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"For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 9th April

Trinity Week Academic Symposium


Video Podcast Available here


Venue: Stanley Quek Lecture Theatre, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, 152-160 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

2:00pm - 5:00pm
The Science of Happiness

Among his many quotable thoughts, Jonathan Swift said…. "The best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet, and Doctor Merryman... and therein he opened a door for all “doctors” whether of medicine, philosophy or the sciences to have a role in understanding or seeking to explain happiness. The taste, smell and sight of good food, the joy from hearing an appreciated piece of music, the satisfaction from volunteering and giving back to one’s community, the excitement of new discovery and learning,  and the contentment from being with family and friends….. Are these all simply rises and falls in serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain; is happiness something gained from others or to successfully pursued through our own efforts?"

The pursuit of happiness and its understanding will be enhanced by the pageantry and traditions of Trinity Week, the opportunity to renew friendships between College and its communities and a series of events to appeal to every sense and every desire to know more about the different sciences and expressions of happiness.

Chair, Professor Mary McCarron, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor Jim Lucey,
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Trinity College

“Sing, Dance, and Be Mindful ”

Increasingly good evidence emerges of the positive benefits of sport, exercise, music, dance and mindfulness-based stress reduction in the building of the mental strength necessary to overcome these troubled times. The integrity of our mental health is challenged as each of us is threatened by calamity. Groups and teams, community’s and clubs are effective means of collective support. And positive mental health skills and attitudes are associated with greater individual wellbeing and with longer and happier life. Mental health is the resource which will empower recovery in us and in our economy. Modern neuroscience is proving the centrality of the brain in positive wellbeing. The evidence shows that human recovery is enhanced by music and dance and by song and by exercise, and by mindfulness. That is why we mustn’t wait any longer to lead mentally healthy lives. In Ireland we must not wait any longer to be happy.


Prof. Jim Lucey is Medical Director of St. Patricks University Hospital since 2008. He has more than 25 years’ experience in psychiatry. In addition to medical management he maintains his clinical practice at St. Patrick`s where he works on the assessment, diagnosis and management of obsessive compulsive (OCD) and other anxiety disorders.

Dr. Lucey's research includes studies into the biology of OCD which were completed while a JNP Moore Research Fellow at St. Patricks. Later while a Wellcome Trust Junior Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, he studied the use of functional brain-imaging to examine the biology of OCD, Panic disorder and Post-traumatic Disorder. In October 2006 he attended Harvard School of Public Health for "Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Medical Centres" and again in 2008 for "Forces for Change" in health services.

Dr Helen Sheridan, 
Associate Professor of Natural Product Chemistry, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Trinity College

“Creating Balance and Finding Happiness”

Life is an integrated journey. Health, family, relationships, work and friendship are the cornerstones of being human and all are important to our happiness. For many, the modern world is pressurised, and now more than ever, we experience extremes in daily life that challenge us physically, emotionally and financially. In such circumstances happiness can seem elusive. Having a balance between our actions, our attitudes and how we spend our time can make a difference to how happy and satisfied we feel with our lives.   Scientific research has established the importance of such balance and supports the concept that only balance will sustain us for the long term. In this talk we will consider your state of happiness and look at some interventions that can help you achieve greater balance and happiness in your life.


Dr Helen Sheridan is an Associate Professor in the School and leads the Natural product research group. Helen currently lectures at Sophister and Master’s level in Pharmacy, Oncology and Global Health.  Helen has also been actively involved in outreach programmes throughout her academic career, providing science workshops, lectures and career advice at primary and secondary school level.

Throughout her research career, Helen has undertaken original research in the development of new medicines and biologically active chemicals from natural sources. In addition Helen is actively involved in research into Traditional Medicine in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and incorporates aspects of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in her teaching. Her main research interests lie in the discovery of new therapies for diseases related to inflammation, autoimmune disease and cancer.

Dr Damien Brennan,
Assistant Professor in Sociology, School of Nursing, Trinity College

“Mental Health and Happiness”

Dr Brennan will address the topic of Mental Health and happiness in Ireland. He will argue that the maintenance of positive mental health is a key factor in the achievement of happiness.  He will also stress the importance of the development of mental health services that are accessible, responsive and not stigmatised.


Dr Damien Brennan trained and worked as a psychiatric nurse in Ireland. He undertook his PhD at the Department of Sociology Trinity College Dublin, which detailed and critiqued mental hospital use in Ireland. He is Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin where his teaching and research are focused on the Sociology of Health and Illness, particularly Mental Health. His recent publication Irish Insanity 1800-2000 (Routledge), demonstrates that by the1950s Ireland had the world’s highest rate of mental hospital residency. This book proposes that there was no epidemic of mental illness in Ireland; rather this institutional confinement occurred in response to social forces. He argues that we must move beyond the legacy of mental hospitals to ensure the achievement of mental health and happiness in Ireland.

Dr Michael O’Sullivan,
Associate Professor in Restorative Dentistry, School of Dental Science, Trinity Colle

“The Smile”

Dr O’Sullivan will speak about “Smiles” and will focus on how central a person’s smile is to them, how it affects social interactions and how other people perceive them. In modern society a lot of values are attached to facial appearance and the data of how cruelly we criticise dental abnormalities is quite surprising. Much subconscious prejudging is completed by all of us based on smiles which influence what we think of the person we are interacting with – this extends from attractiveness to IQ to the ability to obtain employment.  And this is all based on a first appearance glance. The lecture will examine this relationship.


Michael O'Sullivan qualified in dentistry from Trinity College Dublin in 1990. After a time in general dental practice he completed a MSc in Conservative Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Institute and University of London and fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and Edinburgh (FFD RCSI and FDS RCS(Ed)). He then undertook specialist training in Restorative Dentistry at the Dublin Dental School and Hospital, completing training in 1998 and his Intercollegiate Specialist Fellowship Examination from the RCSI. He also completed a PhD in Biochemistry at Trinity College with Professor Keith Tipton entitled "Semicarbazide-sensitive Amine Oxidase in Human and Porcine Dental Pulp" graduating in 2001. From 1999-2001 he completed a Research Fellowship with Dr Mary McDougall and a Clinical Fellowship with Dr Robert Cronin, both at the University of Texas Health Science Centre at San Antonio, Texas. He returned to Ireland in 2001 and was appointed a Senior Lecturer /Consultant in Restorative Dentistry (Special Dental Needs) in the Division of Restorative Dentistry and Periodontology at the Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin.

  • Venue: Stanley Quek Lecture Theatre, Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, Pearse Street
  • This FREE event is open to the public. No booking required

Book Launch by Professor Davis Coakley


‘Medicine in Trinity College Dublin, An Illustrated History’, by Professor Davis Coakley, Published by Trinity College Dublin, 2014

The medical school in Trinity College Dublin is one of the oldest in Europe and because of this a history of the school is also a history of the development of medical education and clinical practice in Ireland over the centuries.

The medical school emerged from an intellectual milieu created in the 1600s by a group of Dublin physicians, many of whom had studied on the Continent. The evolution of the school is described against the political background of the period, such as the Cromwellian and Williamite wars. This approach is maintained throughout the book with accounts of how major events such as the Act of Union, the agitation for Home Rule, the War of Independence and the First World War impacted on the school.

The later chapters describe the school’s adaption to an independent Ireland, its survival through recurrent recessions and the effect  of the ban on Catholic students attending Trinity. The book concludes with an account of the remarkable development of the school and its two major teaching hospitals, St James’s Hospital and Tallaght Hospital, over the last thirty years. The story is brought up to date with a description of the growing contribution which the medical school is making to international medical research through the creation of several large research institutes.

The book contains over two hundred illustrations, many being published for the first time.

About the Author

Davis Coakley is a doctor and writer who graduated from University College Cork in 1971.  He served as a consultant physician at St James’s Hospital, Dublin (1979-2011), and  was professor of medical gerontology in Trinity College Dublin (1996-2011).  He was dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences between 1993 and 1999.  He is co-chairman of the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland, a body which promotes research on ageing across the island of Ireland.  He is chairman of the Trustees of the Edward Worth Library and he served as Dun’s Librarian in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  He is an honorary fellow of Trinity College Dublin  and  a fellow of the Irish, London, Edinburgh and Glasgow Colleges of Physicians. He is the author and editor of books on medicine, medical history and literature.  His book Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Irish was published in 1992 and it is recognized as the first work in what is now a flourishing field of Wildean literature and research.  He is currently writing a history of St James’s Hospital, Dublin.

The book is available at a pre-publication price of €50.00. To order please email  or call Zhanna O’Clery +353 1 896 2560.


Scholars Series

Scholars’ Series
A series of short talks by an undergraduate Scholar, a postgraduate Scholar, an alumni Scholar and a Fellow. The talks are on a broad range of academic areas of research and are presented to a layman cross-disciplinary audience. If you want to see what others are doing in their day to day research come and hear about the importance of; using our immune system to treat cancer, the role of cannabinoids in inflammation and neurodegeneration and whether Ireland voted as part of the western bloc during the Cold War, come along to the Scholars’ Series and find out more!

Venue: Printing House

This FREE and open to the public


LUCILIN ensemble concert

Music Composition Centre

The Music Composition Centre in Trinity College presents the second annual Graduate Showcase of the M.Phil in Music Composition. This evening will be a dynamic and exclusive introduction to the most exciting Irish composers of the future. Graduate composition pieces will be performed by members of the LUCILIN Ensemble: Tomoko Kiba on violin, Danielle Hennicot on viola, Christophe Beau on violoncello and Marcel Lallemang on clarinet.


Last updated 16 April 2014 by Faculty of Health Sciences (Email).