), MSc

Name: Ms Hazel Smith, BSc(Hons), MSc
Position: PhD Student
F: +353 (0)21 434 5217

I am PhD student with the BASELINE Study, Babies after Scope: Evaluating the Longitudinal Impact using Neurological and Nutritional Endpoints, which is initially focusing on allergies, vitamin D levels and the effect of poor growth in the womb on the first two years of life. 

Through working on the study as a research midwife from 2009-2012, I identified research gaps in infant nutrition and developed my PhD to address, for the first time, the health and developmental outcome of infants with different formula and protein exposures up to the point of weaning onto solid food. The main focus of my PhD is the effect of formula protein content on growth and neurodevelopmental outcome. I will also be investigating the effect of early feeding in the maternity hospital on breastfeeding and infant formula feeding practices.

My background is in midwifery and in 2009 I completed my MSc in Reproductive and Sexual Health Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health.



May 2012: Smith HA (2012) Formula supplementation and the risk of cow’s milk allergy British Journal of Midwifery 20(5); 345-350

January 2011: Becker GE, Cooney F, Smith HA. Methods of milk expression for lactating  women. Cochrane Database of Systematic  Reviews 2011, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD006170. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006170.pub3.         

Dr. Nathan Stevenson, BEng, MEng, PhD

Name: Dr. Nathan Stevenson, BEng, MEng, PhD
Position: Postdoc Research Fellow
T: +353 (0)21 490 1628
F: +353 (0)21 490 1594

My research involves the analysis of neonatal brain waves using advanced signal processing techniques. I am using the computer to automate the decision making process of an experienced neurophysiologist. The automation of this decision making process provides the experience of a trained neurophysiologist, around the clock, to clinical settings that may not have such access.  Automation of neonatal brain wave analysis also has the potential to be applied when long periods of data must be considered (for prognosis) or when the speed of a decision is crucial (for diagnosis).

Ms. Joanna Teahan-Dillon, BSc

Name: Ms. Joanna Teahan-Dillon, BSc
Position: Laboratory Technician
T: +353 (0)21 420 5029

Joanna joined the BASELINE team in March 2009 as Laboratory Technician. She graduated from CIT with a BSc in Applied Bio-Sciences and has previously worked in the Biochemistry Department of UCC, and in the Blood Testing Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Brian Walsh, BA, MB,BCh,BAO,MRCPI

Name: Dr. Brian Walsh, BA, MB,BCh,BAO,MRCPI
Position: Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinician Scientist Fellow/PhD Student
T: 353 (0)21 420 5040

My area of research involves the study of biomarkers of neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE).  The severity of HIE cannot always be determined in the immediate postnatal period, and can take up to 24 hours to appropriately assign.  With the introduction of therapeutic hypothermia, the early grading of HIE has become much more important, as only those with moderate or severe HIE should be cooled.  We are therefore measuring the levels of various proteins in the infant's system at birth, to establish if any of these biomarkers can accurately predict grade of HIE.  We will perform neurodevelopmental follow up on these children to assess if the biomarkers can not only be used to predict grade of HIE in the early neonatal period, but also if the markers drawn at birth can predict long term neurodevelopmental outcome.

My PhD is supervised by Dr. Deirdre Murray, Dr. Geraldine Boylan, Dr. Gene Dempsey and Dr. Louise Kenny.

Department of Paediatrics & Child Health

Péidiatraic agus Sláinte Leanaí

Floor 2, Paediatric Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork,