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Dr Deirdre O'Connor

Deirdre O’Connor was appointed as TILDA's Research Communications Officer in April 2022. She is also a Research Nutritionist and Ph.D. Candidate at TILDA.

Deirdre graduated from University College Cork with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutritional Sciences (BSc. Hons) in 2010 and was awarded a Masters of Public Health Nutrition (MPH Nutrition) from University College Dublin in 2011 and Postgraduate Certificate in Statistics (PgCert.Stat) from Trinity College, Dublin in 2016.

She commenced her Ph.D. in Nutritional Epidemiology in the Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College Dublin in September 2017, investigating the interactions of plasma folate and vitamin B12 and implications for cognitive function and brain health using data from TILDA. In Summer 2020, Deirdre published the first study from her Ph.D. work in the British Journal of Nutrition which led to widespread national media converage including coverage in The Irish Independent. This work continues to go from strength to strength and in late August 2020, she was selected as one of eleven applicants to deliver a short talk at the internationally renowned FASEB Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and One-Carbon Metabolism Virtual Conference where she won a Best Short Talk Award for her presentation. The presentation was entitled ‘Do variations of plasma folate concentrations predict cognitive decline among Older Irish Adults at 8-year follow-up? Evidence from TILDA".

Her other research projects and collaborations in TILDA include characterization of the typical diet amongst older adults in Ireland, identification of dietary patterns, malnutrition on older age, dietary determinants of frailty and metabolic syndrome.

Prior to joining TILDA in 2013 as a Research Assistant, Deirdre was a Consultant Technical Executive with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, where she consulted on the Calories in Menus in Ireland Initiative. Deirdre has also worked with the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research, RCSI, and the UCD School of Public Health. Her research interests include nutritional status in older populations, diet quality assessment methods, and the relationship between obesity, chronic disease and dietary patterns.

Deirdre is a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with the Association for Nutrition in the UK, and she is an active member of the Nutrition Society in Ireland.


O’Connor D.M.A., Laird EJ, Carey D, O’Halloran AM, Clarke R, Kenny RA, Molloy AM. Plasma concentrations of vitamin B12 and folate and global cognitive function in an older population: cross-sectional findings from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). British Journal of Nutrition. 2020 Sep;124(6):602-10. British Journal of Nutrition 'Paper of the Year' 2021 (Runner-Up).

‘Low folate predicts accelerated cognitive decline: 8-year follow-up of 3,140 older adults in Ireland.’ FASEB: Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and One-Carbon Metabolism Conference (2020 Online Conference Oral Presentation). August 2020. Best Short Presentation (Winner).

The Nutrition Society Student Travel Award 11th International Conference on Homocysteine and One Carbon Metabolism at Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. May 2017. (Winner).

Peer Review Publications