Speakers 2015

1. Sinead          Sinead Barton – Maynooth University

‘Noise and the Raman Spectrometer’

I received my BE in Electronic Engineering in 2013 from Maynooth University. After which, I received a scholarship from the Irish Research Council and returned to continue my studies in the Biomedical Engineering Research Group investigating the opto-electronic technique of Raman spectroscopy with Dr. Bryan Hennelly. I have just started my third year as a PhD candidate focusing on noise analysis, noise removal algorithms, and multi-component analysis for Raman spectrometers.

2. Joe        Joe Devlin – Engineers Ireland

‘The Two Most Important Gases in Ireland’

Joe graduated with a MEng in Mechanical Engineering from QUB in 2012 before crossing over to the dark side and pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering (he also surveyed ships for a while between both).

3. PaulMannion        Paul Mannion – NUI Galway

‘Aerodynamic Design of a Fuel Efficient Vehicle

Paul Mannion is a postgraduate research student studying sports aerodynamics in NUI Galway. As a member of the GEEC (Galway Energy Efficient Car) team, he designed an aerodynamic car to succeed our first car, termed Geec 1.0, which the team built and raced last year in the Shell Eco Marathon. Paul and the team achieved a fuel efficiency score the equivalent of 8000 mpg. Paul’s research is to improve upon this score through improved aerodynamic design.

4. Rukmani        Rukmani Sridharan – Royal College of Surgeons

‘Biomaterial bribery of the immune police’

Rukmani is a third year PhD student in Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, where she investigates the effect of implanted biomaterials on the immune system. She completed her master’s in biomedical engineering (from Czech Republic and Ireland) and has worked on diverse biomedical solutions such as immune engineering, nerve regeneration and stem cell therapy. She avidly follows all scientific and medical news, and is passionate about engaging the public in understanding scientific discoveries.

5. Claire watkins         Claire Watkins – University College Cork

‘Born into a bacterial world: A helpful hand for a healthy start’

Claire Watkins is a 3rd year PhD student in Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork. She graduated from UCC in 2013 with a B.Sc in Microbiology and continued on to do a PhD as a Teagasc Walsh Fellow with Professor Catherine Stanton on the project INFANTMET. Her research focuses on the intestinal microbiota in infants, with particular interest into the use of probiotics to improve infant health. In understanding how the bacteria within us can influence our everyday lives Claire is working alongside the innovative APC Microbiome Institute to investigate the effects our microbiota can have at the extremes of life which will benefit future generations to come. This year Claire was awarded the Michael C Berdnt Gold Medal for research at the Inaugrial INFANT’s Research Day hosted by the INFANT Centre and College of Medicine and Health at UCC.

6. Nancy Nguyen HR        Nancy Duong Nguyen – University College Dublin

‘The Migrant Measurement Issue’      

I am a third year PhD student from the UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics. My area of research is Survey Sampling Methodology with the focus on imputation and calibration techniques to reduce non-response bias in a sample survey. Specifically, my PhD aims to improve current statistical techniques and come up with new measures to produce better and more reliable statistics on the migrant population in Ireland and in Europe.

7. Vivek Verma        Vivek Verma– University of Limerick

‘Can small particles make you earn big money?’

Vivek Verma completed his Int. BS-MS degree in Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune, INDIA in 2014. He joined SSPC (Synthesis and Solid Sate Pharmaceutical Centre) as a PhD student in October 2014 under the supervision of Prof. Kieran Hodnett, Dr. Sarah Hudson and Dr. Peter Davern and is working on the Strand 2 Platform 6 project: Crystallisation of active pharmaceutical ingredients onto excipients. His research interest is crystallisation of pharmaceutical active compounds in their different forms and studies their properties.

8. KM_pic        Kara Moran – Dublin City University

‘Catcher in The Rye’

Kara comes from Wicklow but studied for her Undergraduate Degree in Biochemistry in NUI Galway. She also achieved first class honours and first place in her Masters course in Biomedical Diagnostics in DCU. She is currently completing a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Richard O’ Kennedy in DCU, generating antibodies for the detection of mycotoxin contaminants which grow on cereal crops and cause severe illness in humans and animals. Kara has written three book chapters in her field and hopes to soon publish research papers based on her PhD studies.

9. Stephen          Stephen Fedigan – Dundalk IT

‘How Doormen can be used to treat urinary incontinence’

Stephen Fedigan is a third year Ph.D student at Dundalk Institute of Technology in the Smooth Muscle Research Centre. He is a graduate of Biopharmaceutical Science from Dundalk Institute of Technology. His current research involves understanding the mechanism responsible for the generation of tone in urethral smooth muscle. He has presented these findings at various scientific gatherings both nationally and internationally and has published a paper titled “Pharmacological characterization of TMEM16A currents” in the journal Channels.

10. FionaMalone        Fiona Molone – GMIT

‘Stroke: are we only just a heartbeat away?’

Fiona Malone graduated from UL in 2013 with a first class honours degree in Biomedical Engineering. Her Final Year Project won the Engineering & Mechanical Sciences Category of the 2014 Undergraduate Awards. Now in the third year of her PhD at GMIT, she is investigating the haemodynamic factors that influence the occurrence of ischaemic stroke. Her work to date on the experimental monitoring of cerebral haemodynamics won first prize in the New Researcher Category at the 20th Annual Conference of the Bioengineering Section of the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland in January of 2014.

11. John McManus        John McManus – Trinity College Dublin

‘The surprising depth of the 2D world’

John graduated with a degree in Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials in 2013. Following this John worked in Intel Leixlip as a Process Engineer for two years. In April this year he began a PhD with the ASIN research group led by Prof. Georg Duesberg. John’s research focuses on growing novel two dimensional materials to make new devices for electronic and optoelectronic applications.

12. Niamh Kavanagh       Niamh Kavanagh – Tyndall National Institute

‘A new suitcase for travelling light’

In 2014, Niamh emerged bleary-eyed, tired and proud from the Kane Building, UCC with a degree in Physics. She promptly walked down the road to Cork’s Tyndall National Institute to do a PhD with the Photonics Systems Group and IPIC (Irish Photonic Integration Centre). This came as a surprise to no one, since she’d been doing projects there since the 2nd year of her undergrad and she always went on and on about how much she loved lasers. In fact, she went on about it enough that she managed to get funding from the Irish Research Council to do her PhD. She’s currently at the end of her first year and now loves all components of the optical communications system with relative equality, depending on the day. Her research focuses on the combating the oncoming capacity crunch by using new types of optical fibres and moving to longer-wavelength communications. The number of users and devices per user is ever-increasing and there’s only so much our current communications system can cope with. No one wants to be paying more for slower internet, right? Her research investigates the viability of new high-capacity systems so we can all (hopefully) have as much internet as we want, as fast as we want, forever!

13. Helena          Helena Gibbons – University College Dublin

‘You are what you pee!’

I am originally from Mayo and have a BSc. in Sport Science and Health from DCU and an MSc. in Human Nutrition from Ulster University. I am currently in the final year of my PhD in the Institute of Food and Health in UCD working under the supervision of Prof. Lorraine Brennan. My research focuses on the identification of novel biomarkers of dietary intake.

14. FengChen      Feng Chen – University of Limerick

‘Don’t fire the architects, identifying architecturally significant requirements’

Feng Chen is a 4th year PhD student in Lero at University of Limerick. Having completed a B.Eng. degree in Software Engineering from Jilin University in China in 2012, she received a PhD scholarship from the Chinese Scholarship Council which opens the opportunity for her to come to Ireland. Her research focuses on how to identify architecturally significant requirements, thereby improving requirements practice, by investigating the interplay between ASRs and architecture (through the eyes of architects) within the context of real world projects.

15. Clare tIn3 photo         Clare Finnegan – Maynooth University

‘Pellino2 in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)’

Clare graduated from Maynooth University with a BSc in Biomedical Sciences in 2014. After obtaining an Irish Research Council scholarship in the same year she began her PhD under the supervision of Prof Paul Moynagh at the Institute of Immunology in Maynooth University. Clare is now in the second year of her PhD, which is focusing on signaling pathways in inflammatory diseases.

16. JuhiSamal        Juhi Samal – NUI Galway

‘Biomaterial Pills for Parkinson’s’

Juhi Samal is a third year PhD student under Professor Abhay Pandit and Dr Eilis O’Dowd at CÚRAM, the Centre for Research in Medical Devices. Originally from Odisha in India, Juhi moved to Galway in 2013, when she was awarded the Hardiman Fellowship. Her PhD  focuses on developing solutions for neurodegenerative disease. In particular, her research is investigating delivery of neurotrophic factors to the brain, to modify neuronal dysfunctions in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

17. Martin        Martin O’ Reilly – University College Dublin

‘Strength and Sensorbility’

Growing up my passion during school hours was for Maths and Science and my free time was for playing as many different sports as possible. I’ve competed in over 15 sports throughout my life! I combined my two loves in university through studying ‘Sports and Exercise Engineering’ in N.U.I. Galway. A project I started, creating virtual personal trainer apps in my down time during my college placement with ‘Shimmer Sensing’ grew in to my final year project and more recently I received Irish Research Council PhD funding which brought me to the ‘Insight Centre for Data Analytics’ in UCD where I  have been continuing the work for the last two years.

17. Creel          James Creel – Trinity College Dublin

‘Brighter and Hotter: A Mechanism for Heating the Fourth State of Matter [Plasma]’

James is from a small town in Texas and always enjoyed science and mathematics growing up. He was awarded an Honors B.S. in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas at Arlington and went on to get his M.S. in physics from Baylor University in 2010. He is currently a final year PhD student in the Laser and Plasma Applications Group within the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin. James’s research centers around plasma physics; in particular, the manipulation of laser produced plasma. He is an experimentalist and very hands-on in the design and setup of experiments and diagnostics. His current work involves plasma heating via inductive coupling and applications of his work are primarily aimed at LIBS. Having done STEM public outreach and teaching undergraduates over the past decade, James enjoys teaching at all levels and hopes to pursue physics lecturing and plasma research once he graduates.

18. IanONeill        Ian O’ Neill – University College Cork

‘Crohn’s disease: when good bacteria go bad’

Ian O’Neill from Cork. I graduated with a BSc in Physiology from UCC in 2006. I also have a MSc in Physiology from UCC. After some travelling in New Zealand and working for Apple in Cork,  I completed a masters in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the University of Manchester.  I then returned to Cork to start my PhD in the Molecular Cell Biology PhD Programme where I work under the supervision of Dr. David Clarke. My research is into bacteria associated with Crohn’s Disease and the effect these bacteria have on the immune system. Outside of science, I am interested in music, rugby, technology and olympic weightlifting.

19. Cliodhna          Clíodhna O’ Connor – University College Dublin

‘Turning that frown upside-down!’

Clíodhna is in the second year of her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Amanda Fitzgerald as part of the Youth Mental Health Lab. She graduated from Mary Immaculate College in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Primary Education and Psychology. Having spent a year teaching third class in Cork, Clíodhna spent a summer working in the Mood and Anxiety Disorder Laboratory at Stanford University. It was here that she formed the basis of her thesis; Cognitive Bias Modification. Clíodhna is dedicated to researching an exciting intervention for adolescents suffering from mental health difficulties and she has recently been awarded a scholarship from the Irish Research Council for her research.

21. Ciara Griffin        Ciara Griffin – University of Limerick

‘Improving solubility in a disorderly fashion’

Ciara Griffin is a second year PhD student with the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC) at the University of Limerick. Ciara graduated with a B.E in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering from in the University of Limerick in 2014. Her research focuses on pharmaceutical drug design for poorly water soluble drugs.