March 1, 2007
CSCB PhD student John Grealis triumphs at AccesScience Junior

Over 450 secondary school students attended the third annual UCD Conway Institute's AccesScience Junior event held on Monday February 26 2007 in O’Reilly Hall, UCD. Hosted by RTE’s Scope presenter Kathriona Devereux, the event gave these aspiring young scientists an opportunity to listen to six UCD Conway Institute postgraduate researchers discuss their work in a way that is easily understood.

To thunderous applause, the six presenters spoke on a diverse range of topics from sugar shuttles, new anti-cancer drugs, stopping the cutting machine and the quiet killer that is kidney disease. After each presentation, the students took the opportunity to ask questions. Their interest and level of understanding was very impressive as the questions came thick and fast.

Photo of John Grealis
Winner of AccesScience Junior 2007 John Grealis from the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology

A flurry of activity ensued as the students cast their votes for the best presentation. John Grealis from the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology was the clear winner for his presentation; The Formation of a new Anti-cancer Drug. He won favour by explaining how building bridges would help in the development of a new anti-cancer treatment. His relaxed and informative style obviously helped him build a bridge between him and the enthusiastic listeners.

"I enjoyed taking part in AccesScience. Initially presenting in front of such a large audience was intimidating but the overall experience was rewarding," explains John Grealis. "I also had the opportunity to go on the Today with Pat Kenny radio show to explain my work live on air."

Sonya Cosgrove was another CSCB finalist from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and gave a talk entitled Stopping the Cutting Machine. She explained why understanding how aspartyl proteases work is important because of their involvement in diseases like HIV, Alzheimers and hypertension.

Photo of AccesScience 2007 presenters with Professor Pat Guiry and Kathriona Devereux
AccesScience finalists with host Kathriona Devereux and
Professor Pat Guiry, Chair of the AccesScience committee. Back row L-R - William Faller, Katrin Bender, Professor Pat Guiry, John Grealis. Front row L-R - Sonya Cosgrove, Kathriona Devereux, Ronan Feighery, Elaine McSherry.

The following evening in an event hosted by Pat Kenny, Elaine McSherry, from the UCD School of Medicine & Medical Science was voted the winner of AccesScience ’07 by a panel of celebrity judges. The judges chaired by Olympic medalist, John Treacy, included RTE weather presenter, Nuala Carey; singer/ songwriter Juliet Turner and Nick Kelly, former lead singer with The Fat Lady Sings. Once again, RTE's Pat Kenny hosted the event.

Photo of AccesScience judges
Pictured (L-R): AccesScience '07 judges: Nick Kelly, John Treacy,
Juliet Turner and Nuala Carey.

UCD president, Dr Hugh Brady made presentations to all six finalists of the competition and acknowledged the work done by those staff members who began the competition in 1997; Professor Paul Engel, School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science; Professor Michael Ryan, Dean of Graduate Studies; Professor Pat Guiry, Director of the Centre for Synthesis & Chemical Biology; Ms Annette Forde, Science Programme Office.


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