Meet the Team

Professor Mary Cannon

What's your job?

​I am a psychiatrist and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health problems.

How did you end up here?

​When I was in medical school I realised that my favourite part was the psychiatry course. So soon after qualifiying I started to specialize in psychiatry. I also realised that I loved doing research and I went to London to do further training in research. I love my job and feel that I am very lucky to have a combination of clinical and academic work.

What are your hobbies?

​I have 5 children and work full-time so there is not much time for hobbies!  I love reading and going to the cinema and theatre and listening to music.

What's the next challenge?

​The next challenge is to find ways to prevent mental illnesses developing in the first place. That is why it is so important to learn about young people and how they cope with stress and learn to overcome difficulties. Another challenge for mental health in Ireland is how to design services that are suitable for young people particularly teenagers and young adults. At the moment our services are most geared towards young children or older adults.

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What's your job?

I am a psychiatrist and a professor in the Department of Psychiatry in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health problems.

How did you end up here?

By mistake and few wrong directions, but ended up in a great area -  doing research and clinical work and working generally with dedicated enthusiastic talented people.

What are your hobbies?

Rewilding and planting oak trees. Looking after 5 kids doesn’t count as a hobby.

What's the next challenge?

Prevent mental illnesses developing in the first place.

Professor

David Cotter

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Dr. Bobby Smyth

What's your job?

I am a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and I work with young people who have run into difficulties related to their use of drugs and alcohol. My team and I help those young people, who have become trapped in a pattern of problematic substance use, to build healthier & happier lifestyles for themselves.

How did you end up here?

As a trainee doctor, I found mental health problems to be very interesting so I trained in Psychiatry. I enjoyed working with teenagers and I like treating people with addiction issues, so I’ve managed to find a job where I can combine both interests.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy road cycling, although I’m pretty slow! While I don’t get to do it too often, I love snowboarding.

What's the next challenge?

Right now, I’m pretty passionate about ensuring people have access to good information about alcohol and drugs, so they can make informed choices for themselves. There’s a lot of myths out there! Apart from that, I’m doing my best to eek as much as fun and activity as I can out of my aging body.

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Dr. Erik O'Hanlon

What's your job?

I'm a Research Scientist who specializes in imaging.

How did you end up here?

I started off in uni doing engineering. My father was diagnosed with parkinsons disease so I decided to go back and do a masters degree in medical imaging & medical science. I then moved into clinical engineering working in the field of diagnostic imaging. This was really interesting so I did a PhD in experimental psychology based around neuroimaging.

What are your hobbies?

I love sports and keeping fit through things like running, cycling and martial arts. I'm especially interested in the physics behind martial arts. I'm constantly curious and love learning new things. There's always some idea mulling over in the back of my head. ​

What's the next challenge?

I'm interested in merging people's expertise from different fields to help gain a greater understanding of how things work. For example, biologists and physicists coming together to use the latest imaging tools to peer into the workings of our brain. This could allow us to intervene earlier with illness and to push the ultimate capacity of our brain.

The only limit to science is our imagination. If you don't dream, you can't do it.

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Niamh Dooley

What's your job?

Research Assistant for the Department of Psychiatry in RCSI, although I'm based in Trinity College Dublin most of the time.

How did you end up here?

I've always been interested in psychology and how people think.  I did a degree in Psychology in Galway and went to the Netherlands to do a Masters degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. I also am a big sleepwalker & talker so I'm quite interested in how our brain works when we’re asleep!

What are your hobbies? 

I enjoy camogie and have played abroad with the Holland & Europe team, and am currently playing back home with Portobello, Dublin! I also love dogs but unfortunately I don’t have any so have to get my fix via the dogs off Instagram. 

What's the next challenge?

My biggest interest is how the time you were in the womb might affect your mental health later in life. I hope to start a PhD in that area next year. I hope to stay in academic research and perhaps do some lecturing in this area. 

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What's your job?

I'm a PhD student in the Department of Psychiatry in RCSI, and like Niamh I'm based in Trinity College Dublin most of the time.

How did you end up here?

Originally I wanted to do medicine but I ended up choosing psychology in Galway and then went to the Netherlands to do a Masters in Clinical Neuropsychology. I'm now doing a PhD in Neuropsychology and Psychiatry. 

What are your hobbies?

I like to run and cycle. I also love travelling and am just back from backpacking in Vietnam.

What's the next challenge?

I'm considering working in the pharmaceutical industry where I'd love to do clinical research and drug trials. 

Eleanor Carey

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What's your job?

​I'm a research scientist, specialising in psychosis and cannabis research.

How did you end up here?

​I studied psychology for my undergraduate degree, and found that the topics that interested me most related to how our brains work in sickness and in health. After this, I did a Masters degree in Neuroscience, and worked for a few years as an assistant psychologist. I then went back into research, and did a PhD in Biological Psychiatry. Both my PhD research and my current work have a technical side (e.g. working with neuroimaging, and drug development), and a human side (e.g. working directly with people with psychosis or mental health difficulties), which I really enjoy.

What are your hobbies?

​I love art (I nearly studied art instead of psychology in college!), and I like working with my hands, so when I get a chance I like to make things – jewellery, pottery, lino printing, wood work – anything messy.

What's the next challenge?

​I think the next challenges are to find ways to prevent mental illnesses developing in the first place, and to find new and better ways of treating mental illnesses when they do develop.

Aisling O'Neill

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What's your job?

I'm a secondary school teacher in St Colmcille's Community School. I teach Science, Maths, Technical Graphics and film making.​ I also ran the team who created this website.

How did you end up here?

I originally trained as a Mechanical Engineer and worked in product development. I then spent several years working with charities in Ireland and Ghana and finally made the choice to train as a teacher. All the jobs were great but teaching is my favourite.

What are your hobbies?

I used to do a lot of windsurfing and surfing but that's on hold for a few years with small children! I love learning, whether it's knowledge or skills and am currently doing a lot of woodwork projects.

What's the next challenge?

Teaching is a fascinating job and I'm always looking at ways to improve what I do in the classroom. Beyond that, I'm really interested in ways to improve our education system and how to make those changes happen.

Andrew Bates

Website Team Members

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Andrew Bates - Team leader

Jess Lyons - Film director & editor

Siobhan Walsh - Artwork and web design

Saidbh Phelan - Artwork and video editing

Naoise Coyne - Artwork

Ian Downey - Actor

Olivia Burke - Actor & musical score

Dónal Campbell - Project management

Organisations

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For over 200 years The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland has played a major role in medical education and training in Ireland. Founded in 1784 to train surgeons, today the College provides extensive education and training in the healthcare professions at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience (TCIN) is a Trinity Research Institute (TRI) with 300 researchers from a wide range of disciplines including Psychology, Psychiatry, Physiology, Pharmacology, Medicine, Biochemistry, Engineering, and Genetics, among others. These diverse disciplinary origins contribute to its core activities: promoting and supporting interdisciplinary basic and translational research, as well as teaching, public engagement, and national leadership in Neuroscience.

The Health Research Board (HRB) is a state agency that supports research and provides evidence to prevent illness, improve health and transform patient care. 

An important part of the Health Research Board’s (HRB) Strategy 2016 - 2020 is to encourage the translation of research knowledge from the research setting into real world settings.

St Colmcille's Community School is a co-educational post-primary school in Knocklyon, Dublin 16 that prides itself on the pursuit of excellence through an innovative approach to education. Students and teachers from this school have played a key role in shaping the project and testing out the activities and concepts that are found on this website.

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