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Our lab featured in the American Psychosomatic Society (APS) 2019 Summer Newsletter, read it here to learn more about our lab members! 

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Professor Stephen Gallagher 


I completed by undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Liverpool, followed by an MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire and finished by PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Birmingham, in 2008. I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick as a Lecturer in September 2010. My research interests are investigating the ways that stress, in particular chronic stress (e.g. caregiving, unemployment, loneliness) is damaging for health. I examine the interactions between psychosocial, behavioural and biological processes and their implications for health.  My work encompasses both naturalistic and experimental methodologies and I am keen to conduct meaningful research with real world impact. Hence my collaborations often extend beyond the realm of academia.  

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Dr Siobhan Howard

I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at UL. Prior to coming to UL I worked in the Centre for Occupational and Life Stress at NUI Galway and subsequently as lecturer in psychology at Mary Immaculate College.

My research focuses on the influence of personality and environmental factors on physiological responses to stress. Across nearly 10 years of research, my work has investigated what psychological constructs and social variables moderate how an individual responds to, and experiences, stress, focusing on both healthy populations and vulnerable groups. One of the main strands of my research programme examines the cardio-toxic personality known as Type D. This personality type has been associated with negative health outcomes in patient samples. My research programme was the first to examine why this personality type might confer increased risk of negative outcomes in patient samples by identifying that healthy Type D individuals, free from the confounding variables that disease diagnosis brings, also experienced negative health outcomes and altered patterns of physiological response to stress.

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Dr. Ann-Marie Creaven 


Following my undergraduate degree in Psychology at NUI Galway, I undertook my doctorate in the School of Psychology and the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress. Funded by NUI Galway and by IRCHSS, my doctoral research tested social and health psychology theories of giving and receiving support on well-being and physiological responses to stress, in young adult and parent-child populations. During this time I also collaborated on an NIH-funded study of at-risk parents and children, based in Pennsylvania State University. After my PhD I joined the Educational Research Centre in Drumcondra. Here I worked on several projects including large-scale international assessments of reading, mathematics, and science achievement (PIRLS, TIMSS, and PISA), the evaluation of the DEIS intervention at primary and post-primary level, and the on-going census of ICT infrastructure in schools, on behalf of the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE).

I joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Limerick as a Lecturer in September 2013. My research interests are in biological, social, health, and developmental psychology, and the application of psychology to policy issues in health and education. My teaching interests are in these areas, and also in the development of research methods competency and scientific literacy in social science.

Education: PhD (NUI) BA Psychology (NUI) Dip. Gaeilge (NUI)


​Contact click here

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Dr. Páraic Ó Súilleabháin


Dr Páraic Ó Súilleabháin is a Lecturer in Psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, Ireland. Páraic also serves as the Research Coordinator on the Clinical Psychology Doctorate Programme.

Páraic’s research is primarily focused on the biobehavioural processes underlying disease and mortality. Páraic examines the associations between biobehavioural factors (such as personality traits, loneliness, stress) on the accumulative lifespan development and progression of disease (such as cardiovascular disease) and resulting mortality trajectories across the lifespan. Páraic also conducts research on the interaction between humans and domestic dogs (canis familiaris). He has received several awards, and both national and international recognition for his research. Páraic is interested in supervising PhD projects in some of the areas or related areas described above. Contact Páraic via e-mail for possible opportunities.

​Contact click here:

Click here for Publications: 

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Dr Niamh Higgins


I am a lecturer in Psychology in the Depatment of Psychology at Mary Immaculate College, at the University of Limerick. I completed my PhD in Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. My thesis examined the effect of threat-related attentional bias on anxiety responses to stress. My current research focuses on the influence of psychosocial variables, including personality and cognition, on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Together with colleagues in the SASHLab I am currently examining associations between psychosocial and behavioural factors and cardiovascular reactions to acute psychological stress.

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Dr Grace McMahon


Currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Psychology Department. My research area focuses on social relationships and health; investigating the impact of social support and attachment on the psychological and physiological well-being of young adults. I am also currently working as part of our sister lab, the GroWTH lab.


Contact: Grace



Dr Siobhán Griffin

Qualifications:  PhD, B.Ed (1st Hons) in Education and Psychology


Siobhán is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology since February 2021, as part of our sister lab the GroWTH lab. Prior to this she worked as a lecturer in the Department since September 2019.

Siobhán is particularly interested in the interplay between emotion regulation style, depression, and social identity, and how this in turn influence physical health. She has a strong focus on how these factors influence cardiovascular reactivity to stress. She is an advocate of Open Science practices and a strong supporter of large multi-lab projects.

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Adam O' Riordan



Role: PhD Student


Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts (1st Hons) in Psychology and Sociology.


After graduating from the University of Limerick with a BA in Psychology and Sociology, Adam was employed as a research assistant at the Department of Psychology for several months. Adam is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Limerick. His research primarily examines how individuals with Type D personality physiologically respond to acute psychological stressors. More specifically, Adam’s research investigates negative social relationships and perceived social support as potential mediators, facilitating the relationship between Type D personality and physiological responses to stress.

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Tracey Keogh

Education: B.Sc. Psychology (UL, First Class) 

Tracey was an undergraduate Psychology student here in UL and is currently in year 4 of her PhD. She is currently being supervised by Prof Stephen Gallagher and Dr Siobhan Howard. Tracey's thesis is examining the mediators (motivation) and moderators (early life adversity) of the depression and cardiovascular reactivity relationship. 


Contact via email:

Tracey Keogh (

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Aisling Costello

Role: PhD Student


I am currently in my third year, of which cardiovascular recovery from acute stress (rather than reactivity) is the primary focus of my research. I am interested in how the total duration of physiological activation (anticipatory stress, recovery from stress, recurrent activity related to past stress) rather than the acute magnitude of the stress response contributes to disease development. Investigating methodological issues relating to the operationalisation of recovery is the starting point of my research. However, my research also aims to evaluate psychological factors, specifically rumination and how this personality trait pre-disposes a person to demonstrate poor cardiovascular recovery from stress, and therefore a vulnerability to stress-related disease.

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Rosemary Daynes Kearney


I am a PhD researcher focusing on Online Support Groups for Family Caregivers. I graduated from UCD after receiving my BA in Psychology in 2001, and completed by MA in Development Studies in 2004. I also hold Advanced Diplomas in Data Protection and Social Media Law from KingsInns. I have worked in the Community and Voluntary sector both in Ireland and Internationally, and for 10 years supported family carers in Ireland through Crosscare Carer Support Programme.


I have a strong interest in social justice and am focused on research that has real-world positive impacts for people.



Twitter: @DaynesKearney

Researchgate: Rosemary Daynes Kearney

Orcid ID: 0000-0003-2340-1934

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Emma Kirwan


Education: B.Sc. Psychology (1st Hons), M.Sc. Health Psychology (1st Hons)


I’m currently a PhD student researching loneliness in young adulthood. Prior to my PhD, I was an undergraduate Psychology student here at UL and subsequently completed a master’s degree in Health Psychology at NUI Galway.

My research interests include young adults’ development and well-being. Specifically, my PhD research aims to identify what contributes to the risk of loneliness in young adults. I hope to advance the research in this field by conducting a survey study that is informed by multi-disciplinary approaches to loneliness and the perspectives of young adults in Ireland.


Click here for publications.



Aoife Bowman Grangel


Education:  BSc in Psychology


I am a PhD researcher interested in examining the effects of caregiving on the psychological and physical well-being of young carers. I graduated from my BSc in Psychology at the University of Limerick in 2021, and I am delighted to be welcomed back as a member of the SASHLab team! My passion for research has grown throughout my undergraduate, as I worked alongside various research groups within UL’s Psychology Department. My interest in the effects of caregiving blossomed when I secured a volunteer position working with Care Alliance Ireland during the Covid-19 Pandemic. I am interested in all aspects of Health, Biological, and Social Psychology.

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Inside row: Dr. Stephen Gallagher, Dr Ann-Marie Creaven, Dr Katie Andrews, Dr Grace McMahon, Dr Eoin Brown, Dr Páraic O'Súilleabháin

Outside row: Dr Siobhán Howard, Aisling Costello (PhD Student), Dr Siobhán Griffin (middle), Tracey Keogh (PhD student), & Adam O'Riordan (PhD student).

Lab Alumni

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Dr. Rachel Sumner (Project Manager - UL Spit Study)


Rachel completed her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Health Psychology at Staffordshire University before completing her PhD in Psychoneuroimmunology at Brunel University in 2012. Her thesis examined the relationship between Hemispheric Lateralisation and immunity, with her research project focused on HIV patients. She started her current postdoctoral position at the University of Limerick in October 2014 to work as project manager on the Irish Research Council funded SASH Lab project, looking at stress and employment status.


Rachel’s work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals and has been presented at international conferences. She also reviews for one of the leading international journals of psychoneuroimmunology (Journal of Neuroimmunology).


For a complete list of Rachel's publications and to connect with her on researchgate please click here.

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Brenda O’Connell

Current lecturer in Psychology NUI Maynooth, previously at the University of Limerick 


She is interested in how psychologically positive concepts can serve to optimize health and well-being. Her current research seeks to identify how practicing gratitude can be fostered and targeted to improve relationships, and subsequently life satisfaction and measures of physical health.

Education:  PhD (UL), BA Psychology & Sociology (UL, First Class)


Contact click here

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Ana Rocío Conde (Neuroscience Researcher)


PhD student: Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville, Spain


Research Interests: My research is focused on studying the neuronal mechanisms underlying interactive behaviors between animals from an (in vivo) electrophysiological perspective.

Contact: Here 


Dr Eoin Brown

Eoin was a psychology PhD student here in UL. Eoin's thesis examined how loneliness influences physiology in both younger and older adults and is funded by the Irish Research Council.


Education: PhD, B.A. Psychology & Sociology (UL, First Class) 


Dr Katie Andrews


Qualifications: PhD, MSc, BSc in Psychology


Katie completed a MSc in Psychological Science at the University of Limerick and subsequently began a PhD under the supervision of Prof Stephen Gallagher and Dr Siobhán Howard (SASHLab) and Dr Matthew Herring (Department of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick).


Katie’s research is focused on how psychological and physiological stressors impact firefighters during a fire emergency. Her research has involved designing, implementing, and validating a simulated emergency task (SET). The SET is designed to encapsulate the stressors experienced by firefighters during an emergency while psychological and physiological responses are measured.



Recent Collaborators




Prof Kate Bennett, University of Liverpool, UK

Dr Annie Ginty, University of Baylor, Texas, USA


Dr Samantha Dockray, and the BEATsLab Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland


Prof Brian Hughes, Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland


Dr Eimear Lee, Department of Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, U.K.


Professor Anna Whittaker, University of Stirling Scotland, UK 


Professor Mark Wetherell, Northumbria University, UK 

Dr Michael Smith, Northumbria University, UK


Dr Louise Roper, University of Liverpool, UK

Professor Orla Muldoon, University of Limerick

Professor Alejandro Castro Solano,University of Palmero, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Alexandra Tyra, Baylor University, USA

Ailbhe Dempsey

Education:  BA Psychological Studies & MA in Psychology


I am a PhD researcher interested in the role of religion, spirituality and social support on cardiovascular reactions to acute stress. I am a BA graduate (Psychological Studies) from NUI-G, and graduated with a 1st class honours in my MA in Psychology from UL in 2021. My PhD research aims to disentangle the effects of religion, spiritualty and social support on their relationships with cardiovascular reactions to acute stressors. This work is being supervised by Prof Stephen Gallagher and Dr Siobhan Howard

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