Meet the CARDI Fellows: Joanne Feeney
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
The CARDI Leadership Programme into Ageing Research funds and supports a new generation of leaders in ageing research in Ireland, North and South.
The programme is funded by the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division Northern Ireland and The Atlantic Philanthropies.
The new CARDI Fellows were announced at the inaugural meeting of the CARDI Leadership Programme in Ageing Research in Belfast (Monday 15 Sept 2014). In this series of articles CARDI introduces the Fellows:
Dr Joanne Feeney
Dr Joanne Feeney graduated with a PhD from TCD in 2010. Her thesis examined neurocognitive changes in associative and working memory with age, and in relation to the stress hormone cortisol. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in statistics from TCD and a first class honours BSc in pharmacology, from UCD (2005). She joined TILDA at TCD in July 2011, where her research interests included the impact of psychological and physiological stress on healthy ageing, with a particular focus on neurocognitive and cardiovascular health. Joanne was the lead researcher on the Neurocognitive Working Group within TILDA, overseeing the cognitive and mental health domains of the study. She also chaired the Vision Working Group and contributed to research linking retinal health and brain function.
For the CARDI Leadership Programme, she will explore the impact of stress on the neurocognitive and cardiovascular health of older adults in the North and South of Ireland, using data from NICOLA and TILDA. The experience of severe or persistent psychological stress can alter immune mediators, trigger inflammatory processes and increase oxidative stress, damaging brain and cardiovascular health. Determining the impact of stress on neurocognitive and cardiovascular health is important in order to help uncover potential pathways to, and early indicators of, disease and disability.
A better understanding of the role of stress and the varying cultural and historical experiences of people in Ireland north and south can help to predict and manage age-related disease. Identifying early pathways and risk factors linking stress exposure to disease and disability can help inform the design interventions and educate the public about protective measures.