University College Dublin 2010-2015
B.Sc. (Hons) in Chemistry
I’ve worked in industry for 1 year and in a couple of summer internships in UCD.
I’m a PhD student.
I’m funded by the Wellcome Trust in Ireland and the NIH in America.
Favourite thing to do in science: I love to watch cells under the microscope and see how they move and interact with each other, so so cool to see how they have a mind of their own. I also like explosions, cut they’re cool and because I’m a chemist that happens more often than you might think! :P The best thing about science is you can do something and you don’t know how it’s going to work out and sometimes the results surprise you.
I like to play around with things and see how they work.
I live with my wife in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. We have no pets as of yet but I want a big lizard called a bearded dragon but my wife won’t let me! 🙁
I’m from Cavan originally but moved to Dublin when I finished my leaving cert to study in UCD.
I play rugby (although I’m not very good :P) and I like watch the marvel movies (cus I like explosions)!
I work with cancer cells and study how they interact with small particles called nanoparticles.
Everyday we eat and breathe in tiny particles called nanoparticles. If you can imagine a nanoparticle is a million times smaller than a millimeter.
To put that size into perspective a nanoparticle is to an ant what an ant is to the earth!
So really small! Because nanoparticles are so small your body can’t see them so they bypass your immune system and can enter cells, we’re trying to create special nanoparticles which only go into certain types of cells, mainly cancer cells. If we can do that then we can hopefully kill cancer cells and leave the healthy ones around it perfectly ok.
My Typical Day
I take pictures of cells using a special microscope called an electron microscope.
I grow bacteria which are infected with viruses and use those viruses to find nanoparticles which are biologically useful for targeting cancer.
I also take pictures of cells and nanoparticles under special microscopes called electron microscopes that can see really small things, you can almost see atoms with them.
What I'd do with the money
I’d use it to create an application to teach a chemistry class here in a local college for medical students and the general public.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, interested and
Who is your favourite singer or band?
**taylor swift** ahem I mean AC/DC right!
What's your favourite food?
Not broccoli, I HATE broccoli. I’ll eat anything else!
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
What was your favourite subject at school?
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
I can’t really imagine it but I suppose I’ve always had the romantic idea of working on a tobacco plantation in Cuba…don’t ask :P
Tell us a joke.
Why doesn’t the grizzly bear dissolve in water? Because it’s not a polar bear! :D
The first image there is a picture of a set of bacterial cultures which are infected with viruses. We make sure that the we only select the right bacteria by adding antibiotics to the liquid, the viruses make the bacteria antibiotic resistant and therefore only the bacteria with the viruses survives.