Why did you choose to study BHLS?
I chose to study BHLS primarily due to its unique aspect in integrating scientific disciplines with clinical medicine. I’ve always had an interest in diseases, which has certainly enhanced my desire for research. The BHLS degree focuses on the translational aspect of research and how we can actually drive scientific findings and potential treatments into clinical practise. The diversity of modules available was also a factor in choosing this degree as we can choose to study a few areas of interest, rather than specialising in one particular area.
What was the most interesting aspect of the course?
The most interesting part of the course would have to be the SSRA. The opportunity to undertake summer research and then come back to UCD to tell the story of your experience is a fantastic initiative offered by the School of Medicine and Medical Science. I was very fortunate to carry out research with the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium at Imperial College London when I finished second year. Gene therapy is certainly a very exciting area of research and the advancements that this group have made so far in developing a potential long-term treatment for CF are very promising. Having the opportunity to carry out research as an undergraduate really exposes you to research in practise and allows you to apply the lab skills and knowledge already gained from your studies. You mightn’t necessarily realise it at the time but you come away with so many beneficial skills and begin to approach research questions from different angles. Winning the SSRA Gold Medal was certainly an added bonus to the experience!
What has been the most challenging part of the course?
I suppose the workload and the time required can sometimes be quite challenging but once you get used to it and find a balance, it’s manageable.
Can you tell us what you’re doing following graduation?
I hope to do a PhD after I graduate but I’m not sure yet which specific area of research I might focus on. I have a strong interest in Type 1 diabetes, neuromuscular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases but I have a while yet to decide which area to specialise in.
Where do you see yourself working in 10 years?
Hopefully I’ll still be in the area of research. By that time, I’m sure personalised medicine is likely to have greater clinical presence and emerging therapies such as gene and cell therapy, which are a major focus of research at the moment, will have a greater impact in the field of research. Although I wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of doing medicine to practise at the same time, research will certainly remain my main focus.