Network Biographies

If you are interested in becoming a member of the HSTM Network Ireland, and would like your biography to be included below, please send your name, a short bio, and an introduction to your work in this area with any relevant links to:

Chair: Dr Adrian Kirwan

Adrian Kirwan completed his Ph.D. at the Department of History, NUI, Maynooth in 2017. His research focuses on the interaction between science, technology and society. He currently teaches on that institutions Critical Skills course. He has published articles on the history of science and technology in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland. He is currently co-editor of volume eleven of the Correspondence of John Tyndall. He is currently the Network’s representative on the Irish Committee of Historical Sciences. 

Secretary: Elizabethanne Boran

Elizabethanne Boran is the Librarian of the Edward Worth Library in Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin. She is the editor of the three volume Correspondence of James Ussher, 1600-1656, published by the Irish Manuscript Commission in 2015, and, in addition, she has written on the history of early modern science, book-collecting, libraries and, more generally, the seventeenth-century history of ideas and universities. She is Leader of Work Group 4: Documents and Collections of the COST Action IS1310: ‘Reassembling the Republic of Letters, 1500-1800: A Digital Framework for multi-lateral collaboration on Europe’s Intellectual History’ and she is the Irish member of the International Commission for the History of Universities.

Social Media:  Tanya O’Sullivan 

Tanya O’Sullivan is an independent researcher based in Northern Ireland. She holds a BA (Archaeology and Art History) and an MA (Archaeology) from University College Dublin. Her MA research involved an avi-faunal analysis of Viking-age bird bone samples from excavations in Dublin city. She was employed by archaeological consultancies in Scotland before working as a freelance archaeozoologist in Northern Ireland.  Currently her research interests revolve around the histories and geographies of science. In 2014 she completed a PhD at the School of Geography, Queen’s University Belfast. Her publications include Geographies of City Science: Urban lives and Origin Debates in Late Victorian Dublin (University of Pittsburgh Press 2019)

Juliana Adelman

My research interests are in the history of science, medicine and society in the nineteenth century. I have studied popular science and science education in Ireland while my current research focuses on changing human-animal relationships in Dublin. Past publications include Communities of science in nineteenth-century Ireland (Pickering and Chatto, 2009) and, co-edited with Eadaoin Agnew, Science and technology in nineteenth-century Ireland (Four Courts Press, 2011) and articles on environmental history, the history of the Dublin zoo and agricultural education. I teach European history at Dublin City University.

 Merav Amir 

I completed my PhD at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas. My work interests relate to the interactions between technology and society, scientific authority and knowledge production and the regulation of technological innovations by state and non-state entities. My research has explored the social and political implications of the introduction of new security technologies in border settings and in conflict zones. In this research I look at interactions between technologies and the shaping of bodies and identities. Additional research projects of mine examined the political significations of human reproduction and cultural analysis of technological developments with a particular focus on the field of assisted reproductive technologies.

Peter J. Bowler is Professor emeritus of the History of Science at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was President of the British Society for the History of Science, 2003-2005. He has an M.A. from Cambridge University, and M.Sc. from the University of Sussex and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and has taught at universities in Canada, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. He has published a number of books on the history and impact of evolutionism and is the editor (with Nicholas Whyte) of Science and Society in Ireland: The Social Context of Science in Ireland, 1800-1950. Queen’s University of Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 1997.

Margaret Buckley is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary Ph.D., jointly supervised by the School of Applied Social Studies and the Department of History in University College Cork, Ireland. In 2014, I was awarded an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship for the duration of my doctoral studies. My thesis is titled ‘“A Cure for the Poor”: Anevaluation of welfare provision for the over 50s in Limerick City, 1875 to 1925 through the lens of Death and Dying’. It uses the graveyard records of the City to assess the impact of social policy initiatives on quality of life for the elderly over a pivotal 50 years of Irish history. Previously, using similar primary source material, I have researched the consequences of Spanish Influenza in Limerick City, the effects of a number of childhood epidemics, and the role played by the workhouse and workhouse hospital in the city. I am interested in the historical development of welfare provision, focusing on the fields of epidemiology, housing, healthcare and poverty.

Fiachra Byrne  is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the UCD Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland. His current research project is on the mental health of juvenile prisoners in England and Ireland from 1850 to 2000. This comparative study examines the penal practices, legal frameworks, and professional and public discourses relating to the management of the mental health of juvenile prisoners. It also forms a research strand within the Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award project, ‘Prisoners, Medicial Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850–2000’, led by co-PIs Dr Catherine Cox (UCD) and Hilary Marland (University of Warwick).

David Ceccarelli has a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Sciences; is a teaching assistant in history of science at the University of Rome Tor Vergata; 2015-2016 CHSTM Research Fellow. My research interests include the history of non-Darwinian evolutionism and the philosophical implications of nineteenth-century debates on epigenetic inheritance and morphology. Currently, I am member of the ESHS (European Society for the History of Science), Res Viva (Interuniversitary research centre for the epistemology and history of life sciences), and of the Group for a New Historiography in Evolution and Current Biology (

Catherine Cox is the Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine of Ireland (CHOMI) at University College Dublin. She currently holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award entitled Prisoners, Medical Care and Entitlement to Health in England and Ireland, 1850-2000′ with Professor Hilary Marland at Warwick University. The Award builds on an earlier collaboration with Professor Marland on a Wellcome Trust supported project on Irish migration and mental illness between the Great Famine and Irish Independence which has resulted in a series of articles and a co-edited volume. Her publications include Negotiating insanity in the southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012); with Hilary Marland, Migration, Health, and Ethnicity in the Modern World (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); with Maria Luddy,  Cultures of Care in Irish Medical History 1750-1970(Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010) and numerous articles. With Dr Graham Brownlow, she is editor of Irish Economic and Social History.

John Cunningham is an Associate Research Fellow on the Early Modern Practitioners project at the University of Exeter. In this role, I am part of a team investigating the lives and careers of medical practitioners in England, Wales and Ireland in the period 1500-1715. The key outputs of this research, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust, will be a major monograph and a substantial open-access online database. I hold a PhD from NUI Galway, where I wrote a dissertation on the Cromwellian and Restoration land settlements. As well as a number of essays and articles, I have published a monograph entitled Conquest and Land in Ireland: the Transplantation to Connacht, 1649-1680.

Jessica M. Dandona, Ph.D. is an art historian specializing in 19th-century art and visual culture and Professor of Liberal Arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2018–19, Dr. Dandona is a US-UK Fulbright Scholar based at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design at the University of Dundee. She is currently undertaking research on her book project, The Transparent Woman: Medical Visualities in Fin-de-Siècle Europe and the United States, 1880–1910, which looks at the visual culture of medicine at the end of the 19th century.

Diarmid Finnegan, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast. My research is concerned with science, space and culture in historical perspective. Recent work has centred on public speech as a situated mode of interaction between science and culture in the nineteenth century and on science in nineteenth-century Belfast. I have also investigated the cultural influences of evolutionary thought in the late nineteenth century and recently published a paper on the reception of theories about human evolution in the context of religious debates about the creation of Eve. I am now embarking on a new project on ‘spaces of the human,’ which will work towards a historical geography of ideas about humanness from the early modern period to contemporary debates about post-human futures.

Mark Grossman is an independent researcher residing in the New York City metropolitan area. His research focuses on the works of Irish chemists William and Bryan Higgins and their possible influence on the development of John Dalton’s atomic theory, as well as the history of Irish meteorites. In addition to publishing in academic journals, he maintains a blog devoted to the history of meteorites and the history of science: ;

Sue Hemmens
Originally qualified as a biochemist and now Deputy Keeper of Marsh’s Library, Sue Hemmens is working towards a PhD in the area of early modern natural philosophy. Research interests include the history of natural philosophy in the early modern period, with a particular focus on Ireland; the customisation of library discovery interfaces; and the dissemination of music in print and manuscript in eighteenth-century Ireland. More about Sue and her recent publications can be seen here on Marsh’s Library website.

Benjamin Huskinson is currently pursuing a PhD in history at Queen’s University Belfast. His research focuses on science and religion in popular culture, and his thesis is a new history of anti-evolution movements in the United States after 1960. He holds a B.A. in political science from Washington State University, an M.Sc. in political psychology from Queen’s University Belfast, and an MLitt in American Studies from the University of Glasgow.

Tomás Irish
I am Lecturer in Modern History at Swansea University. My research interests lie in the cultural history of the First World War and specifically its impact upon universities and intellectual communities. In 2015 I published ‘The University at War 1914-25: Britain, France, and the United States‘. I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for War Studies in Trinity College Dublin from 2012-2015, where I also completed my PhD thesis. My second book, ‘Trinity in War and Revolution 1912-1923‘, was published by the Royal Irish Academy Press in October 2015. I was an Ussher fellow at Trinity College from 2007-2010 and was awarded a Postgraduate Scholarship by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the year 2010-2011. In 2009 I was awarded a scholarship by the Historial de la Grande Guerre at Péronne (Somme). In 2013 I was a Craig C. Dobbin research fellow at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. In 2015 I was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In Spring 2015 I was an adjunct lecturer at Maynooth University. Between 2012 and 2014 I served as Associate Director of the Centre for War Studies at Trinity College Dublin.

Nuala Johnson (MRIA) is Reader in Human Geography at Queen’s University
Belfast. Her research is both historical and contemporary in focus. She has written extensively on nationalism and the politics of identity; public monuments and collective memory; literary spaces; and the historical geographies of science. Her recent work has been particularly engaged with analyzing the development of botanical gardens and their aesthetics; natural history travel and she is currently working on a project on botanical illustration and empire. She has published extensively in international journals including Journal of Historical Geography, Cultural Geographies, Environment and Planning D. She is author of Ireland, the Great War and the Geography of Remembrance (Cambridge University Press, 2003), Nature Displaced, Nature Displayed: Order and Beauty in Botanical Gardens (I B Tauris 2011) and has edited three further books.

Greta Jones is emeritus professor of history at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown. She is a graduate of University College London and the London School of Economics. In 1980 she published on Social Darwinism and English Thought and subsequently went on to publish on eugenics and on the politics of science in the Cold War era. During her time in Ireland she has developed an interest in Irish scientific history. and in Irish history of medicine. Supported by the Wellcome Trust she has researched and published on the history of TB in Ireland and migrants from Irish medical schools. She started as her career as a research fellow at the University of Leicester looking at the popularisation of science in the media. She has held visiting fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania marking the centenary of Darwin’s death, the London School of Economics and Corpus Christi College Cambridge.

Laura Kelly is a Lecturer in the History of Health and Medicine at the University of Strathclyde. From 2012-2014 she was an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for the History of Medicine in Ireland, University College Dublin and previously lectured at NUI Galway. Her research interests include the history of medical student culture, medical education, the medical profession and gender and medicine in Ireland in the period 1850-1950. Her first monograph ‘Irish women in medicine, c.1880s-1920s: origins, education and careers’ was published by Manchester University Press in 2013.

Thomas J.J. McCloughlin has a wide range of interests in the history of science including Darwin’s botanical research, Byzantine science, museology and informal science, and the relationship between the history of science and history of science education.  He is lecturer in science education in St. Patrick’s College (DCU) and he is in charge of the science education unit’s archive which holds the equipment conserved since the college inception in 1875.

Neasa McGarrigle is a doctoral student in the Department of History, Trinity College Dublin. Her PhD focuses on Nobel physicist Erwin Schrödinger and the establishment of Éamon de Valera’s Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 1940-50. Neasa’s research areas are twentieth-century scientific networks, World War II scientific refugees, science in twentieth-century Ireland and the role of science in national identity. Neasa earned a M.Sc. in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from the University of Oxford in 2011. She is the Science Editor for the award-winning blog Headstuff and has previously worked on digitalisation, conservation, and cataloguing projects for the Edward Worth Library, the Early Printed Books Collection at Trinity College Dublin and the State Art Collection.

Ian Miller
Ian completed his PhD at the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester, in 2009. He has since taught medical and Irish history at University College Dublin (2009-10) and held an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (UCD, 2010-13) and a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship (UU, 2013-16). Ian is the author of various peer-reviewed journal articles, policy pieces and book reviews. In 2011, he published A ModernHistory of the Stomach: Gastric Illness, Medicine and British Society, 1800-1950 with Pickering and Chatto. A second monograph, Reforming Food in Post-Famine Ireland: Medicine, Science and Improvement, 1845-1922, was published by Manchester University Press in 2014. He is also the author of Water: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2015) and co-editor (with David Durnin) of Medicine, Health and Irish Experiences of Conflict, 1914-45 (Manchester University Press, 2016).

Ida Milne
Ida Milne’s primary research interest is in the social history of infectious disease. She holds an Irish Research Council Elevate Fellowship, co-funded by Marie Curie Actions, at Queen’s University Belfast and Maynooth University, for a research project on ‘Changing the landscape of childhood disease in Ireland, 1910-1990.’ This work will look at how new medical treatments, vaccination and public health education campaigns, improved housing, sanitation, diet and environment reduced the childhood mortality from infectious diseases. She was awarded a PhD from TCD in 2011 for her work on the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Ireland; in this, as in her other work, she used oral histories to gain insights not available from other sources. A former journalist, she is a director and member of the steering committee of the Oral History Network of Ireland, and a committee member of the Federation of Local History Societies.

Nigel Monaghan is Keeper of the Natural History Division of the National Museum of Ireland. His interests lie in the history of the natural sciences in Ireland, particularly geology, zoology and the development of Irish museums.

Susan Mullaney
Although still practising medicine, Susan completed a Masters in the History of Medicine in the Wellcome Centre in University College London in 2008. Her thesis for the PhD degree in University College Cork was entitled ‘The Evolution of the Medical Professions in Eighteenth Century Ireland’. She currently teaches a history of science module ‘The Scientific Revolution’ as part of the liberal arts program on the American College, Dublin, and contributes to the teaching of medical humanities in the medical school in Trinity College, Dublin. She is the secretary of the History of Medical Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland, and is a member of the Library and Archives Committee of the RDS. She has contributed articles on the Irish Poor Law, the regulation of the eighteenth century apothecaries and the establishment of the nationwide system of infirmaries in eighteenth century Ireland.

Don O’Leary
Dr Don O’Leary is a historian and scientist. He worked in University College Cork from 1978 to 2017, providing technical support for scientific research, mainly in neuroscience. In parallel with this he studied history and was awarded a B.A. (1990) and a Ph.D. (1996) from the National University of Ireland. Most of his research is focused on the complex relationship between Catholicism and science, both internationally and in relation to Ireland. He is the author of Vocationalism and Social Catholicism in Twentieth-Century Ireland (Irish Academic Press, 2000), Roman Catholicism and Modern Science: A History (Continuum/ Bloomsbury, 2006), Irish Catholicism and Science: From ‘Godless Colleges’ to the ‘Celtic Tiger’ (Cork University Press, 2012); and Biomedical Controversies in Catholic Ireland (Eryn Press, 2020).

Tanya O’Sullivan is an independent researcher based in Northern Ireland. She holds a BA (Archaeology and Art History) and an MA (Archaeology), from University College Dublin. Her MA research involved an avi-faunal analysis of Viking-age bird bone samples from excavations in Dublin city. She was employed by archaeological consultancies in Scotland before working as a freelance archaeozoologist in Northern Ireland.  Currently her research interests revolve around the histories and geographies of science. In 2014 she completed a PhD at the School of Geography, Queen’s University Belfast. Her publications include Geographies of City Science: Urban lives and Origin Debates in Late Victorian Dublin (University of Pittsburgh Press 2019)

Aisling Shalvey completed her undergraduate study in English and history in Maynooth University, completing an erasmus year at the University of Vienna. This led her to study a masters at Oxford Brookes in the history of medicine. Her masters thesis focused on eugenics and biopolitics in the Irish Free State. She has also worked on projects and papers relating to infanticide, abortion, medical research and medical ethics. Aisling is a PhD candidate at the University of Strasbourg and works as part of a historical commission to investigate the medical faculty in Strasbourg during German occupation in the Second World War. Her thesis focuses more specifically on the treatment of paediatric patients during the Nazi regime in Strasbourg. Her research is funded by the University of Strasbourg and the Fondation pour la Memoire de la Shoah.

Triona Waters is a PhD researcher and Departmental Assistant at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. Her doctoral research, funded by MIC, investigates the archives of St. Joseph’s Psychiatric Hospital, formerly known as the Limerick District Lunatic Asylum, under the supervision of Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley (NUIG), Dr Úna Ní Broiméil (MIC) and Dr Maura Cronin (MIC). Her PhD research primarily focuses on nineteenth century Irish asylumdom. She was recently awarded the Royal College of Physician’s ‘Kirkpatrick History of Medicine’ research award, 2018 for her work on the history of mental health services in Limerick that considered not only the records of the Limerick asylum, but also the Mental Health Commissioner Reports of 2017. Her MA, awarded by the University of Limerick, examined the social history of St. Brigid’s Psychiatric Hospital, formerly known as the Connaught District Lunatic Asylum with a focus on its twentieth century history by using oral history methodology. With a year of study based in Syracuse, New York, she was also awarded ‘Student of the Year’. As post-graduate representative of the Irish History Students’ Association (IHSA), she is a member of the Irish Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS), Irish Modern Urban History (IMUH), Irish Medical Humanities Network (IMHN) and History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (HSTM). She is currently guest editor of the University of Limerick Journal, History Studies, 2019.

Nicola Williams My research follows the work of Irene Manton –– the University of Leeds first female professor –– in her quest to discover new structures inside the cell.  The title of my PhD thesis is: ‘Building Plant Cell Biology: Irene Manton and Leeds Botany in the Age of the Electron Microscope’ . Publications: Williams, Nicola (2018) ‘Irene Manton, FRS (1904–1988)’, In: Leeds: Cradle of Innovation, edited by Rachel Unsworth, Leeds Sustainable Development Group, pp. 202-3 (ISBN: 978-0-9539745-4-2);Williams, Nicola (2018) ‘Irene Manton and Problems of Cytology and Evolution in the Pteridophyta’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (under review); Williams, Nicola (2018) ‘The Revolutionary Electron Microscope? Biologists and Physicists in 1950s Electron Microscopy and Plant Cell Architecture’ (in preparation);Williams, Nicola (2016) ‘Irene Manton, Erwin Schrödinger and the Puzzle of Chromosome Structure’ Journal of the History of Biology, 49, (3), pp. 425-459. Link:; Williams, Nicola (2016) ‘Irene Manton: A Leeds Biologist Who Made Her Mark’ February 2016, North Leeds Life.

Peter Childs: Retired in 2009 from the University of Limerick after a career teaching chemistry and helping to train chemistry teachers. Longstanding interest in the history of chemistry, science education, Irish chemical industry. A particular interest is the Irish kelp/seaweed industry. Editor and publisher of Chemistry in Action! since 1980, a magazine for Irish chemistry teachers. Over the years this has featured biographical articles, places to visit and other historical pieces. Currently writing a series of articles on Pioneers of Science Education for the ISTA journal Science. Recent chapter on Jane Marcet in ‘ Women in their element’ (World Scientific, 2019).

Elena Schaa: I am a PhD student in the Academic Study of Religion at TCD, since September 2019. In my project I pursue an interdisciplinary approach (history of science and study of religion) to research the religious writings of Werner Heisenberg and its impact on contemporary understanding of religions and quantum physics. My project “How do Future Worldviews Emerge? Quantum Physics, and the Case of Werner Heisenberg’s ‘Religion without God’” is funded by the IRC Postgraduate Scholarship. My main research interests include: [1] theory and methodology in the European History of Religion and the history of science, [2] the relationships between religion and modern physics during the 20th Century, [3] the aesthetics of religion and science, [4] scientific masculinity.

Rebecca Watterson: is currently pursuing a PhD in history at Ulster University. Her research focuses on psychosurgery in the UK between the years 1940-1986. She holds a BA in history from The Open University and an MA in history from Ulster University. Her MA research examined why the enzyme, cholinesterase, was a major focus of psychiatric medical research in the UK during the 1950s. For this work she was awarded ‘The Birley Prize for the best MA thesis in social history 2020’. She is also the book review editor assistant for the journal, Social History of Medicine.

Shelby Zimmerman: is a PhD candidate at Trinity College, Dublin researching the medicalisation of death in the Dublin city workhouses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Her research centres on the role the workhouse played in Dublin’s medical landscape for the sick and dying poor as a proto-hospice. Shelby received her B.S. in History and Museum Studies from Towson University and her MPhil with Distinction in Modern Irish History from Trinity College, Dublin. Shelby is an Early Career Research Fellow in Trinity’s Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute. In 2018, she presented her MPhil research on the South Dublin Union’s response to the smallpox epidemic of 1871-3 at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) as a finalist for the Kirkpatrick History of Medicine Award. She co-curated the Little Museum of Dublin’s new exhibition on Victorian Medicine. Shelby is primarily interested in the history of medicine, institutions, the Irish Poor Law, poverty, and death.

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