Meet UCD Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Find out more about our team of clinicians, lecturers and researchers and their areas of expertise.

Professor Fiona McNicholas

Prof Fiona McNicholas + Prof Andrew Deeks

Professor Fiona McNicholas, MD FRCPsych Dip Clin Psychotherapy‌

Full UCD Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Lucena Clinic, Rathgar, Dublin
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Dublin

Prof McNicholas’ clinical and research interests lie in ADHD, eating disorders, psychotropic medication use and mental health disorders in 22q11DS. She has published extensively in these areas. An active teacher, she runs postgraduate courses in child mental health, and training events for teachers and other professionals working with children. She is passionate about increasing public, professional and family awareness of mental health problems in children and providing information regarding treatment and prevention. 

Prof McNicholas trained in Psychiatry in Guys Hospital, London, and in Child Psychiatry in Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. She carried out a research fellowship in Stanford University, CA in 1999-2001 and returned there as Visiting Professor in 2013/2014. She was Assistant Professor at Columbia University, NY prior to her appointment as chair in UCD in 2001.

She has been awarded over €1 million as Principal Investigator in research grants in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and is Co-Investigator on grants awarded of nearly €8 million including the current EU 7th Framework programme CER, EU MILESTONE PROJECT (2013-2018) on the transition from child to adult mental health care. She is currently PI on projects comparing Growing Up in Ireland population-based data with CAMHS clinical data and the UCD Foundation Newman ADHD Shire Fellowship, exploring attitudes and social representations of ADHD in Ireland, in primary care, education, the media and the criminal justice system.

Former research studies include the iTRACK study of transition from CAMHS to adult mental services in Ireland; the STEDI study of knowledge of and attitudes towards eating disorders in Ireland and pathways to care; eating problems in children and adolescents; consultation and advice in child psychiatry community settings with treatment as usual; medical, psychological, and cognitive outcomes of low birth weight; and selective mutism.

Assoc. Prof Elizabeth Barrett

Dr Elizabeth Barrett

Associate Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Consultant in Child and Adolescent Liaison Psychiatry, Children's University Hospital, Temple Street.

Elizabeth graduated from University College Cork. Her early interest in the interface between physical illness and mental health stemmed from basic training and membership examinations in paediatric medicine prior to training in Psychiatry. She completed the Dublin University rotational training programme and completing Higher Specialist training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Ireland. She worked at Great Ormond Street and the South London and Maudsley Trust prior to taking up her post at Temple St and UCD. She has extensive experience of supporting young people and their families throughout their journey through paediatric services and during transition periods to other services. Clinically, Dr Barrett advocates for enhanced services for children and adolescents with both medical and mental health illnesses in paediatric settings.

From a clinical and research perspective, she has an interdisciplinary focus, appreciating the importance of interfacing across the hospital in a liaison psychiatry service to support children and their families, and welcomes the opportunity to develop links with paediatric and surgical colleagues. She has developed several national postgraduate training initiatives in conjunction with UCD, the College of Psychiatry of Ireland, the RCPI and with the Lucena Clinic. She has been involved with undergraduate, postgraduate and interdisciplinary training at UCD, TCD, the RCPI, the College of Psychiatry of Ireland and has previously been a guest lecturer at UCL, KCL and UCC.

Current projects include the international Trainee Burnout (BOSS) Study, the CAP-STATE study (exploring Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training in Europe). She is also the lead for an interdisciplinary conference in 2017 at UCD, titled "Mind Reading: Mental Health and the written word".

For more information on Dr Barrett.

Associate Professor Blánaid Gavin

Associate Professor Blánaid Gavin

UCD Associate Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Children’s Mental Health Clinic, Dublin

Blánaid has a particular interest in the early recognition and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people and has worked with a broad range of agencies to promote awareness of young people’s mental health needs. She has led and contributed to the development of many training courses in Child and Adolescent Mental Health for psychiatric trainees, teachers, GPs and multidisciplinary colleagues and has organised multiple local, national and international conferences. Her research has explored the role of primary care in youth mental health; psychosis in adolescents; and the perspectives of young people in informing service developments.

Blánaid led and co-authored the Trasna Project – a unique project aimed at establishing the views of young people attending psychiatric services. She has published on various topics related to children’s mental health, and co-authored a Mental Health Handbook for Teachers as well as the Irish College of General Practitioners National Guideline’s on Children’s Mental Health and the National Guidelines on Psychosis. Her current research focus is ADHD. She has also worked with many voluntary agencies and support groups to promote the development of services for children with mental health difficulties.

Blánaid trained in UCD, St John of Gods and the Colombia University Child Psychiatry Institute, New York. She is a past Chair and Board Member of the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) and established the ACAMH Special Interest Group in Youth Mental Health in Dublin. This led to the first International Summit on Youth Mental Health and precipitated the International Declaration on Youth Mental Health (2011) of which she is a co-author.

Research Profile

Associate Professor Aisling Mulligan

Assoc. Prof Aisling Mulligan MD, DCH, MRCPCH, MRCPsych, MSc (CBT)

UCD Associate Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dublin North City and County CAMHS (previously Mater CAMHS) 

Assoc. Prof Mulligan has an interest in environmental and genetic influences in ADHD, in particular the influence of the home environment in ADHD. She has collaborated with national and international research groups on topics including neuroimaging in adults with ADHD and neuropsychological endophenotype studies in ADHD. She is currently academic leader of the UCD/Mater Masters in Child Art Psychotherapy and has been a key influence in the development of a post-MSc 2 year graduate clinical training programme in Child Art Psychotherapy.

Assoc. Prof Mulligan qualified from Trinity College Dublin in 1995 and trained in paediatrics prior to training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She completed an MD in the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin; her doctoral thesis was on the topic of familial symptoms of autism in children with ADHD, and the association of symptoms of autism with oppositional, language and motor disorders in ADHD. She has authored or co-authored 37 peer reviewed articles as well as a book chapter and book on autism symptoms in children with ADHD. 



Dr Lesley O'Hara

Dr Lesley O’Hara BA, MSc (Psychology), PhD (Psychology)

Postdoctoral researcher, MILESTONE project. Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Together with Prof Fiona McNicholas, Dr O’Hara is responsible for Ireland’s participation in the MILESTONE project, an EU-FP7 study of transition from child to adult mental health services across Europe. Dr O’Hara’s research interests lie in the field of critical health psychology. She is particularly concerned with the lived experience of illness, whether physical (men’s health; diabetes management) or mental illness (eating disorders; child and adolescent mental health). In addition to her research, Dr O’Hara lectures on the subject of eating disorders and research methods, and supervises students at PhD and MSc levels in UCD and DBS.

Dr O’Hara holds a BA in Psychological Studies, Sociology and Politics from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and an MSc and PhD in Psychology from Nottingham Trent University, UK.


The MILESTONE study is an EU-wide, eight country (Ireland, UK, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, and Netherlands) study of transition from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services (AMHS). It aims to strengthen transitional care, including appropriate service discharge, across healthcare systems. MILESTONE will be the first to delineate an evidence-based decision-making process for identifying those who must transition to AMHS, those who can be managed by other services, and those who can be discharged from CAMHS. It will also be the first to evaluate longitudinal outcomes and experiences of young people who reach the CAMHS transition boundary in EU countries with varying service structures, transition ages, service provision and care.

This 5-year study involves nine work packages. Ireland’s research team is participating in the longitudinal cohort study, and is also responsible for the ethics work package. This involves overseeing the ethical conduct of the study and developing new clinical, organisational, policy and ethics guidelines for improving care and outcomes for young people approaching the age of transition from CAMHS.


Dr Aleksandra (Ola) Gronostaj-Miara

Dr Aleksandra (Ola) Gronostaj-Miara, MA (Social Sciences), PhD (Psychology)

Post-doctoral researcher, St John of God’s

Ola is working on a project led by Prof Fiona McNicholas, the Growing Up in Ireland and Children in CAMHS study. It examines similarities and differences between children attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and those identified by the Growing Up in Ireland cohort study as having emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Ola earned her masters and doctoral degrees at Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. Her research to date has explored mood and social support in illness, and connections between mood and memory. Her PhD (supervised by Prof W?adys?aw ?osiak) addressed social support and stress management in patients facing life threatening diseases. She recruited oncological patients and their spouses from across nine hospitals in Poland to complete week long diaries describing their mood and support exchanges. As part of a cross-university group in Cracow she worked on a project led by Dr Borys?aw Paulewicz, that aimed to solve some of the methodological shortcomings typical for memory bias research by identifying new ways of measuring the connections between mood and memory.

She has taught undergraduate courses on subjects such as Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Psychology of Social Maladjustment, and Diagnosis and Therapy of Youth with Behavioural Disorders.

The GUCCI project:

Growing Up and Children in CAMHS in Ireland Study:  Translating population-based findings into a clinical context. Comparative analysis of Growing Up in Ireland and CAMHS

The GUCCI project seeks to translate findings of the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) cohort study into clinical practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. GUI has identified several trajectories and complex interaction models of health, psychological, social and environmental factors in children's lives in Ireland. The GUCCI project seeks to identify whether young people identified through GUI analysis as having emotional and behavioural disorders are similar to the group attending child and adolescent mental health services. Establishing similarities and differences will allow prediction of factors associated with risk or resilience and exploration why some individuals, identified as at risk, are not attending services.


Ms Fabiola Honorio Neto

Fabiola Honorio Neto BA (Psychology), PGDip (Public Mental Health)

PhD Scholar (Science without Borders), Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Funding: CAPES- Federal Agency, Ministry of Education, Brazil.

Supervisors: Prof. Fiona McNicholas, Dr. Blánaid Gavin, Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden

Brazilian collaborator: Guilherme Polanczyk, Assistant Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of São Paulo Medical School, Brazil.

Fabiola is exploring clinicians’ views of ADHD, of their clinical practice and experiences of young people and their families. Her research interests are in ADHD, health professionals’ attitudes, community-based health services, interdisciplinary collaboration for child MH, transcultural child psychiatry, and the use of art as a child-centred research method.

Fabiola obtained her BA in Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Mental Health Science in Brazil, at the University of São Paulo Public Health School. She also has experience as a multi-disciplinary team clinician in paediatric clinics and child mental health services in São Paulo. She is a graduate member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI).

Examining ADHD Attitudes and Practice in Ireland and Brazil (2014-2018)

This Ireland/Brazil cross-cultural study will analyse attitudes and practices of professionals in paediatric services and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), and perspectives of families and children. A comparison of ADHD policies and treatment outcomes will also be carried out. The project has 3 stages:

  1. A national survey of professionals who may treat ADHD, i.e. child mental health teams in CAMHS and community/ neuro paediatricians to establish ‘what clinicians say they do’;
  2. A review of paediatricians and child psychiatrists’ case notes and focus groups to analyse ‘what they actually do’ and
  3. Focus groups with families to explore satisfaction with the service received, and interviews with drawings will explore the experience of living with ADHD and views of treatment for children and adolescents. This will allow comparison of professionals and service-users, as well as exploration of different treatment approaches and procedures for ADHD in paediatric clinics and CAMHS. 

Dr Farrah-Hani Imran

Dr Farrah-Hani Imran

PhD Scholar, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in UCD School of Medicine

Supervisors: Professor Fiona McNicholas, Dr Lesley O’Hara

Farrah’s research aims to examine motivation/drive in sports and health in general and athletic populations. She will identify eating and exercise attitudes and behaviours in the context of body image, diet, supplement use, at-risk behaviour, and help-seeking actions. She has particular interests in athlete welfare, mental health, sports psychology, doping control, self-esteem, clefts, burns and wound management.

Farrah is a consultant plastic and reconstructive, burns & wound care surgeon and Head Of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Burns Unit and Wound Care Surgery in the National University Of Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC, Kuala Lumpur). Her diverse interests stem from a background in sports and the arts. She is a former international rhythmic gymnast and received a full scholarship from the Malaysian Ministry Of Youth and Sports. She was the first Malaysian gymnast to make it to the World Championships in 1993, represented Malaysia in Rhythmic Gymnastics from 1987-1994, was captain of the Malaysian national team from 1991-1994 and South-east Asian and Malaysian national champion.

Farrah read Medicine at the Royal College Of Surgeons In Ireland, Dublin, then completed her basic surgical training and higher surgical training & fellowships in plastic surgery in Dublin, Malaysia & USA. She is a frequently invited speaker, educator and lecturer.

Ms Rachael McKenna

Rachael McKenna BA, H Dip Psych, M Psych Sc

Research Assistant, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, UCD School of Medicine

Rachael is currently working on the Newman ADHD Study of ADHD attitudes in Ireland and the MILESTONE study of service transitions in youth mental health. Her interests lie in mental health difficulties, particularly youth mental health, and she is passionate about promoting positive mental health and well-being.

Rachael completed a BA in English and Sociology at UCD, an HDip in Psychology at DBS and a Masters of Psychological Science at UCD. Her M. Psych. Sc thesis focused on comorbidities and outcomes for clinic-attending adults with ADHD and high IQ, and included a systematic review of existing literature concerning this population. She is currently a volunteer with the ISPCC and Foróige and hopes to engage in future clinical study (DClin) and work in the near future.