I am a Biochemist which means I study biology with a small bit of chemistry. As a biochemist I study the chemical processes that occur within the cells of living organisms such as ourselves. I focus on DNA, which is like the instruction book of our cells, and how our cells can fix any mistakes that happen to our DNA. I really wanted to continue studying this area as, during my time in both secondary school and college, I was always fascinated at how one small change to our DNA can have dramatic effects on our lives. As I already mentioned my research looks into how our cells work to prevent different diseases caused by damaged DNA such as Cancer. One day I hope to help our understanding of genetic diseases, such as cancer, and how we can prevent or help cure the diseases.
I’m a microbiologist, so I study living things that are so small we can only see them with a microscope! One of these living things is a bacterium called Escherichia coli (E. coli for short) which can cause infections if it gets an opportunity.
I look at E. coli because it causes one of the most common infections in Ireland which is a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract contains the kidneys which filters the blood and helps us to remove the waste we make. Once the kidneys have done their job the waste which is dissolved in water, moves from our kidneys down tubes called ureters to get to our bladder. Our bladder stores this water and waste mixture (which is otherwise known as pee) and when our bladder is full it leaves our body by travelling through an opening called the urethra. E. coli can infect our urethra, bladder, ureters or even our kidneys! This can be a really serious disease and some of the treatments we have aren’t good enough to kill E. coli all the time. So, I look at different ways we can kill E. coli such as by using blue laser light. do this research because I want to help people and help the scientific community come up with new ideas to treat bacterial infections.