Dr Sonya Deschênes, Assistant Professor and Lab Director

Dr Sonya Deschênes is a Lecturer/Assistant Professor (Ad Astra Fellow) in the School of Psychology at UCD and the Principal Investigator of the UCD PATH Lab. She obtained her doctoral degree in Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and conducted her postdoctoral research in mental health epidemiology at McGill University in Montreal. Her research is at the intersection of health psychology and epidemiology, with interests in the comorbidity between mental and physical health conditions, the biopsychosocial mechanisms (mediators and moderators) of these associations, and more broadly, psychosocial aspects of physical and mental health. She is also interested in applying longitudinal data analysis methods to address research questions with prospective cohort studies.

Sonya currently teaches health psychology at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has previously taught modules on introductory psychology, social psychology, and psychosocial aspects of disease. Off campus, Sonya enjoys spending time with her family, hiking and being outdoors, and soap making.

More information can be found here.

Amy McInerney, PhD Candidate & Lab Co-Founder

Amy McInerney is a PhD candidate funded by the Ad Astra PhD Scholarship. Her PhD research focuses on the role of health behaviours in the development and progression of mental health comorbidities in people with diabetes. As part of her PhD research, Amy is leading the Smartphone, Behaviour, and Mood study, a longitudinal digital phenotyping study using smartphones to collect data on the daily mood and behaviour of people with and without type 2 diabetes. She is interested in the links between mental and physical health, interactive systems of behaviour and mood, and the psychosocial determinants of health, particularly the role of childhood adversity. 

Amy completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at NUI Galway in 2015 and completed an MSc in Psychology of Childhood Adversity at Queen’s University Belfast in 2018. Amy was a founding member of the PsychoSocial Aspects of Diabetes ECR group which she currently co-coordinates. Amy lectures undergraduates and works on paediatric diabetes psychology clinical projects at Tallaght University Hospital.

In her free time, Amy enjoys running, cycling, hiking, and sewing.

Elaine Lowry, PhD Candidate

Elaine Lowry is a PhD student supervised by Dr Sonya Deschênes and Dr Paul D’Alton. Her research aims to investigate the psychosocial needs of patients attending the high familial risk cancer clinic at St. Vincent’s University Hospital and throughout the country in order to inform the development of a suitable clinical psychology service for these patients. Prior to pursuing her PhD, she earned a BA in Psychology from Maynooth University and a Masters in Psychological Science from University College Dublin. She is interested in health and clinical psychology, particularly the biopsychosocial impact of adverse childhood experiences on individuals across the lifespan, as well as the importance of developing trauma-informed treatment approaches.

Off-campus, she enjoys hiking, cooking, reading novels (especially fantasy, historical fiction, and thrillers), and going to the theatre.

Samantha Trevaskis, PhD Candidate

Samantha Trevaskis is a PhD Candidate in the UCD School of Psychology, supervised by Dr Sonya Deschênes. Samantha’s research focuses on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), mental illness and health behaviours associated with the presentation of women’s symptoms. Her research will utilise ecological momentary assessment to investigate the presentation of PMDD symptoms for women over the course of their menstrual cycle and use this methodology to identify which health behaviours are beneficial for women with PMDD. She is particularly interested in Women’s Health Psychology, and the unique health conditions women experience.

Samantha graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2020 from Dublin City University. Following that, she graduated from University College Dublin in 2021 with a master’s degree in Psychological Science. Samantha lectures and teaches undergraduate modules such as Introduction to Psychology and Cognitive and Biological Psychology. She has also been a research assistant on several projects, including #OpenTeach and Children’s School Lives.

In her spare time, Samantha loves to try baking new recipes, reading, and travelling to new places.

Siobhan Power, MPsych Student Researcher

Siobhan is an MPsychSc student at University College Dublin. She completed her BSc in Psychology in Dublin City University in 2022. Siobhan’s undergraduate research focused on psychological well-being and post-traumatic growth in caregivers of people with a neurodegenerative disease. Siobhan also worked as a research assistant for a period in her 3rd year in DCU where she worked on the Adjusting to Covid-19 study.
Siobhan currently works as a senior support worker in a specialised residential home for individuals with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Additionally, Siobhan volunteers with the Wexford Parkinson’s Association and is a crisis counsellor with 50808. She is also a trained mental health first aider and has also been trained in trauma-informed care in Ireland. Siobhan is currently working on a systematic review and potential meta-analysis investigating the association between sexual violence and the risk of multi-morbidity in adulthood alongside Dr. Sonya Deschenes and Dr. Niki Nearchou. Siobhan enjoys walking, reading and spending time with friends and family in her spare time

Brendan Byrne, MPsychSc Student, Research Assistant

Brendan is an MPsychSc Student at University College Dublin. He completed a Higher Diploma in Psychology in 2022 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics & Political Science in 2016, both from UCD. Brendan’s previous research focused on the mental health disease burden of those with diabetes. Specifically, he looked at how the symptoms of depression and anxiety interacted differently in people with and without diabetes. 

His current research focuses on how psychology can be applied to prevent, manage, & rehabilitate the disease burden from non-communicable diseases such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is also interested in post-traumatic growth and cognitive resilience. 

In his downtime, he enjoys rock climbing, hiking, running, cooking, and reading.

Kayla O’Flaherty, Research Assistant

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 on projects related to resilience, geographical factors, and psychological wellbeing, as well as a systematic review on psychosocial aspects of high cancer risk.


Our Publications

Read some of our previous publications.