Transition Year Overview
Transition Year Programme
About our Transition Year Programme
Secondary Level outreach activities
To obtain additional information on the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology’s Secondary Level Outreach activities, please contact Dr Sinéad Kerins.
Transition Year Programme Overview
The School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology’s Transition Year (TY) programme was designed by Dr Sinéad Kerins and has run annually since 2005. The programme is in high demand by transition year students and gives students the opportunity to complete a wide variety of laboratory experiments and provides them with an insight into the research conducted in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
The programme content comprises lectures that introduce students to the theory of the experiments they will be conducting. The students receive one-to-one instruction by the senior technical staff, Noreen Casey and Jenny Duane, who supervise the students’ work during the week.
The TY programme also allows students to develop their team and presentation skills. The students are assigned into teams during the week and on the final day of the programme each team delivers a PowerPoint assisted presentation of their top three experiments, which is attended by staff in the School. During the week students also have the opportunity to experience the state-of-the-art facilities available in the Western Gateway Building, explore the grounds and facilities that UCC offers and get a feel for University life.
The TY programme helps students to make an informed decision on whether to consider a career in Biochemistry.
“I really enjoyed the programme and I will definitely now go to UCC to do Biochemistry” John Keane, Christian Brothers College, Cork.
Testimonials for our Transition Year Programme
My experience this week has been really positive. I have enjoyed every experiment and found this week very interesting. I have definitely improved my research writing and analytical skills. I learnt how to isolate DNA, how to use and work agarose gel electrophoresis and make my own agar. I have met loads of new people and worked well as a team with them. My favourite experiment was the experiment ‘how to investigate the function of a buffer’ and creating our own art with bacteria. It was awesome and really enjoyed it. I absolutely loved the week.
The week I spent in the School of Biochemistry and cell Biology was very an enjoyable and interesting experience. It opened up the confusing world of cell biology to me. Before this I would have laughed but now after experiencing it I find it very interesting. Overall it gave me a great outlook into biochemistry. I would recommend it to all TY students.
Conor Lane, Coláiste an Chroi Naofa, Carrig na bhFear.
Conor wrote a news article about his experience of our Transition Year programme
I enjoyed my week attending the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I learned a lot about what they do in the Biochemistry lab in UCC. I thought growing bacteria was interesting especially the luminescent ones. The most interesting part though was the Sickle Cell Anaemia talk. It was very interesting diagnosing it as well.
Jake Coffee, Bandon Grammar School, Bandon.
I really enjoyed my week at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme for a few reasons. Staff are very nice and helpful. Gives you a tester of what a career in science is like. Had fun and learnt new stuff along the way. Advice: Have some tasks ready for waiting for the gel to try etc.
Cathal Kelly, De La Salle College, Churchtown, Dublin.
I have found the week at the school of Biochemistry and Cell Biology to be very interesting and informative. We covered a variety of topics this week such as Sickle Cell Anaemia, pH buffers and isolation DNA. I found Sickle Cell Anaemia to be of particular interest, since I knew little on it, but was interested in genetically transmitted diseases. The people we were working with were very friendly and helpful also. Overall, I would put it down as one of the highlights of my TY year.
Darragh Kelleher, Millstreet Community School.
A really enjoyable experience at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme that leads you to discover a host of new scientific ideas and a lot of fantastic people.
Robert Dunne, Davis College, Mallow.
The School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme was a very enjoyable and interesting experience for me. It was a great opportunity to see what college life is like. But also to see if I would like to pursue this type of course after school. The staff were wonderful and it was by far the best part of my transition year.
Arron Callanan, St. Aidan’s Community College, Cork.
I really enjoyed my week here in UCC at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I am very interested in science so this was a great course for me. I really enjoyed doing all the different experiments as they were all relevant for real life. I also really enjoyed the two lectures that we had as I learned loads from them and it gave me a taste of college life which I am now really excited for.
Grace Lyons, Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty.
I had a great week at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. The experiments were really interesting and advanced. I also got an insight into what it would be like to go to college as I was experiencing the UCC campus. I found the lectures so intriguing and it has made me consider pursuing a career in that field of research. Thank you!
Áine McGrath, St. Mary’s High School, Midleton.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC. It actually felt like I was doing real work that would be applicable to the work of many different scientists. This programme has given me a real insight into what it would be like to work as a biochemist. Thanks to everyone who made this week possible.
Mariah Meere, St. Angela’s College, Cork.
I really enjoyed the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme as it gave me an insight into biology and chemistry at leaving cert as well and what it’s like studying biochemistry at university. I learnt how to use lab equipment and made many new friends. It was an invaluable experience.
Cordelia Foody, Kinsale Community School.
I really enjoyed the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. We did a lot of new things and experiments. I found it interesting and I would definitely recommend it.
Eimear Brady, Colaiste Mhuire, Crosshaven, Co. Cork.
I really enjoyed my time taking part in the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I learned so much about DNA and genetics and I hope it will make it easier for me to learn about DNA in biology for the leaving certificate. All the lab technicians were very nice and informative. I can definitely say for sure that I will consider the biochemistry course as a possible pathway in UCC.
Adam Gray, Christians Brother’s College, Cork.
My week at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme was a delightful experience. I got a real practical sense of independence in the lab by completing experiments on my own, but under supervision. Great topics taught and I will take all this information with me into leaving cert Biology and Chemistry. An excellent way to learn the topic.
Gráinne O’ Shea, Ballincollig Community School, Cork.
It has been a very interesting and enjoyable and most of all an informative week which has helped me form a strongly positive opinion of biochemistry through hands on work and in-depth learning on topics ranging from genetics to DNA. Topics like genetics have suddenly become more appealing to me after a simple PowerPoint presentation, an unexplored treasure trove of information has been unlocked. Overall it has been a great week!
Thomas Otway, Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh , Bishopstown, Co. Cork.
I really enjoyed the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I learnt so much – not just science related – but also got a taste of college life. I enjoyed the practical’s, the bacteria ones in particular. I also made a lot of new friends.
Kate O’Shea, Gaelscoil Choilm, Ballincollig, Cork.
I really enjoyed doing different experiments and learning more about biochemistry as a whole. It gave me more insight into the field and overall it was very interesting.
Anna Hannigan, St. Brigid’s Presentation, Killarney.
I really enjoyed the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme, overall I found this week really enjoyable and it was a great opportunity. I participated in a lot of things I haven’t done before. I also met a lot of new friends.
Rebecca Cotter, Glanmire Community College, Co. Cork.
I really enjoyed the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme, the experiments and various lectures were very interesting. It gave me a good introduction into working in a lab and a career in Biochemistry. I made lots of new friends and had a great week.
Aoife McCarthy, Coachford College, Co. Cork.
I really enjoyed my week t the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology Transition Year Programme, it gave me such a good insight into working in science and in a lab. Every day was different and it was always interesting. I made loads of new friends which is great. My favourite part was a lecture that we got on transgenic animals which I knew nothing about before. I would recommend this course to everyone who is interested in science.
Clodagh Mahon, Mount Mercy College, Cork.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week on the Biochemistry and Cell Biology TY programme. It was a hands-on experience. I liked the fact that we did new experiments each day and also had a few lectures. It was an extremely interesting week and I learned about lots of different areas in this science.
James McCarthy, Christian Brother’s College, Cork.
I really enjoyed this week! I loved the fact that it was hands-on and that we did a lot of lab work. The course has opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in biochemistry in the future.
Seoda Ni Chaoimh, Gaelscoil Luimnigh.
“I really enjoyed taking part in the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I learned many new things and the staff were very friendly.”
Kara Lacey, Ballincollig Community School.
“I really enjoyed my week attending the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I made loads of new friends, it was a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in a laboratory environment.”
Elaine O Flynn, Seskin Bantry.
“The Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme really enhanced my knowledge and developed my interest in biological and chemical sciences along with making new friends in the process. I would recommend this amazing opportunity to anyone who is considering a career in the sciences.”
Ellen Moran, Mount Mercy College.
“I really enjoyed the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme! I greatly appreciated and valued the opportunity to attend this course and after a week I felt I gained a great insight into what is involved in studying biochemistry. It was definitely one of the highlights of my Transition Year experience.”
Ellen Harrington, St. Aloysius’ College, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.
“The Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme was very well organised. I liked how we covered a lot of areas and each area was explained clearly so we knew what we were doing and why we were doing it. Thank you.”
“The Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme provided me with an excellent experience of a college campus. As well as this we were given more information than our junior cert course in both biology and chemistry and got a head start on our leaving cert course.”
Orla O’Donohue, Kildare.
“I really enjoyed the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. We learned lots of interesting material. My favourite part of the week was doing the variety of laboratory experiments, which really helped reinforce the theory we learned. I also liked meeting new people and making friends. I would highly recommend the programme.”
Laura Cosgrave, Midleton College.
“I found the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme extremely enjoyable and beneficial. I learned a lot as a lot of content was covered and felt that this will be of great benefit for the leaving cert biology and chemistry. It was also a great opportunity to meet new people.”
Louise Vélon, Christ King Girls Secondary School.
“I really enjoyed the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I had a great time doing all the experiments and I learned so much. I found it so interesting and I would definitely recommend it.”
Mairéad Dennehy, St Aloysius College.
“The Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme was an amazing week. A great way to meet people with the same interests as myself. I’d like to thank everyone involved in organising the week.”
Laura Flanagan, Scoil na Tríonóide Naofa, Doon, Co Limerick.
“The Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme was a great and it has definitely helped me think about the future.”
Kyle Meiklejohn, Ashton School Blackrock.
“I have learned a great deal during the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I would recommend this course very highly to any science or non-science enthusiast alike as it is enlightening, student-friendly and very understandable. Thank you so much for everything. I really enjoyed my week meeting new and interesting people.”
Simon Meehan, Colaiste Choilm Ballincollig.
“I really enjoyed the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme I have learned a great deal. I learned so much information relevant to the leaving cert course, which will help me next year. I also made lots of new friends throughout the week. Overall it was a very interesting and enjoyable week and I would definitely recommend it to future Transition Years.”
Ava Barry, Mount Mercy College, Cork.
“I really enjoyed the Biochemistry & Cell Biology Transition Year Programme. I thought it was an amazing experience and it was great to meet new people. It would also help me choose what I would like to do when I am older.”
Amy Byrne, Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick.
“The week was fun and the people here were really nice. I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t in school.”
Stephen Moore, Midleton College Secondary School.
"Very interesting week! I learned a lot of new things and I really enjoyed it. I’ve also made some really good friends from doing this placement."
Conleth Aspel, Colaiste Treasa Kanturk, Co. Cork.
"The entire week was fantastic. From start to finish we had the pleasure of working on really interesting experiments and learning lots about the world of Biochemistry. Everything was clearly explained and the help from the hands on technicians made life so much easier. Each day was really enjoyable and I had so much fun meeting new people and working alongside them, I am very grateful to have been here and the week has really opened my eyes to a possible future in science."
Rory Collins, Gonzaga College, Dublin.
"This was a fantastic week. It was great to experience working in a lab in such a fun and friendly environment. I learned loads and it was really interesting. I would definitely recommend this course to next year’s TYs."
Lucy Chapman, Mount Mercy College, Cork.
"I took part in the TY Biochemistry course in April 2017. We completed many experiments with the technicians and listened to lectures given by Dr Kerins and Dr Mc McCarthy. We all made many new friends who we worked with at the benches during the week. I highly recommend this course."
Tadhg Doolan, St Brendan’s College, Killarney, Co. Kerry.
"I had an absolutely amazing week in the School of Biochemistry and Call Biology. We partook in so many experiments and activities that were all so engaging. I really enjoyed that the whole experience was hands on, it really gave me an idea what my future could be like in such an environment. There was loads of group work that helped us bond together. The whole programme was absolutely incredible. Jenny and Noreen did an astonishing job of explaining how to do the experiments and why we were doing them. Overall the experience I’ve gained here is priceless and will definitely factor into my future self."
Gustas Dovainys, Douglas Community School, Co. Cork.
"I really enjoyed the Transition Year Programme, we got to do loads of interesting experiments and we learnt why we were doing them. I got a feel for college life by going to the lectures and getting a tour of UCC. It was a very informative week and I now know that I want to pursue a career in science."
Sarah Elliffe, Carrigaline Community School, Co. Cork.
"I had a great week, the experiments and the whole course was really interesting. Everyone was really nice and I made loads of new friends."
Eimear Joyce, Ursuline College, Sligo.
"I really enjoyed my week in the lab. I thought it was a great experience and I enjoyed every experiment especially the sickle cell anaemia experiment. I made lots of new friends and I would recommend this course to anyone with any kind of interest in Biology or Chemistry."
Patrick O’Connor, Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology’s Transition year programme. The week was extremely informative in allowing me to make an informed decision on what to study when I leave school. I also learned a lot about various scientific methods and experiments along with different scientific phenomenons which will be of great assistance to me when preparing for the leaving certificate. Overall I got a great feel for the field of Biochemistry and Cell Biology along with what college life is like in general.”
Conor Murphy, Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG, North Monastery, Cork.
“My week at UCC was extremely interesting and informative. I learned a lot about Biochemistry. Doing the experiments was challenging but fun, and I certainly would be interested in pursuing a career in science as a result of my week at UCC.”
Nicole Scanlon St. Mary’s Secondary School, Charleville, Co. Cork.
“Amazing week! Very informative! The School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at UCC really taught us a lot and the whole experience was more hands-on with experiments instead of lecture style. Instead of just showing us, we actually did the experiments and that really gave us an understanding of what we were doing and why we were doing it. There was lot of group work so it really helped in making friends. It was extremely informative and gave me an insight into what college life might be like. I really appreciate the opportunity you have given me. The use of PowerPoint was great for presenting and explaining our experiment results as it showed us how to work as a group and helped each of us with our individual skills.”
Adriaan O’ Sullivan, Hamilton High School, Bandon, Co. Cork.
“Really enjoyable, learned loads. Found it really interesting, made loads of new friends, great craic. One of my favourite parts was the agar plates and bacteria experiment. Great way to experience a college routine. It really opened my eyes to a whole new field of Biochemistry.”
Sarah Murphy, Ursuline Secondary School, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
“I really enjoyed my week in UCC. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could do in college. Helped me make up my mind as to what I want to do in college. Enjoyed every single day of it. Learned about college life and more about the field of Biochemistry.”
Caoimhe Moynihan, Christ King Secondary School, Douglas, Cork.
“The week was fantastic, we had so much freedom with the experiments and the style of teaching was very different from secondary school. Not only did it rekindle my interest in science but it was a beneficial insight into the college system. The staff and students were great and made me feel very welcome. Before I started the week I knew very little about Biochemistry and now at the end of the week I have now learned so much. During the week I have also made new friends and experienced college life.”
James O’Connor, Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.
“I think that the transition year course at UCC was extremely rewarding. I learned a lot about the field of Biochemistry and I got a good idea of what college life is like.”
Ciarán O’ Sullivan, Ballincollig Community School, Co. Cork.
“This week was really enjoyable. Everyone was nice and welcoming. This week has made me realise that I want to come back to UCC to study Biochemistry. I also loved experiencing college life and walking around campus and seeing all the buildings.”
Sarah Nyhan, Mercy Heights Secondary School, Skibereen, Co. Cork
“This week was very enjoyable. I thought that Jenny and Noreen (senior technical officers in Biochemistry) taught us very well. They were both very kind and helpful. I have a strong love for Science and Medicine and it is what I want to study after school. After this week, I am 100% sure I want to work in this type of field. The experiments were extremely intriguing and the folder information that was provided to help us made everything that we were doing so much more clear. The other students were also very kind. I would recommend this course to anyone as I think it was so beneficial to me and I had a great time in the labs, on campus and meeting new people.”
Anna O’Connor, Gaelscoil Mhic Easmainn, Tralee, Co. Kerry.
“I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. I learned a lot about Biochemistry and what it is all about. I found it really interesting. I also made lots of friends and learned about college life.”
Niamh Leddy, Glanmire Community College, Co. Cork.
“Really enjoyed the week. We got great experience in the lab and it has helped me with choosing my subject choices. It was a great insight into college life. I am really considering doing a science course in college.”
Aisling Connery, St. Aloysius School, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork.
“I really enjoyed the week and learned so much about both Biology and also UCC. I got to do experiments that we normally wouldn’t get to do in school.”
John Fehilly, Presentation Brothers College.
“I have greatly enjoyed the week in UCC regarding Biology and the cells. The staff were friendly and extremely helpful as well. I also enjoyed working with all the different members in the group and I certainly made many new friends this week. The experiments we conducted were difficult at times, but without a doubt very fun to do. Overall the week gave me a good insight into a real life job which uses certain aspects of Biology in it.”
Daire O’Sullivan, Presentation Brothers College.
“I really enjoyed the programme and I will definitely now go to UCC to do Biochemistry.”
John Keane, Christian Brothers College.
“I really enjoyed this week. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot. I definitely would love to pursue Science in my future.”
Ruth Kilgallon, Christ the King Girls' Secondary School.
“I found this course very worthwhile. It covers a lot of experiments which will benefit the Leaving Cert. We even learned important techniques such as how to use a pipette. It gives a great insight to Biochemistry and has encouraged me to consider Biochemistry as a potential career option.”
Sophie Horgan, St. Angela's College.
“The week as a whole was very enjoyable. I made loads of friends and learned so much about Biochemistry. So much fun!”
James Keaveney-Jimenez, Christian Brothers College.
“All the course content was relevant and interesting.”
Michael O’Keeffe, Millstreet Community School.
“The experience I got out of UCC’s Biochemistry programme was a very positive one. I met different people and I felt comfortable around the staff, who were surprisingly friendly. Some of the experiments were challenging and I think I made a few mistakes when doing them. Overall, however I really enjoyed my time here and I am glad to have had this experience.”
Tony O’Leary, Colaiste Choilm School, Ballincollig.
“Our week at Biochemistry UCC came to an end and what a week it was! We took part in so many different activities and learnt so much, my head is still spinning. The week was incredibly informative and I really enjoyed it. There was never even a hint of monotony to it as there was so much to do, ranging from preparing blood buffer to learning how to use the power point programme without crashing the computer! We took part in two practicals with the 2nd year students, which was difficult to begin with as some of it was over our heads but we caught on quickly enough and once we got started it was really enjoyable. The thing that surprised people most was the fact that neither I nor Amie does biology as a school subject, but after spending a week here our interest in biology has been renewed, since the studying for the junior certificate had a tendency to diminish that interest! All in all it was a great week, and I really enjoyed it. One week of work experience down, another to survive!”
Carla O’Connell, Mercy Heights, Skibbereen, Cork.
“This past week I attended School of Biochemistry UCC as part of my work experience module in transition year! Before the first day, Monday, I was worried about what we were going to be doing for the week and did not really know what to expect but the minute we walked in the door of the Lee Maltings Building ,Cork, I was amazed at the kindness of others there and their attitude towards the two of us. Straight away they got to helping us settle in and meet the team of technicians there. The first day passed quickly and I was worried that the week would be the same, as I had really enjoyed that first day there. As the two visitors for the week, we took part in 3½ hour practicals with second year students in the course on things such as separation of compounds and enzyme kinetics. I never thought it possible that practical’s could last so long, but as the saying goes ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’!!!!!! Also we had the chance to participate in computer Microsoft training classes with 4th year students and I found this very interesting and very useful also. In all everything we did this week was very intriguing. I will never forget the help offered by the generous people here and I will never let pass the fact that it was probably the most enjoyable week of work experience one could tender. Although to tell the truth I was really prepared to be the one to blow something up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Amie Wilson, Mercy Heights, Skibbereen, Cork.
“During my time at Biochemistry UCC, I studied various principles used in biochemistry. Buffers, pH, sickle cell anemia (a genetic disease), PCR, DNA, gel electrophoresis, agar plates and how they are used, blood cells, leukemic cells, and bacteria such as E. coli are all things I was able to study in the short week I was at the department. It was time well spent, as I was able to do some of the experiments that I would later be doing as part of my leaving cert. course. Also I got to do experiments usually only college students get to do. I am glad that I made the effort and was accepted to be a part of the School of Biochemistry even for only one week.”
Cillian Dwyer, Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Cork.
“In the week I have spent here in the Biochemistry Lab in UCC I have carried out experiments that included extracting DNA from green peas and I have examined the different kinds of blood cells and examined leukemic cells. Throughout the week I have done experiments that are part of the leaving certificate. One of the most interesting experiments was the Detection of the Sickle Cell Anemia (Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic disease). In this experiment I leant about the structure of DNA, RNA restriction enzymes and we ran an agarose gel electrophoresis and I was able to see the results. I made agar plates and on them I streaked different bacteria and tested if a sample of tap water and air contained bacteria. The results were very interesting. I really enjoyed my time here and it has definitely given me a taster of what UCC has to offer in its Science Departments.”
Emer O’ Shea, St Marys Secondary School, Convent of Mercy, Charleville, Cork.