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HRB Award is huge boost for paediatric psychiatry research in TCD


The School of Medicine is absolutely thrilled to welcome the truly outstanding Dr. Ian Kelleher to the Discipline of Psychiatry to advance research in his expert area of psychosis in childhood and adolescence.
Dr Kelleher is one of 5 five emerging medical leaders who have been acknowledged by the HRB Emerging Clinician Scientist Award Programme 2020 to improve health outcomes for the patients in their specialty areas. The aim of Dr Kelleher’s €750,000 research project is to identify young people who are at risk of psychosis before the illness takes hold.

  • Five of the 10 leading causes of disability in young people are mental illnesses. Of these, psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are the most severe and disabling. These are illnesses that affect brain development over the course of adolescence and ultimately result in serious problems with thinking skills, perception, and emotional experience. They are devastating illnesses for the affected young person, as well as for their families and wider community. Early intervention leads to better outcomes but ideally doctors would like to be able to prevent the illness altogether. To be able to do that, doctors need to be able to identify young people who are at high risk of psychosis.
  • This HRB funded research will take a new approach to improving our ability to identify people at risk of psychosis while still in childhood and adolescence. It will also look at the effect of several neuroprotective medications in reducing risk of psychosis.

Speaking about the award means, Dr Kelleher, said ‘This HRB Emerging Clinician Scientist award represents a huge boost for paediatric psychiatry research in Ireland and internationally. It will allow us to carry out cutting edge research to improve our understanding of childhood risk for schizophrenia, a severe and disabling neuropsychiatric disorder that affects tens of millions of people worldwide’.

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