Meet our team


Dr Úna Cunningham

Úna is the head of Mater Transformation, having established the office in 2013.

Úna’s area of special interest is collective leadership in teams. She completed her PhD as part of the Co-Lead programme at University College Dublin (UCD) in 2021. Through this approach, she has developed a reputation for enabling teams to work across silos and hierarchies—building trust, embracing positive conflict and instilling the accountability and ownership that is fundamental to real and lasting change.

As Executive Lead for Strategic Projects, Úna has most recently overseen the clinical, operational and people planning for the Rock Wing and Major Trauma Centre projects at the hospital.

Úna guest lectures on transformational systems level change and team interventions at UCD and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is also a leadership mentor with the Irish Management Institute. Her work has been published in BMC Health Services Research, BMC Medical Research Methodology, BMC Medical Education, BMJ Open and the International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health.

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Aileen Igoe

Originally an architect, Aileen first entered the world of healthcare in 2011 when she was working with a design firm on a major hospital development at the Mater Hospital. She quickly became interested in the interdependence between spatial design and work systems. Recognising the potential in this space, Aileen undertook advanced studies in  process engineering with further training in innovation and leadership in healthcare. She spent the next ten years working with teams to deeply understand and fundamentally reconfigure systems and services in the healthcare sector.

In her current role as Lean and System Redesign Lead, she applies a systems and process lens to Mater Transformation's improvement work and uses her years of design experience to bring about sustainable, workable solutions that have the user at heart. As an adjunct associate professor at UCD Health Systems, Aileen teaches and mentors on the Mater Lean Academy process improvement programmes.



Siobhan Manning

Siobhan has been working at the intersection of innovation and healthcare since 2011 when she managed the roll-out of the Productive Operating Theatre programme at the Mater. In 2013, she joined Mater Transformation, ultimately becoming Lead for Service Innovation & Design.

Siobhan is passionate about the opportunities that emerge when people and ideas from different backgrounds come together to solve problems. In 2016, Siobhan piloted a collaboration with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) to explore what value human centred design might add to Mater Transformation’s work. The collaboration has grown exponentially since then as healthcare teams recognise the value that design brings through its strong focus on human factors, intuition, risk taking and creativity.

Siobhan’s interest in innovation in healthcare stems from diverse sources.  On completion of a Masters in International Marketing, she worked with Enterprise Ireland in Silicon Valley, supporting Irish tech start-ups in driving new business opportunities in the US market. She then returned to Ireland to train as a speech and language therapist and worked at the frontline of healthcare for 12 years before joining Mater Transformation full time in 2013.



Alison Dingle

Alison is Systems Integration Lead at Mater Transformation.  With a Masters in Healthcare Management and having worked extensively as a healthcare planner across a number of hospital sites to reconfigure and plan their campus. Alison has experience amalgamating existing, disparate systems to be more streamlined and cohesive. She is a highly skilled business/data analyst utilising the best available data to inform strategic master planning. She is also passionate about design in healthcare, having first qualified as a graphic designer.



Alan MacFarlane

Joining us in 2021, Alan is one of our first designers to work at Mater Transformation. His work focuses on deploying design thinking and research to develop holistic solutions within the constraints of complex systems and environments that improve the lives of patients and healthcare workers.

Alan’s commitment to co-design and fostering design thinking amongst healthcare staff has led to a variety of successful projects, many of which have emerged out of the Mater Hospital’s close collaboration with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD).  He is particularly proud of his work on StrokeLINK, a nurse-led service for stroke patients that extends care beyond the hospital, through paper and digital support tools.

Alan’s journey into design in healthcare began in 2019. While completing a Masters in Interaction Design at NCAD, Alan discovered the profound impact of design in health and became passionate about designing for social good.

Prior to this, Alan worked as a product designer for consumer products and architectural domains. In 2016, Alan graduated from NCAD with BDes (Hons) in Industrial Design, where in his final year he received an RSA Design Award and fellowship at the RSA in London.



Dr Sean Paul Teeling

Sean Paul is an assistant professor in UCD Health Systems, programme, director and co-founder of the Mater Lean Academy (MLA) and developer of the fundamentals, professional and graduate certificate programmes. A UCD University Teaching Excellence Award winner, he enjoys teaching and mentoring healthcare professionals, and facilitating impactful and sustainable person-centred process improvements.  

Sean Paul’s extensive clinical experience as a nurse led him to the role of clinical planner to the Mater Campus Hospital Development and as part of this he was actively involved in the development of training. He is a Lean Master Black Belt and initiated the rollout of change initiatives and consolidation of projects for the Mater Hospital.

Sean Paul holds a PhD in Person-Centred Improvement and is an honorary lecturer and member of the Centre for Person-Centred Practice Research at QMU Edinburgh. He is a founding member of the UCD Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, Education and Innovation in Health Systems and has served as a member of the advisory committee on medical devices, as appointed by the Minister for Health.



Michelle McGuirk

Michelle is an improvement facilitator, joining the Mater Transformation team in 2013.  She has a background in biotechnology where she gained her analytical and process engineering skills. She started her career in healthcare in medication safety, implementing change to prevent drug errors.

She is passionate about problem solving on the frontline in healthcare through education, empathy and insight.  She is skilled at breaking down complex systems, facilitating staff through small tests of change, bringing persistence and people focus to help make new ways of working a reality. Her attention to detail and use of data in an accessible and pragmatic way helps drive lasting change.

She teaches on the UCD and Mater Lean Academy programmes and has mentored numerous green belt teams on  projects in the public, private and primary care sector. Her work has been published in quality journals. She has a Bachelor’s degree from DCU, a Masters. from TU Dublin and Graduate Diploma in  for Healthcare with black belt from UCD.



Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa has been the Mater Lean Academy administrator since 2017. She schedules, promotes and plans the academy programmes and events. She also manages the social media accounts for both the Mater Lean Academy & Mater Transformation.

She began working as a healthcare administrator in 2011, working across a number of clinical specialties with the chief operating officer, where she gained an in-depth knowledge of the challenges in delivering hospital services. This inspired her to undertake a Professional Certificate in Process Improvement with UCD Mater Lean Academy.  She now supports the Lean Academy improvement facilitators with their teaching and individual projects and workshops. She finds the healthcare sector both challenging and rewarding. She has a very person centred approach to her work, having previously worked as a nutritionist.


Lena Dornan

Lena is the operations manager of the office. Her primary degree is BBS specialising in HR and IR.  Lena's interests include Data Science/Analytics, process reengineering and she holds a Masters in Science, specialising in Health Informatics.  She brings a diverse skillset to the team with experience from health and industrial sectors in Ireland and abroad.



Emer O’Kane

Emer is a project manager at Mater Transformation. Having previously worked as a research project manager with UCD in collaboration with Mater Transformation, Emer saw first-hand the positive changes that are happening in the Mater, through its service innovation and design programme.

Emer has a long and varied career in healthcare. A former oncology nurse, she has worked in clinical research, and also headed up the Education and Information Services at the Irish Cancer Society.  This background enables her to bring a unique empathy, insight and scientific rigour to her role at Mater Transformation.

The common theme throughout Emer’s career has been her passion for continuous improvement and change, whether it is through technology and process innovation, or behavioural change and organisation design. Emer is driven by a desire to support the incredible people she has met that are engaged in healthcare services, and to help them deliver the best outcomes for their patients.

Emer completed her degree and a H.Dip in Oncology at UCD, and recently completed a Professional Diploma in Innovation and Leadership at UCD.

Projects Recruits

These team members join Mater Transformation for periods of time to work on specific projects


Alan Coleman

Alan is a designer with a diverse skill set and a broad range of experience in design. He worked as a furniture maker and designer for a Dublin based manufacturer before graduating from the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) with a combined Product Design BA & Service Design MA.

Alan is an Interaction/Service designer at Mater Transformation and has worked in the Mater for the strategic Projects Office, helping to develop a new national trauma service before migrating to the Transformation team.


Karen Connolly

Karen is an improvement facilitator working with teams to find solutions to systemic problems that result in improvements for both service users and staff as well as benefits to the Mater Hospital. She always had a particular interest in service development and improvement while working clinically as a Senior Physiotherapist in Neurology and Stroke in Ireland and overseas.

She attended University College Dublin (UCD) to complete a Professional Certificate in Process Improvement in Health Systems (Green Belt) in 2015.  She then progressed to complete a Graduate Certificate in Process Improvement in Health Systems (Black Belt) in 2020, where her project delivered significant improvements to therapy input for people after acute stroke.  She completed her studies with an MSc in Leadership, Innovation and Management.  

Karen regularly teaches on the Mater Lean Academy White Belt Programme as well as mentors teams on the UCD health systems programmes. 


Lisa Joyce

Lisa Joyce is a project manager at Mater Transformation. Lisa’s background as Tissue Viability Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Mater led her to Transformation and the Share to Care Project. Having worked as a nurse in the Mater since 2000, Lisa has always being passionate about patient centred care and using evidence based practice and quality improvement to drive clinical practice.

Her clinical background has driven her to want to use innovation, education and organisational change to help ensure that the right treatment is given to the right patient at the right time.

Lisa has completed her Masters in Specialist Practice in RCSI. She has been involved in quality improvement projects, product tenders and evaluations both national and locally. She likes to bring her outside interest in design, craft and creativity to help educate and promote change.


Mallory Frye

Mallory is a multi-disciplinary designer with a background in UX, UI and user research. After graduating from the University of Florida with a BFA in Graphic Design, Mallory started her career as a product designer with IBM which taught her valuable skills of designing for scale, cross disciplinary collaboration, and the importance of user centred research. Since 2021, she has shifted focus to social impact design, using her skills and expertise to craft experiences that improve people’s quality of life. At Mater Transformation, she works as a project facilitator, leading design projects around the hospital.


Linda Klotzbach

Linda is a service designer at Mater Transformation. She originally studied communication design, but felt compelled toward an area of design that had a more holistic approach, where a positive impact could clearly be felt. She continued on to study service design, graduating with a Masters degree from NCAD. With a broad spectrum of design methods and visual skills, she creates meaningful and enjoyable service innovations with a strong focus on human beings and their interaction with our environment. Her interests include, designing for good, organisational change through design innovation, artificial intelligence, and data sovereignty.


Sean Gallagher

Sean is a product designer and Artist in Residence at the Mater Hospital with a background in fine art sculpture, design, casting and mold making. He studied at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire where he received a B.A. in 3D design Model Making & Digital effects.

After completing a year in Chicago, working in a design studio, producing large commercial sculpture pieces and store installations. He returned home to complete a Master’s degree at NCAD in Medical Device Design where he developed a keen interest in understanding the human factors which are essential to the development of intuitive and easy to use products.

Working with Mater Transformation Sean is the lead designer on Sim-U-Skin where he merges these skills by developing high fidelity silicone dermatology models which are used as an educational tool to teach a wide variety of common skin conditions.


Mark MacDonagh

BA Graphic Design

Mark is a graphic designer who has been working with us at Mater Transformation since graduating from the National College of Art and Design in 2023.

Mark's focus is on publication design and how it can impact patient experience.

Previously, Mark worked as an intern within Mater Transformation. Whilst working on design improvement in healthcare, Mark learned the value communication design has for patients and healthcare workers.

Graphic design principles traditionally used for advertising, branding and book design are also important for providing patients and staff with understandable and easy-to-read information.

Professionally designed documents and visual identities also communicate a sense of care and understanding that healthcare workers have for patients and add to an environment of trust that patients look for.


Julie Grennell

Julie has a proven track record of driving change and implementing quality improvement initiatives in the Mater Hospital. Her post graduate experience started in the National Spinal Injuries Unit. It was there she copper fastened her commitment to excellence in patient care.

Her move to Nurse Practice Development (Mater) in 2018 tasked her with implementing a new nursing professional practice model and philosophy—Careful Nursing. The Careful Nursing project saw an overhaul of nursing documentation as well as large scale education and staff support.
During this time Julie also worked with multidisciplinary teams on various projects and initiatives. The most noteworthy of these was her position as project lead on Assessments Mater—a collaborative, co-design project to reimagine the way nurses document and communicate patient care. The project involved Mater Nursing, Mater Transformation, National College of Art and Design and SPARK.  
Julie’s current position as Project Manager at Mater Transformation gives her the opportunity to combine her nursing specialisation with Design Thinking and Lean process improvements.
Julie was awarded a SPARK bursary to complete the Prof. Dip. in Service Design at the National College of Art and Design in 2023.

Our Design Interns

Our Design Internship programme is sponsored by HSE Spark Innovation where undergraduate students on the Studio+ year at NCAD School of Design are given the opportunity to spend 4-6 months at the Mater and other hospitals to apply their emerging design skills to healthcare. The programme was launched in 2022. Meet the design interns who have worked with Mater Transformation to date:


Izzy Hall - O’Connor

BA Product design

Worked on Skinnovate, ENT theatre booking system, Mater Transformation communications and branding, Spark Frontline Innovation Awards booklet design  


Jack McEvitt

BA Illustration

Worked on StrokeLINK graphic design, Design week - social media and video design, illustration for projects across the hospital (10 Enablers of Teams, Pride Week), Day oncology waiting room decor exploration


Lauryn Flynn

BA Graphic Design

Worked on oral opioid medication safety, 1861 Health Club, Metabolics - transferring from paediatric to adult services


Ellen Connolly

BA Illustration

Currently on internship working with us on Prostectomy support videos, Sim-u-skin models and supporting with StrokeLINK.