Isabel Elane Allen, Biostattistics & Epidemilolgy

Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, PhD, MRCP

clinical senior lecturer in clinical medicine and Consultant in General Medicine at St James's Hospital, Dublin

Trinity College Dublin
TCD Faculty Profile
Professional Profile
Key Areas: psychosocial stress, homelessness, aging, innate immunity, autophagy

Coupling our clinical experience with GBHI provides an opportunity to understand and address the link between social exclusion and brain health.

Clíona Ní Cheallaigh is an infectious diseases and internal medicine physician in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, and clinical senior lecturer in clinical medicine. She is the principal investigator of the HRB-funded PATH study which looks at premature ageing in long-term homeless adults. She brings to GBHI clinical and research expertise in social determinants of health, health equity, implementation, and chronic inflammation. Ní Cheallaigh’s clinical and research interests center on the health of excluded individuals: homeless people, injecting drug users, and other marginalized groups. She has established an inclusion medicine service within St. James’s Hospital to provide integrated, active case management-based care to these individuals in the hospital and in outreach clinics to addiction services.

Her research seeks to look at the effect of the extreme psychosocial stress experienced by excluded individuals on three levels: the cellular/immune activating consequences of this stress, the effect of this stress on health, particularly frailty and brain health, and on health services adaptation to meet the needs of this population. Her cellular biology work is informed by her doctorate studies in the Department of Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, culminating in the Immunity publication of findings on a novel role for the signaling adaptor protein, mal. Her immunological interests lie within innate immunity—particularly autophagy—and with examining the mechanisms through which psychosocial stress causes immune activation and through which low-grade chronic inflammation affects brain health and aging.

At GBHI, Ní Cheallaigh provides fellows and scholars the opportunity to see the dramatic effects of socioeconomic deprivation and psychosocial stress on brain health, as well as the challenges associated with ensuring that medical advances reach marginalized groups.

Bio: Clíona Ní Cheallaigh is an infectious diseases and internal medicine physician. She graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2003 with a first-class honors degree and a Gold Medal. She started her specialist training in infectious diseases and internal medicine in 2007. In 2008, she was a recipient of an Irish Health Research Board/Health Services Executive National SpR Academic Fellowship Award, which funded integrated training as a clinical academic. She completed her specialist training in infectious diseases and internal medicine in 2016. She is currently a senior lecturer in medical gerontology and clinical lead of a pilot inclusion health service in St. James’s Hospital dedicated to improving access to specialist hospital care for marginalized individuals.