Summer placement briefings by fourth year Biochemistry, Biomedical Science and Pharmacy students

14 Feb 2018

The current Biochemistry, Biomedical Science and Pharmacy fourth year students presented their experiences to the third year students on their summer work placements on Wednesday 11 October 2017.

The fourth year students gave outstanding presentations and provided the third year students with excellent information and advice which should be of great benefit to them when applying for their own summer placements.

Photos from left: Orla Brosnan, 4th Year Biochemistry; Mark Collins, 4th Year Biochemistry; Chloë Darragh-Hickey, 4th Year Biochemistry; Daniel Moore, 4th Year Biochemistry; Erika Vasiliauskaite, 4th Year Biochemistry; Jack Kenny, 4th Year Biomedical Science; Dawn Keyes, 4th Year Biomedical Science; Brandon Malone, 4th Year Pharmacy.

Orla Brosnan (Biochemistry 4)

Orla Brosnan discussed the SEFS Summer Research Bursary and her research project which was entitled the ‘The Champagne of Dairy’” which Orla conducted under the supervision of Dr Shane Crowley and Dr Christiane Schmidmeier, in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC.

Mark Collins (Biochemistry 4)

Mark Collins was the recipient a SEFS Summer Research Bursary and conducted a project entitled “Biochemical Characterisation of Long Non-coding RNAs in Colorectal Cancer” under the supervision of Dr Kellie Dean, School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC. The goal of the project was to identify the protein binding partners of the lncRNA SNHG5.

Chloë Darragh-Hickey and Daniel Moore (Biochemistry 4)

iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) is an synthetic biology research competition between universities that takes part in Boston annually. Chloë Darragh-Hickey and Daniel Moore were members of the UCC 2017 iGEM team. They discussed their project titled ‘Moonshine’ which focused on creating biosensors for detection of various contaminants in food and drink. They also discussed how they enjoyed the team element of this opportunity as they got to work with Pharmacy, Medicine and Mathematical Science students.

Erika Vasiliauskaite  (Biochemistry 4)

Erika Vasiliauskaite was awarded a funded Summer studentship from the APC Microbiome Institute and worked with the Professor Douwe Van Sinderen research group. Erika’s research project focused on the intracellular synthesis of a novel energy storage polysaccharide in bifidobacteria. Erica discussed how she gained a lot of experience in microbiology and molecular biology and informed the attendees how she had improved her problem-solving skills, analytical thinking and ‘’ how to think outside the box’’.

Jack Kenny (Biomedical Science 4)

Jack Kenny completed a summer research placement in the Molecular Virology Diagnostic Research Laboratory, CUH under the supervision of Dr Liam Fanning. The research conducted involved carrying out a phylogenetic study of 3a HCV core proteins. Jack also discussed the techniques he had learned and appreciated the opportunity to practice scientific report writing and presentation skills and manage a project. Jack also appreciated the advice he received on how to pursue a career in research.

Dawn Keyes (Biomedical Science 4)

Dawn Keyes secured a SEFS summer research bursary and completed an 8 week project under the supervision of Dr Martina Scallan, School of Microbiology, UCC. Dawn’s project was based on identifying the role of intercellular protein HABP1 in alphavirus replication. Dawn described the experience she received over the course of the 8 weeks as invaluable, as she gained hands on experience in a vast range of techniques such as PCR, electrophoresis, CRISPR/cas9 genetic engineering, cell culture, DNA extraction and much more. Dawn also had the opportunity to develop her report-writing, problem-solving and presentation skills.

Brandon Malone (Pharmacy 4)

Brandon Malone secured a place to conduct a research placement on the Amgen Scholars programme at Institut Pasteur, France. The Amgen programme enables undergraduate students to conduct research at one of the 5 host Universities in Europe: Cambridge, ETH Zurich, Institut Pasteur, LMU & Karolinska. Students receive accommodation, travel reimbursements and a stipend for 8 weeks of the summer. The project Brandon worked on was entitled “Exploring the riches of the RAG2 protein interactome during V(D)J recombination”. In addition to discussing this project Brandon provided information on the Cambridge symposium and the benefits he has experienced from conducting research projects. In summer 2016, Brandon conducted a research project at John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK with the aim of characterising a novel DNA gyrase. Brandon has been a key member of the UCC iGEM teams in both 2015 and 2016. See Brandon's career profile on LinkedIn.

Further information on Orla’s, Mark’s, Chloë and Erika’s placement can be viewed at further information on Jack and Dawn’s presentation can be viewed at


Photos from left: Monisha Chakravarty, 4th Year Biochemistry; Shannon Diggin, 4th Year Biochemistry; David Duggan, 4th Year Biomedical Science; Oriana Breen Fernandez, 4th Year Biochemistry; Cliodhna Wallace, 4th Year Biochemistry.

Dr Kerins would also like to thank the Biomedical Science students Monisha Chakravarty, Shannon Diggin and David Duggan and the Biochemistry students Oriana Breen Fernandez and Cliodhna Wallace who also presented on their research placements at the briefing seminar.


Photos from left: Jack Kennedy, 4th Year Biochemistry; Amina Syed, 4th Year Biochemistry; Aidan Murphy, 4th Year Biomedical Science; Regina Walsh, 4th Year Biomedical Science.

In addition Dr Kerins would like to thank the students who weren’t available to present on their summer placements but who wrote testimonials for the UCC website. Biochemistry students Jack Kennedy and Amina Syed’s testimonials. Biomedical Science students Aidan Murphy and Regina Walsh’s testimonials.

School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Scoil na Bithcheimice agus na Cillbhitheolaíochta

University College Cork, Western Road, Cork.