Postgraduate Blog

3 Jul 2018

Eoghan O'Leary; MSc Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation

Walking into the quad in UCC for my postgraduate orientation feels strangely like I am starting my undergraduate all over again. I have the same sense of anticipation as I did 4 years earlier coming into UCC for the first time. This all changes once I sit down meet my new class, and the head of the Masters. Suddenly any sense of dread and unease drift away and are replaced for excitement for the year to come.

After finishing my degree here in UCC in Genetics, choosing to do a masters in UCC was an easy decision. For the past four years I was immersed in UCC life and culture, and I was not yet ready to step away from it. With UCCs excellent research reputation the Masters in Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation programme was my first choice of Master’s degree. The degree itself is fast paced, with lectures beginning immediately. It quickly became clear that postgraduate degrees are a major step up from undergrad. At this level the focus of lectures was to give us the skills to interpret scientific data and prepare us for the research component of the programme.

The class size is relatively small, with 13 students from a variety of academic backgrounds. The small class has allowed us all to get to know each other very well. We even took part in the UCC Cancer Society’s 24 hour Relay for life as a team, “Team Mad Scientists”.

Another great aspect about this course is the bioinnovation and business modules. These modules have given me an insight into importance of merging science and innovation with business. As part of one these modules, I became a member of team whose innovation idea has been shortlisted to the top 10 teams for the Student Entrepreneurship Awards. We will be travelling up to NUI Galway to represent UCC in early June to pitch our idea to a panel of judges. As a team of scientists with no prior business experience we are extremely proud and excited about this achievement.

In April I began the most exciting part of this programme, the research project. I am currently carrying a research project on an RNA-binding protein that has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. The experience is providing me with great insight into what it takes to work as a research scientist. It is also providing me with new skills in terms of scientific lab techniques, but also improving my analytic, presentation and communication skills.

Upon completing the master’s degree, I plan on pursuing a PhD. My goal is to carry on my current Master’s research project, or to pursue a PhD in the area of RNA biology and its effects on neurodegeneration. This Masters programme has not only clarified my desire to carry out a PhD but has also provided me with a wealth of skills that will make me an attractive candidate to any PhD programme.


Eoghan O'Leary; MSc Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation

To find out more about the MSc Molecular Cell Biology with Bioinnovation, please click here

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