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Dr Rachel O'Callaghan
Lecturer in Physiology and Biomedical Science

Location: Room 4.20a, Fogg building
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 6649

Dr Rachel O'Callaghan is currently on maternity leave.

My research interests involve exercise and the ageing brain. Over recent years exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on the brain and it has been proposed that exercise may act as a neuroprotectant to preserve cognitive function. Although this area has been well-researched, the mechanisms underlying an exercise-induced effect within the brain remain unclear.  

Given that chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have been associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment, it is critical that we understand how exercise is mediating its effects within the brain and we identify what type of exercise is most effective. Exercise known to slow the onset of cognitive decline should be prescribed for all population groups at risk of cognitive impairment and the management of patients with chronic disease and cognitive impairment must be carefully considered.

I lecture on the Biomedical Physiology modules in year 1 and year 2 of the Biomedical Science programme.

I also lecture Physiology as part of a 1st year module for science students on the following programmes:

In the past, I have lectured both undergraduate and postgraduate students in various clinical disciplines at Trinity College, Dublin. 

Whilst lecturing at Trinity College I spent a number of years working part-time as a paediatric Physiotherapist in Ireland's largest paediatric hospital.

Teaching responsibilities

  • Physiology
  • Biomedical Physiology I: Exchange, Movement and Integration
  • Biomedical Physiology II: Cardiovascular & Respiratory Physiology
  • Essential Skills for Biomedical Scientists (tutor)
  • Project skills (mentor)
  • Supervisor for final year research projects

Module organiser

  • Physiology
  • Biomedical Physiology II: Cardiovascular & Respiratory Physiology

I am also chair of the Teaching Interest Group and Education Research committee. 

Outreach work

I have always had a strong interest in volunteer work and outreach activities and have, in recent years, volunteered with Special Olympics as a swimming coach for children with special needs. I am also a STEM ambassador.

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