Dr Darren Griffith Why science is a challenging and rewarding career Photo of Dr Darren Griffith

A keen interest in science and nature led postdoctoral researcher Dr Darren Griffith into a career in chemistry. After graduating with a BSc degree in Chemistry from University College Dublin (UCD) in 2000, Darren then went on to complete his research for a PhD in the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Darren is currently working in Dr Celine Marmion's group in the RCSI.

How and when did you become interested in science?

I have always been extremely interested in all aspects of science and nature but I felt there were better opportunities in science, particularly chemistry.

What does your research involve?

My research primarily involves investigating the coordination modes of hydroxamic acids, an interesting and versatile class of bioligands and the role that hydroxamic acids can play in enhancing the activity of ruthenium and platinum anti-cancer compounds.

What are you trying to achieve?

Ultimately I would like to develop effective platinum or ruthenium based anti-cancer compounds, which circumvent the resistance associated with many platinum-based drugs that are currently in the clinic (e.g. cisplatin or carboplatin).

Why is this research important?

Even though there are many chemical compounds in the clinic that successfully treat some cancers, there is still a need for novel compounds that treat specific cancers, circumvent resistance and reduce side effects. Given the success of cisplatin, a platinum-based compound, I feel that the development of novel metal-based compounds is extremely important.

How is the day-to-day life in the lab?

Day-to-day life in the lab is fantastic. Throughout my career so far I have demonstrated laboratory practicals, delivered tutorials and lectures but I have always thoroughly enjoyed getting back to research in the lab.

What aspects of your work interest you most?

I am most interested in learning different skills as well as keeping up to date with the latest research findings in my field.

What gives you the most satisfaction about your job?

I get most satisfaction from publishing my research findings in international journals, where my work has been critically reviewed by experts in my field and attending international conferences, where I can meet and interact with scientists in my field.

What is the most difficult part?

Long hours of planning, coordination and laboratory work are required to bring most research projects to a successful conclusion.

Are there opportunities to travel while studying?

I have travelled to and worked in labs in Italy and the U.K. I have also travelled to numerous conferences all over Europe, most recently in Brno, Czech Republic. I have always valued the opportunities travel has afforded me as well as the many friendships I have made along the way. 

What are the career opportunities in your area?

Career opportunities in my area include teaching, lecturing, research, industrial production, marketing, sales and management.  

Some students have a perception that scientists don’t earn as much as graduates in other areas. Is this true?

A career is a balance between self satisfaction, personal development and monetary reward.

What are your interests outside work?

My interests outside of work are soccer, music and socialising with friends. I like to spend time with my wife and daughter.

What would you say to a secondary school student who might think that science is too difficult or boring?

While studying science in secondary school and at university I found some of the material to be difficult and at times boring but I am glad I stuck at it. Like all things worthwhile, you have to work at it. Bear in mind also that research is quite different and a lot more interesting than studying textbook science. I would definitely recommend science as a challenging and rewarding career.

 

Back to Careers in Science