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Home » About Us » Our Board

Our Board of Directors (also known as Trustees)

Chairperson, HRCI Board/ Operations Manager & Deputy Head of School – Partnerships School of Population Health, RCSI

Brian Lynch

Chairperson, HRCI Board/
Operations Manager &
Deputy Head of School – Partnerships
School of Population Health,

Brian Lynch is Operations Manager and Deputy Head of School – Partnerships with the School of Population Health, RCSI.

He has previously served as Chair of the HRCI Advocacy and Communications Committee and now represents HRCI on the Irish Health Research Forum Steering Group. Prior to joining RCSI, Brian was Head of Communications and Advocacy with Arthritis Ireland.

Secretary, HRCI Board/ Head of Advocacy, Research and Policy,DEBRA Ireland

Dr Sinéad Hickey

Secretary, HRCI Board/
Head of Advocacy, Research and Policy,
DEBRA Ireland

Sinéad is Head of Advocacy, Research and Policy at Debra. Debra is a national charity providing support and advocacy to people living with the debilitating skin condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and drives research into treatments and cures for those living with the condition. Debra participates in national and international research projects as a social impact partner and co-funder and facilitates PPI in EB research. Sinéad has 20 years’ of experience working in skin research.  She sits on the executive committee of the national EB registry and is an ePAG member for ERN Skin.

Treasurer, HRCI Board/ Chief Financial Officer,Phoenix Technologies

Jonathan O'Connell

Treasurer, HRCI Board/
Chief Financial Officer,
Phoenix Technologies

Jonathan is a senior finance executive with over 25 years experience in managing companies during periods of high growth in the technology and life science industries combined with extensive expertise in leading and managing fundraisings, public listings, acquisitions and trade sales.

CEO,SJOG Research Foundation

Dr Lesley O'Hara

SJOG Research Foundation

Dr O’Hara is the Chief Executive Officer of the Saint John of God Research Foundation clg. Saint John of God provides mental health and intellectual disability services throughout Ireland, the UK, and Malawi. Lesley is responsible for the strategic development of research activities across these services, ensuring that a culture of research and innovation is promoted and supported through a robust governance structure, annual research funding scheme, and the delivery of research education and training. Dr O’Hara has a PhD in critical health psychology, with a focus on the lived experience of managing chronic illness. Her subsequent post-doctoral research has explored mental health including eating disorders, and the transition from child to adult mental health services across Europe.

Research Manager, Breakthrough Cancer Research

Dr Frances Drummond

Research Manager,
Breakthrough Cancer Research

Dr Frances Drummond has been working with Breakthrough Cancer Research since October 2019. Having qualified with a PhD in Biochemistry from University College Cork, Frances shifted her focus to patient focused research for her post-doctoral career. She has fifteen years of experience in cancer research in the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and University College Cork. Frances has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers and reports. She is also a fully IACP accredited counsellor and psychotherapist. Frances believes passionately that research is vital to improve health and survival at both the individual and the population level.

Head of Research, Irish Cancer Society

Dr Claire Kilty

Head of Research,
Irish Cancer Society

Claire Kilty is the Head of Research at the Irish Cancer Society. As part of her role, she leads the research team to oversee the Irish Cancer Society research funding portfolio, implements cancer research strategy, and communicates to the public about the research funded by the Society as well as the latest cancer research developments.

Claire is extremely passionate about ensuring that the patient voice is at the heart of cancer research and manages the Society’s public and patient involvement panel. She works together with people affected by cancer to ensure public and patient involvement in research is central to both the Irish Cancer Society’s research funding processes and the national cancer research community.

Prior to her role in the Society, Claire was Research Manager in UCD working on developing a One Health Research strategy across the university. She has also previously worked as Programme Manager for the UCD Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research; BREAST-PREDICT, Irish Cancer Society’s first Collaborative Cancer Research Centre; and SYS-MEL, an EU FP7 funded Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways grant. Claire has a PhD in Genetics, and three years postdoctoral experience working in ocular drug discovery.

Digital Health Innovation Lead, FutureNeuro Research Centre, RCSI

Dr Laura Brady

Digital Health Innovation Lead,
FutureNeuro Research Centre,

Laura is currently Digital Health Innovation Lead at the FutureNeuro SFI Research Centre, driving a data and digital health strategy towards enriched health and wellbeing for people living with neurological disease. Previously, she managed a Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund initiative at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Prior to that, Laura was Head of Research at Fighting Blindness where she led their research strategic plan 2017-2021, heightened capacity around public and patient involvement and coordinated Target 5000, a national registry for rare retinal disease. Laura holds a B.A. (Mod.) and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin, along with a Professional Diploma in Leading Digital Health Transformation from RCSI.

Head of Research and Regulatory Data Insights,Medical Council Ireland

Dr Bernadette Rock

Head of Research and Regulatory Data Insights,
Medical Council Ireland

Dr Bernadette Rock is Head of Research and Regulatory Data Insights at the Medical Council, where she contributes to developing and implementing its research programme and supporting functions across the Council. Previously, Bernadette worked in The Alzheimer Society of Ireland as Policy and Research Manager, where she developed and implemented a national dementia research strategy. Bernadette is keenly interested in supporting and empowering the patient/public voice in research. This is reflected in her research roles in The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, National Children’s Hospital and the Childhood Development Initiative. Bernadette is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin, where she obtained a Masters in Sociology and Social Research and a PhD in Sociology.

CEO, Adelaide Health Foundation

Niamh Gavin

Adelaide Health Foundation

Niamh joined the Adelaide Health Foundation [AHF] in 2016. The AHF are an independent charity focused on advancing and promoting equitable access to healthcare services and education in Ireland, through support of education and research.

Niamh is passionate about the organisation’s mission to advance healthcare and as CEO, works with AHF Board and team to deliver the organisation’s strategy through community, research and education programmes. In her current role, Niamh works with stakeholders in Tallaght University Hospital, TCD, the HSE, government departments and local community organisations.

Prior to joining the AHF, Niamh worked on the Executive of The Wheel, Ireland’s national association of charities, community groups and social enterprises, which is where her interest in charity governance was honed. Before moving to work full time in the community and voluntary sector in 2012, Niamh held several management positions in the private sector.

Central Remedial Clinic

Michael Walsh

Central Remedial Clinic

Bio to follow

Interim CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland

Sarah Tecklenborg

Interim CEO,
Cystic Fibrosis Ireland

Dr Sarah Tecklenborg was appointed Interim CEO in February 2024. Sarah joined CFI in December 2019 as Senior Research and Policy Coordinator, bringing extensive research and management experience with her. Since then, Sarah established Public and Patient Involvement (PPI) programmes, support groups such as the Pregnancy Support and Advocacy Group, and has been instrumental in campaigning for better CF care and access to medications.

Prior to CFI, Sarah worked in the HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme and the Health Research Board. Dr Tecklenborg graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a BA in Microbiology, a MSc in Global Health and a PhD in Molecular Epidemiology. Following this she undertook three post-doctoral research positions in the Royal College of Surgeons in the areas of Epidemiology, Sexual Health and Pharmacoeconomics.

Link to Irish Government websiteLink to Pobal websiteLink to Health Research Board website