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People in the Resilience & Health Laboratory

People in the Resilience & Health Laboratory

Lab Director & Principal Investigator

Dr Niki Nearchou (Faculty)

Niki Nearchou

Dr Finiki (Niki) Nearchou is an Assistant Professor with the UCD School of Psychology and a UCD Ad Astra Fellow. Niki is the Director of Research on the UCD Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology. Coming from a health and developmental psychology background Niki focuses on resilience and youth health research by applying sophisticated analytical techniques and methodologies. Niki developed a socio-ecological model that can be applied to identify protective factors of resilience following exposure to different types of adversities such as child abuse and chronic illness.

Email: niki.nearchou@ucd.ie
Twitter: @NearchouNiki


Graduate Researchers 

Dr Marc Bennet

Marc is a Clinical Psychologist in Training. His current doctoral research focuses on: Cutting through the traditional boundaries of diagnosis and treatment: Investigating the trajectories of adolescent symptom and the efficacy of targeted intervention.

Aundria Cameron

Aundria Cameron headshot

Aundria is a student on the Master of Psychological Science at University College Dublin, supervised by Dr. Niki Nearchou and Dr. Sonya Deschenes. She is currently  exploring the impact of childhood adversity on mental health and the social ecologies that can be linked to positive psychological and health outcomes. Her research interests include adversity, trauma, stigma and the impact of addiction on people's mental health. Aundria is working as a research assistant in other lab projects.

Katie Duffy 

Katie Duffy

 BA Psychology. MPsychSc. Psychologist in Clinical Training

 Katie is currently completing her clinical training on the DPsychSc Clinical Psychology Programme. Katie’s research is supervised by Dr Niki Nearchou and aims at exploring the association between emotional eating and trauma across the lifespan. Katie will be conducting a systematic review on emotional eating as a construct and how it is operationalised within the existing literature. The systematic review will inform the empirical study which will explore client’s lived experiences of emotional eating behaviours and associated trauma. Katie is also a member of UCD’s Youth Mental Health Lab.

Dr Varsha Eswara-Murphy

Varsha Eswara-Murphy headshot

BA(Hons), MPsychSc, PhD, Psychologist in Clinical Training

 Varsha is currently a Psychologist in Clinical Training. Her current doctoral work focuses on investigating and ameliorating the psychosocial burden of hidradenitis suppurativa. She has completed both her undergraduate, master’s and PhD degrees at UCD. Her previous doctoral research focused on improving well-being and mitigating the effects of shame and stigma in a population experiencing homelessness using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  Her research interests include mindfulness, motivation and developing interventions to improve well-being and health related behaviours for various populations, such as those experiencing homelessness, chronic conditions, and parents of children with disabilities.

Clodagh Flinn  

Clodagh Flinn

Clodagh is a PhD candidate on the Ad Astra Fellow PhD Studentship programme in UCD. She completed her BA (International) in Psychology and Master of Psychological Science in UCD. 

Her research throughout has been completed under the supervision of Assistant Professor, Dr. Niki Nearchou. Clodagh has worked as a research assistant on the Your Youth Health Project, led by Dr. Nearchou in UCD, since 2020. Clodagh’s research interests include various aspects of health in young people including mental health and sexual health. Further aspects of her research involve resilience and chronic skin conditions. 

Contact Information
Email: clodagh.flinn@ucdconnect.ie  Twitter@ClodaghFlinn

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clodagh-flinn
ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Clodagh-Flinn

Áine French  

Áine French

Áine is a MLitt candidate supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou.  She is currently conducting a systematic review on the relationship between sleep and self-harm in young people as part of her M.Litt. studies. Her research interests include self-harm prevention and the potentials of digital technology in mental health.

Áine is currently working as a research assistant on a project exploring the information needs of parents supporting adolescents engaged in self-harm funded by the National Office of Suicide Prevention.

Systematic Review protocol on Prospero: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/display_record.php?RecordID=258829

Email: aine.french@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @FrenchAine

Gráinne Murphy

Grainne Murphy  

BA (Psychology), M.Psych.Sc. Psychologist in Clinical Training

Gráinne is currently studying on the DPsychSc in Clinical Psychology. Gráinne has an interest in improving the mental health of children and adolescents with developmental and acquired disabilities. She is currently working with Dr Niki Nearchou and Associate Professor Christine Linehan exploring resilience in adults with Intellectual Disability. Gráinne is planning on conducting a systematic review exploring adults with Intellectual Disabilities perceptions of ageing.

Email: Grainne.Murphy.3@ucdconnect.ie


Dr Jo Bower (Faculty)

 Jo Bower headshot

Dr Jo Bower joined the UEA in 2020, having previously been a lecturer at De Montfort University, Leicester. Prior to this, Jo completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Houston, where she coordinated a NASA-funded project investigating risk and resilience factors for individuals in isolated, confined, and extreme environments. Jo's research interests encompass the bidirectional associations between sleep, emotion and emotion regulation, with a particular focus on positive emotions.  Jo is a Co-Investigator at the Sleep and Brain Research Unit.

Jo holds a PhD from the University of Reading, investigating measurement and individual differences in the regulation of positive emotions (2016), an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from Birkbeck College, University of London (2011) and BSc in Psychology from University of Bath (2005). She is also a member of the Sleep Research Society, British Sleep Society and the APA Society for Teaching in Psychology.

Dr Robert Eves (Post-doctoral researcher)

Robert Eves  head & body to waist shot with vegetation in background

Dr Robert Eves is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at Bielefeld Universität with guest researcher status at Warwick University and the DIW Berlin. Rob is interested in developmental psychology, especially in early predictors of cognitive performance. Rob did his PhD at the University of Warwick with Professor Dieter Wolke, where he combined IQ data from 8 European cohorts and investigated the long-term effects of being born prematurely. Rob is now investigating models of differential susceptibility and diathesis-stress, testing the consistency of effects across cohorts.

Dr Amy Watchorn (Senior Clinical Psychologist) 

Amy Watchorn

Dr Amy Watchorn is a Senior Clinical Psychologist working in St John of God Hospital. She holds a Graduate Degree in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, a Master’s Degree in Clinical Neuroscience from University College London and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from University of Limerick. She has previously worked in the HSE and with the Talbot Group and has vast experience working with adults with various mental health difficulties.  She has a background working with various groups including people struggling with personality disorders, dual diagnosis, depression and anxiety. She currently works as part of an inpatient addictions team and has a strong interest in this area, including involvement in research regarding the impact of addiction on people’s mental health.

Dr Vasilis Vasiliou (Clinical Psychologist and Researcher)  

Vasilis Vasiliou

Dr Vasiliou is a Clinical Psychologist and Researcher with a specialization in Health Psychology and Behavioural Medicine. His research focuses on developing digitally delivered behavioral change interventions for patients with chronic physical illnesses (e.g., chronic pain) and young adults with behavioral vulnerabilities (e.g., drug use). Vasilis completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Crete, Greece, and then continued with a master’s degree at Swansea University, Wales, UK, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Cyprus. He also holds a Post-graduate Certificate (Pg. Cert.) in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (CKBO2, NFQ Level 9) from the University College Cork (UCC), Ireland. 

During his clinical training Vasilis was trained in the newest Contextual Cognitive-Behavioral interventions (e.g., Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, etc) from the ACTHealthy: Clinical Psychology & Behavioral Medicine Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Cyprus. Further, he completed part of his clinical training in behavioral change programs for targeted populations (individuals with chronic pain) in Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Neurological Institute, Center for International Medical Education, and in McLean Hospital (adolescents with anxiety problems), Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts, US.


Research Interns 

Christina Koretsidou

Christina Koretsidou head and shoulders

Christina is an Erasmus research trainee supervised by Assistant Professor Niki Nearchou. She completed her Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Psychology and her Master of Arts (MA) in School Psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in Greece. Christina has worked in Education for three years, undertaking evaluation and support for students. Her research interests include mental health, motivation and the well-being of children, teenagers and young adults, the impact of COVID-19 and the promotion of resilience in school and academic settings.

Kayla O’Flaherty

Kayla O’Flaherty head & shoulders shot

Kayla completed her Master’s in Applied Psychology at Trinity College Dublin in 2021, and her Bachelor’s in Psychology at Villanova University in 2020. She has spent time working with adults and children in clinical settings, and she has a strong interest in research. She is currently working alongside Dr. Niki Nearchou and Dr. Sonya Deschenes at UCD.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylaoflaherty/

Fabiola Silletti

Fabiola Silletti  head & shoulders facing camera

Fabiola Silletti is a Clinical Psychologist and a Ph.D. student in Human Relations Sciences – Psychology at the University of Bari Aldo Moro (Italy). Fabiola's research focuses on resilience across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on children and young people as well as more vulnerable populations. Awarded the Erasmus + Traineeship grant from European Union and supervised by Dr. Niki Nearchou at UCD, she is currently exploring socio-ecological factors associated with resilience in young people who experience trauma, from a cross-cultural perspective.

Email: fabiola.silletti@uniba.it

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/fabiolasilletti

ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fabiola_Silletti

Research Staff 

Diarmuid Mc Laughlin

 Diarmuid Mc Laughlin head and shoulders shot

Diarmuid is currently working in the clinical product team for SilverCloud Health. He completed both his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Psychology and Master of Science (MSc) in Clinical Psychology at the University of Groningen. His research interests include resilience, addiction, and technological mental health intervention.


Dr Ellen Douglas 

Ellen Douglas

Ellen is a Clinical Psychologist. She completed her Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Psychology at Ulster University and her Master of Science (MSc) at Swansea University. Ellen has worked as a clinical psychologist in training since 2018 and her doctoral research has been supervised by Assistant Professor, Dr Niki Nearchou. Ellen’s research interests include adult mental health, COVID-19, resilience and positive psychology.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-douglas-805045181 

Dr Diarmuid MacGarry

 Diarmuid is a Clinical Psychologist and completed his doctoral thesis under the supervision of Dr Nearchou. His research focused on exploring the impact of patient suicide on the professional and personal well-being of mental health providers.

Dr Rachel Niland 

Rachel Niland

Rachel completed her PhD under the supervision of Dr Nearchou. Rachel has a strong interest in improving and promoting the health and well-being of individuals across the lifespan. Rachel’s PhD research explored the role of school-based sex education programmes in sexual health behaviours of young adults in Ireland. 

Twitter: @RachelNiland
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-niland-8aa535116/
ResearchGate: Rachel Niland

Fiona Craddock  

Fiona was a student on the Master of Psychological Science at University College Dublin supervised by Dr Niki Nearchou. Fiona conducted research on exploring the impact of COVID-19 in youth living with and without chronic health conditions. 

Helena Ronan

 Helena Ronan

Helena was a student Master of Psychological Science programme at University College Dublin. Helena is supervised by Assistant Professor, Dr. Niki Nearchou.  Her research interests include mental health intervention and suicide prevention.

Email: helena.ronan@ucdconnect.ie

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/helenaronan

UCD School of Psychology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.