Dr Jennifer Ralph James
Dr Jennifer Ralph James is Head of the National Office for Research Ethics Committees in Ireland. Jennifer leads a high-performing team to ensure that the national system of research ethics review strengthens Irish infrastructure for health research for the benefit of patients and the wider public.
Jennifer’s international career has spanned both public and private sectors, leading on health-related initiatives with national reach including programmes for patient support and medical education, health and research policy, research funding programmes, and research investment decisions. She has held leadership roles managing the medical affairs for novel therapies in Ireland and Australia. Across a diverse patient treatment environment including immuno-oncology, rheumatology, and dermatology, Jennifer’s remit has been to retain patient safety, dignity and well-being at the centre of organisational decision-making. Prior to her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Jennifer was a Programme Manager at Science Foundation Ireland following post-doctoral research as an Endeavour Australia-Europe fellow in a leading translational rheumatology laboratory at Monash University, Melbourne. She is passionate about research ethics and integrity as the foundation on which healthcare improvements are developed from ‘bench to bedside’.
Jennifer holds a BSc Honours in Biochemistry and PhD from University College Dublin on the neuroendocrine basis of rheumatic disease. Beyond the biomedical sciences, she has also completed a Higher Diploma in Psychotherapy Studies from The School of Psychotherapy at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin.
Aileen Sheehy is the Programme Manager for the National Office for Research Ethics Committees in Ireland. As a senior member of the National Office team, Aileen manages the processes and procedures that underpin the national system of research ethics review.
Aileen brings a wealth of experience to the National Office from a decade working in science and research policy, advocacy, project management and media relations across academia and government agencies in Cambridge, Oxford and Dublin. She is committed to fostering transparent communication and understanding of best practice in research ethics within the Irish health research community.
Aileen holds a BSc in Chemistry from University College Cork, an MSc in Chemistry and Science Communications from the University of Warwick and an MSc in Global Health Policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Kathy Kelly is the Administrative Assistant for The National Office for Research and Ethics Committees in Ireland. She draws on her organisational and business management skills to provide administrative and secretarial support to the National Office team.
Kathy brings a range of relevant professional experience to the National Office including as Executive Assistant to the CEO at the HRB, administrator for HRB senior management and Customer Planner in the pharmaceutical industry.
Kathy holds an Honours Degree in Business Studies in Procurement and Supply Management from University College Dublin.
Dr Melissa Jones
Dr Melissa Jones is the Project Officer for the National Office for Research Ethics Committees in Ireland. Melissa provides expert technical and operational support across the lifecycle of applications for ethics review in the NREC system.
Melissa brings strong scientific and project management expertise to the National Office. She was a Programme Manager at Science Foundation Ireland, where she managed a diverse portfolio of research awards, and was involved in developing and supporting research funding programmes. Melissa previously worked as a Research Officer for Fighting Blindness, where she developed medical and scientific resources for the general public and managed the patient and public involvement in research initiative. She is committed to ensuring the integrity and efficiency of the national research ethics review process for the benefit of the Irish research community and wider public.
Melissa holds a BSc in Neuroscience from University College Dublin, and a PhD in Clinical Medicine from Trinity College Dublin.