February 14, 2008
Chemical lego and superbugs triumph at CSCB AccesScience 2008

"The Nature of Chemistry" and "Biodegradable PHA plastics" won over the judging panel at the CSCB heat of AccesScience 2008 on February 12, 2008. 10 postgraduates met the challenge of explaining their research with a ban on scientific jargon. Diverse topics covered included breast cancer biomarkers, detection of shellfish poisons and the discovery of new drugs for arthritis.

Billy Fleming, a PhD student in Professor Pat Guiry's group in the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, went back to basics as he described his work in the lab on the synthesis of catalysts. He showed how these tools allow chemists to construct the "chemical lego" of complex structures, while also protecting the environment.

Shane Kenny, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, who works with Dr Kevin O'Connor, introduced the audience to a "friendly" superbug which can take our waste polystyrene and turn it into a valuable product: a biodegradable plastic which will hopefully provide material for the heart valves and biodegradable packaging of the future.

The finalists were chosen by a panel from a non-science background comprising Dr Catherine Cox, UCD School of History and Archives; Ms Sinead Clancy, Human Resources; and Mr Moss Garde, Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Training.

The two finalists will go on to compete in the grand final of AccesScience 2008 on March 3 at 13:30 in O'Reilly Hall. For more details about AccesScience visit http://www.ucd.ie/conway/ed_outreach7.html


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