Travel Bursary Recipient Reports 2013 - 2014

Report by Maria Kelly, PhD student

Attended: Introduction to qualitative research methods, University of Bristol, 10-14 February 2014

This course introduced and analysed the major research methods used in qualitative research. It has taught me to explore when a topic requires qualitative research, along with which method(s) are the most suitable with regard to the research question.

I have gained practical experience at conducting interviews and focus groups. I have also learned how to conduct ethnographic research. This training will be invaluable as I begin to undertake semi structured interviews with patients and carers.

I also gained practical experience of both manual and computer (using Nvivo) coding and data analysis.

Report by Dervla Hogan, PhD student

Attended: Looking at the past - planning for the future: Capitalizing on OHP multidisciplinarity, The 11th conference of the European Academy of Occupational Heallth Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, 14-16 April 2014

Thanks to the travel bursary from the College of Medicine and Health, I was able to attend and present my research at the 11th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology in London. This conference was very inspiring to for me as an early-career researcher with keynote speeches given by renowned researchers such as Robert Karasek, Johannes Siegrist, Thomas Cox and Evangelia Demerouti.

This was my first opportunity to present my research at an international conference. I greatly benefited from presenting my research and receiving feedback from researchers across the globe along with the opportunity to talk informally with fellow researchers in my field.


Report by Charlotte O' Donovan, PhD student

Attended:Tumour Microenvironment and Signalling EMBO/EMBL Symposium, 7-10 May 2014, EMBL Advanced Training Centre, Heidelberg, Germany

This symposium enabled me to meet researchers from complementary fields. This enhanced my understanding of the communication between cancer cells and their microenvironment also gained a valuable insight into the latest techniques.

I had a large amount of interest in my poster and through discussing my research I gained fresh insights and potential future directions.

The sessions, especially Tumour Microenvironment were highly applicable to my research. In particular the talk by Associate Professor Mikala Egeblad was of specific interest as she is working on a protein that appears to be of great importance in my research.


Report by Joseph O' Shea, Phd Student

Attended: Advanced GastroPlus Workshop for Pharmaceutical Development, Mainz, 19-21 May 2014

This training course covered advanced topics in drug absorption, essential to my PhD as it allows me to utilize the recently purchased software, GastroPlus, to model in vivo drug absorption and predict human formulation performance.

Attending this training gave me the chance to network with industry experts in the field of formulation design, with attendees from all over Europe, South Korea and Australia, as well as allowing me to meet separately with project collaborators based in region.

This software will be used in undergraduate teaching, and having an advanced understanding will allow me to carry out these teaching activities.

Report by Evin Allen, PhD student

Attended: The Third International Conference on Microneedles, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, Baltimore, USA, 19-21 May 2014

I built up significant contacts within my field at an international level that would not have been possible otherwise.

In addition, I received critical feedback and appraisal on my PhD from leading opinion holders within the field. This will improve the quality and impact of my PhD.

This conference also gave me the forum to dissemiate my data to the field as well as to commercial stakeholders increasing the translational potential of my work

as well as presenting UCC's research in a positive light.

Report by Maria Donovan, Phd Student

Attended: Simcyp Intensive Workshop on Model-based drug development: Incorporating population variability into mechanistic prediction of PK and modelling PK/PD, Frankfurt, 12-16 May 2014

Having attended this course, I have a much greater understanding of the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic principles underlying SIMCYP simulator.

I can utilise SIMCYP more fully, which is an essential skill for me in order to simulate/validate the pharmacokinetics of our test compound, bumetanide, in virtual rats and a virtual human paediatric population.

The capabilities of SIMCYP will be taught to undergraduate pharmacy students as a potential tool that they will use in their future careers for establishing drug-drug interactions, effects of various excipients in new pharmaceutical formulations as well as  pharmacokinetics of drugs in specific populations e.g. paediatric or geriatric or diseased.





Report by Owen Cronin, PhD student

Attended: International Olympic Committee: Prevention of injury and illness in sport, Monaco, 10-12 April 2014

Many thanks to the COMH for assisting me to attend the 2014 International Olympic Committee Conference on injury and illness prevention in Sport, Monaco.

It was extremely beneficial to me and hosted a vast array of topics and symposia. Attendance at multiple  specific workshops was particularly useful as it allowed me to be exposed to areas not easily accessed in Ireland.

Attendance at the symposium on the Female Athletic Triad was the highlight of the conference in that the quality of the sub-topics and speakers was exceptional.

I believe attendance at this conference has benefited me immensely and has stimulated many ideas for potential research opportunities and techniques going forward.

Report by Philana Fernandes, PhD student

Attended: EMBO Cellular Signalling and Cancer Therapy, Cavtat, Croatia, 23-27 May 2014

This conference is hosted by European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).  One of thegoals of the organization is to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers and the speakers attending are renowned for their excellence in different scientific disciplines. 

My attendance at this week long European conference therefore affords me the opportunity to present my work at both an international and multidisciplinary level which will be invaluable in terms of future directions and focus in my academic career.


Report by Hazel Smith, PhD student

Attended: 2nd International Conference on Nutrition and Growth, Barcelona, Spain, 30 January-1 February 2014

The biggest benefit was Professor Dr Bodo C. Melnik of University of Osnabrück, Germany introducing himself to me at the 2nd International Conference Nutrition and Growth. Professor Melnik has many publications on the interaction between milk (human and other) and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in the area of obesity.

As this work directly links with my PhD, it has allowed me to build a professional and co-operative working relationship with Professor Bodo to enhance my PhD studies.

I have been able to build on my midwifery network from attending the RCM conference 2013 and ICM Congress 2014.


Report by Maeve Crowley, PhD student

AttendedEuropean Haemotology Association meeting, Milan, 12-15 June 2014

The Travel Bursary allowed me to present my research to experts in the field and to discuss with them ways in which the research could be expanded upon in the future.

I was also able to ask researchers at a similar stage as I am about problems they had in similar projects and how they resolved them.

Finally, through the education sessions, oral presentations and plenary sessions, I was brought up to date on the current stage of research in the cancer thrombosis field which will be very useful in terms of my thesis.

European Haemotology Association Meeting, Milan, 12 - 15 June 2014



Report by Niamh Denihan, PhD student

Attended: 10th Annual Conference of the Metabolimics Society, Tsuruoka, Japan, 23-26 June 2014

Attending the international conference of the metabolomic society has given me an invaluable opportunity to grow my professional network and integrate into the metabolomics community. In particular, I met with other early career scientists by attending specific seminars and networking luncheons.

By presenting my research I received important feedback from the community which has allowed me to identify areas for improvement, and reflect on the direction and impact of my work. Hearing top metabolomic researchers present has built my knowledge base and allowed me to identify current trends in the field which I could incorporate into my research.



Report by Eithne Hunt, PhD Student

Attended: Count Me In!, Children's Occupations Conference, Royal Society of Medicine, London, 19-20 May 2014

At the time of presenting at the Count Me In! conference in London, I was in the final stage of writing up my PhD.

Presenting and defending my work at this interdisciplinary and international meeting aided my PhD completion and preparation for my viva in particular. I was required to pitch my research to therapists and researchers who may not have been familiar with the subject area or the methods. I received very positive feedback on my work. In particular I made two very useful contacts – Dr. Niina Kolehmainen, Senior Research Fellow and MRC Population Health Scientist at Newcastle University, UK and Dr. Katrina Bannigan who is now heading up research at the Occupational Therapy department at the University of Plymouth.

Dr. Bannigan was very interested in my time use research and has invited me to give a seminar at Plymouth on time use research methods.

Report by AnneMarie O' Flynn, PhD student

Attended:  46th international 10 day teaching seminar on cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention, Coorg, India, 25 May-6 June 2014

This seminar is held on a yearly basis in a different location around the world. The main aim of the seminar is to increase the body of people who have the necessary skills to carry out epidemiological studies and to strengthen the efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease. A major focus of the seminar is the facilitation of international exchange of knowledge and the fostering of collaborative research work.

There were 48 fellows and faculty members from 22 different countries on the seminar. The seminar format consisted of daily lectures and small group activity which focused on the principles of epidemiology and biostatistical methods used in epidemiological research.

Attending this seminar benefitted me hugely. Firstly, from an educational perspective the lectures were excellent. My critical appraisal skills developed greatly in the small group activity work. We were also required to develop a research protocol in our groups which taught us the benefits and challenges involved in collaborative research work.  Finally, perhaps the greatest benefit of attending the seminar is the network of people from around the world with similar research interests I am now in contact with.


Report by Kathleen English, PhD student

Attended: European Muscle Conference, Salzburg, Austria, 10-14 September 2014

This Travel bursary allowed me to present my data to leaders in the field, who gave me very useful feedback and suggestions for future work. The conference enabled me to understand the current trends and protocols being used in muscle research, and this will be a huge benefit to me as I write up my thesis. I received good interest in my poster, and great feedback as well as excellent career advice from PIs in the UK and Sweden. I also networked with other PhD students / Post Docs, and established many new contacts in the field.


Report by Matteo Pusceddu, PhD student

Attended: The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Annual Convention, Washington, USA, 14 - 19 November 2014

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) annual convention represents one of the biggest and most important conferences in the field of neuroscience globally. It is a great opportunity to join more than 30,000 colleagues from more than 80 countries willing to share ideas and cutting edge tools for global neuroscience.

This meeting represented an excellent opportunity and platform to present my findings to my peers working in the field of neuroscience. Furthermore, this event gave me an opportunity to create networking opportunities that may be of benefit for my future carrier.

Thanks to the travel bursary from the College of Medicine and Health I got my first opportunity to attend and present my research at an international conference.


Report by Margaret Murphy, PhD Student

Attended: Oral and Poster Presentation at  International Congress on Stillbirth, SIDS and Baby Survival, Amsterdam, Netherlands 18th- 21st Sept 2014

The aims of the International Congress on Stillbirth, SIDS and Baby Survival are to identify the causes of the sudden and unexpected baby deaths during pregnancy, labour or in the first year, and the actions to reduce them and the support of parents who lost an infant. It is the only congress where parents, physicians, midwives and researchers work together to assist parents, to support each other in preventing perinatal and infant mortality. Pregnancy loss is my area of research and I am very grateful that the College of Medicine and Health bursary afforded me the opportunity to present my work to date, to meet with and forge links with key researchers in the area and discuss key issues of concern with service user groups.



Report by Kathleen Fitzgerald, PhD student

Attended: AAPS, San Diego, 2 - 6 November 2014

The major benefit from my attendance at this conference was the ability to meet other students from around the world and network with researchers from other countries. The opportunity to present my research in a poster presentation allowed feedback from other attendees and facilitated ideas for future research in my area.

In addition, I was given the opportunity to attend several interesting lectures given by experts in their field in the area of gene therapy as well as other areas outside of my research, broadening my horizons.


Report by: Gerry Moloney, PhD student

Attended: Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, 15 - 19 November 2014

Receiving the College of Medicine and Health travel bursary allowed me the opportunity to attend the Society of Neuroscience annual meeting in Washington DC in November 2014.

This bursary allowed me the opportunity to present my work at one of the largest Neuroscience meetings in the world, with over 30,000 people in attendance. Such an opportunity was important as it also afforded me the opportunity to interact with researchers working in the same field from the global research community.

Attending this meeting also allowed me to attend many interesting symposia on a selection of topics which have stimulated various research ideas and techniques which will be of great benefit moving forward in my research career. 

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