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Posts Tagged ‘Biotechnology’

School of Biotechnology Research Day and Belfast Visits

January 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Last Friday saw the return of the SoBT research day at DCU. I had been accepted for an oral presentation earlier on in December, and was looking forward to this first oral presentation of my research in a formal setting. Luckily I was scheduled first up, just after the keynote speaker, and so it meant I could get my presentation over and done with and enjoy the rest of the day, especially since I was part of the organising team on behalf of the Biological Research Society, so it turned out to be quite a hectic day.

However I must say I enjoyed my presentation. I was mostly scared of the questions people would ask, but I believe I managed to answer most of them quite well and some of the insights I got were quite good. Apart from my presentation, I also enjoyed talking to a couple of the academics about my research and also with members of the sponsoring companies (there were 10 sponsoring companies with stands there, representing most of our suppliers, and therefore it was good to have them all there to talk about your research and discuss new opportunities).

The past two weeks I have also been quite busy with two visits to Belfast. I was supposed to have a supervisor up in Queen’s University Belfast, however he has now left the University (although still in sporadic touch via email). Nevertheless, there is still work to be done there, and I have in fact been waiting for the instrument I am supposed to be using there to be fixed. Therefore when the specialist engineer was coming over, I took the opportunity to go up to Belfast and spend time with him to learn about the instrument and get trained, since the person who had used it before has now left and I will be the only person using it once it is fixed.

I had a very productive and interesting 2 days, and the instrument was up and running, so I came back to Dublin for the weekend and planned to go up the next Tuesday, to analyse my actual samples. Unfortunately, when I went back on Tuesday I found out that another part of the instrument has now broken down, as a circuit board has stopped working, meaning the mass spec magnet is no longer operating. Therefore back to Dublin I came after a day of trouble shooting, and we are now awaiting confirmation for fixing the instrument (or not) depending on what the powers that be decide.

Nevertheless, my PhD is now getting into the swing of things, and I am getting busy. I look forward to what the coming weeks and months bring up, and hopefully it will be mainly good news 🙂

Lab demonstrations

February 18, 2011 Leave a comment

A part of being a postgraduates in the School of Biotechnology at DCU is lab demonstration responsibilities. I will be demonstrating the labs in Microbiology and Cell Biology for 1st year Undergraduates. I have demonstration duties on Thursdays for the whole day, with two different groups coming in for the morning and afternoon sessions. Going in I was quite worried since I have very limited experience in microbiology and no experience in cell biology. However the first practical was microbiology. At least I knew the concepts behind it and the basic techniques, through my job before starting my PhD. Unfortunately this is what happens when you are in the school of biotechnology.

However when I got to the lab I noticed things were quite different, since we would be working on an open bench rather than a laminar flow hood. Luckily we were too many demonstrators with a small number of students (here there are a number of demonstrators per class: a lecturer responsible who explains the different aspects of the lab and who oversees everything and is actually present throughout the experiment, unlike in Malta where they only pop in generally, if ever they pop in; and a number of postgrad demonstrators who are responsible for a bench of students, of up to 15 students or so and demonstrate each step of the experiment before the students go on to do the same thing). Therefore some of us got sent off whilst I stayed with the lecturer in charge who demonstrated for my group whilst I looked on.

In the second week i.e. this week, we again repeated the same practical with a different group of students. After seeing it being done last week I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at demonstrating it myself. The morning group was not a success. However for the evening group things went much better, since I knew a couple of mistakes I had done in the morning. For the evening group I also had a smaller number of students, so it was easier to explain something that I was not too confident about.

Next week we will have to demonstrate the next practical. Hope things go well 🙂

Dealing with these guys...hopefully they did not agree to proceed

Dealing with these guys...hopefully they did not agree to proceed

School of Biotechnology Research Day

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Last Friday the School of Biotechnology at DCU had its annual Research Day. I did not know what o expect from it, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of research happening within the school. This is even though I could not understand most of it, since I am not doing biotechnology as such, I really liked the presentations I listened to. There was one of the guys in our lab, who presented his work. He is in his final year of his PhD, and it was good to understand a bit more about what he is researching.

There were also a considerable number of poster presentations, over 30 in all. These gave a small insight into all the other research happening in the department. My presentation was included with them, and I am happy with my poster, although I have noted some changes I will make for the next poster I will make.

What I really liked about the Research Day was the presence of a number of suppliers. Apart from the various freebies they gave out, it was good to meet the people I have communicated with via email and also others I did not know. In Malta, we generally buy from around 3 agents. And our link is with the agent not the actual company. Here you need to know all the different companies in order to make an order, so sometimes it is a bit more of a hassle.

A successful research day I must say. Well done to the School of Biotechnology and the Biological Research Society at DCU, who were instrumental in its organisation.

Research Days, Conference etc.

January 27, 2011 2 comments

Tomorrow start my first ‘public appearance’ of me and my PhD. The School of Biotechnology at DCU is having its annual research day. I had been accepted to present a poster, which has now been prepared (thank you Bernard 🙂 ) and printed, and I am excited to be able to present it tomorrow.

My Poster: School of Biotechnology Research Day

After that, I have just heard at the end of last week that I have been accepted to give a poster presentation at the Conference of Analytical Science in Ireland which will be held at DCU at the end of February. So after I see how things go with the poster  tomorrow, I will amend and make the necessary changes for the CASi conference.

Today I also heard that I should try and participate in another conference to be held in Cork in Ireland concerning the Irish Environment in April. I still need to prepare an abstract and see whether I will be accepted. I hope I will, as I will get to go to Cork.

Hope all goes well tomorrow. Wish me luck!