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Irene Maeve Rea

Professor emeritus, Queen's University Belfast

Maeve was educated in Medicine at Queens University Belfast and did postgraduate research in immunogenetics at Stanford University, USA. She has been a physician in Geriatric Medicine, is a Professor Emeritus at Queens University Belfast and a Visiting Professor at Ulster University. Her research work centres around identifying factors that may contribute to ‘successful ageing', investigating ~ 10% of 90 year olds and older, who seem to ‘age slowly' with the combination of long ‘lifespan' and ‘healthspan'. The participants are from the Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Ageing STudy (BELFAST) 1994-currently, which she set up, and nonagenarian siblings in the EU-funded Genetics of Healthy Ageing (GeHA) project (2004-2010). Her research team hypothesised that good quality ageing should be accompanied by a competent immune system, good cardiovascular risk profiles, a facilitatory gene phenotype, a good nutritional profile or a combination of these interlinking factors. As a co-ordinator in the ACUME2 Socrates Thematic Network, she has linked GeHA science with the narrative of GeHA participants giving their insights into their longevity in an authored book called ‘Super Vivere: Reflections on Living Long and Ageing Well’. She is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, a Harvard Macy Scholar and has taught widely in the undergraduate medical curriculum at Queens University. She is a current Trustee of AgeNI, a former Chair of British Geriatrics Society Northern Ireland and Member of the Policy Committee British Geriatrics Society in London and previously a visiting lecturer to the British Geriatrics Society Teaching Programme for Geriatric Fellows in Taiwan.


  • 2014–present
    Emeritus Professor, Queens University Belfast
  • 2014–present
    Visiting Professor , University of Ulster
  • 1994–2014
    Clinical Senior Lecturer, Queens University Belfast


    Queens University Belfast, BSc(Hons)
  • 2001 
    Fellow Higher Education Authority , FHEA
  • 1992 
    Royal College of Physicians Uk, FRCP
  • 1986 
    Queens University Belfast , MD


  • 2011
    Super Vivere: Reflections on Long Life and Ageing Well , Maeve Rea &Susie Rea

Grants and Contracts

  • 2008
    Parallel Lives
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Changing Ageing Partnership Grant, Queens Foundation Trust (R9158PHM)
  • 2006
    EU Socrates Erasmus Programme for Thematic Network, Interfacing Science, Literature and Humanities ACUME2
    Funding Source:
    227942-CP-1-2006-1-IT-ERASMUS-TN2006-2371/001 SO2-23RETH
  • 2004
    Genetics of Healthy Ageing (GeHA)
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
    EU project LSHM-CT-2004-503270
  • 1996
    T-lymphocyte and IL-6 in Ageing
    Principal Investigator
    Funding Source:
    Wellcome Trust Project Grant (045519/Z/95/Z)

Professional Memberships

  • Fellow of Royal College of Physicians
  • Fellow of Royal College of Physicians (Ed)