Principal InvestigatorJack James

 Prof. Jack James

Professor James graduated from the University of New South Wales with First Class Honours in the BSc (Applied Psychology) degree, after which he completed a Masters degree in clinical psychology at the same University. He subsequently attended the University of Western Australia, where he completed a PhD on the clinical management of chronic stuttering. He worked in clinical and community settings as a clinical psychologist before pursuing an academic career. Over time, his teaching and research activities broadened to include health psychology and behavioural medicine. In 1991, he was appointed Foundation Professor of Behavioural Health Sciences at La Trobe University, Melbourne. Subsequently, he was elected to the position of Founding National Chair of the College of Health Psychologists (a College of the Australian Psychological Society). He moved to Ireland in 1998 to take up the position of Professor and Head of Department at NUI, Galway. In 2009, Prof. James stepped down as Head of School (formally Department).

Jack James’ main research interests are in the fields of cardiovascular behavioural health, and the psychophysiological correlates of stress. He has a major interest in the implications of dietary caffeine for human health and well-being (cognitive performance and mood), and also has interests in applied behaviour analysis.

You can contact Prof. James at


Postdoctoral Fellow/Project Manager

Dr Siobhán Howard  Siobhan Howard

Siobhán Howard completed a B. A. Psychology (Hons) in NUI Galway in 2003. After completing a Ph.D. in Psychology in 2008, Siobhán began working as a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Psychology and the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress, NUI Galway. Siobhán’s Ph.D. thesis examined the effect of personality and social variables on physiological responses to stress.

You can contact Dr Howard at


Dr Brian Hughes

Brian Hughes holds PhD and BA degrees in psychology from NUI Galway. Web_pic_BHAfter serving as founding Head of the Psychology Department at Dublin Business School (1998-2001) he returned to NUI Galway, where he is currently Director of the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS). He has held visiting appointments at the University of Missouri-Columbia (USA), Leiden University (Netherlands), the University of Birmingham (UK), the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London (UK), and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.  He served as President of the Psychological Society of Ireland (2004-2005) and Founding Chair of its Division of Health Psychology (2003).

Brian Hughes’s research focuses on psychological stress (particularly its impact on cardiovascular psychophysiology, immunity, and health) and on psychosocial moderators of stress processes, such as social support and personality. He also conducts research on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, and medicine. He has received several research grants (from bodies such as the Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the National Suicide Review Group).  In 2007 he was recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award from the international Stress and Anxiety Research Society. He is a Principal Investigator in NUI Galway’s applied social sciences consortium, recently awarded €5.8 million under Cycle 4 of the Irish Government’s Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions.

Doctoral Candidate

Mr Éanna O’Leary

EannaOLeary WebÉanna O’ Leary became a member of ISSP in September 2008 having received a Ph.D. research scholarship, funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI) as part of the ISSP Programme, Knowledge, Innovation, Space and Society.  This was preceded by the award of a B. A. Degree in English and Psychological Studies (International) from NUI, Galway & University of Malta, and postgraduate Higher Diploma in Psychology, also at NUI Galway.

Éanna’s main research interests focus broadly on the areas of both health and clinical psychology, including physiological correlates of stress responses in occupational and life contexts and the psychosocial, cognitive and dispositional moderators of ill-health.  He also has interests in psychoneuroimmunological processes related to disease progression.  His undergraduate research was conducted on the effects of personality and video-relayed social evaluation on laboratory hemodynamic reactivity.  Éanna’s Ph.D. research is currently being conducted under the auspices of the Centre for Research on Occupational and Life Stress (CROLS) at NUI, Galway, focusing on psychosocial and psychophysiological influences on health.  This work utilises an ambulatory assessment methodology in the measurement of blood pressure and self-report data to examine stress-related response patterns over 24-hour periods of time. Éanna’s Ph.D. thesis is being supervised by Prof. Jack James.


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