Research News

Women scientists in Dublin get on their Soapbox once again

  • 02 July, 2021


Soapbox Science Dublin is back again this weekend for the third time, part of an international public scientific outreach platform that promotes women and non-binary scientists and the work they do.

In Dublin, 12 female scientists will tell all about their research in areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM), including speakers from University College Dublin (UCD), Trinity College Dublin, Dublin City University (DCU), Department of Agriculture Food, and the Marine (DAFM) and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

From UCD, Dr Sarah MacQueen, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, is talking about how mathematics can ‘Save the Bees,’ a crucial sustainability challenge of today.

Professor Sally Lynch, UCD School of Medicine and Temple Street Hospital, reveals the secrets of inherited conditions in people, in her talk ‘Celebrities get mutations too.’

Dr Rebecca Whetton, UCD School of Biosystems and Food Engineering, is getting serious about soil, its health and conservation, in ‘The Dirt Beneath our Feet.’

And postdoctoral fellow at UCD School of Chemistry, Dr Gita Singh is talking ‘opposites attract,’ in ‘The Lithium-ion Battery: The untold love story,’ about how the forces of attraction power the world!

Speaking ahead of the event on Saturday, Dr Sarah MacQueen said: “As I will explain during my Soapbox Science Dublin 2021 talk, we can help to protect bees by using maths and models, since bees are really important pollinators that help our crops and make a contribution to food security. 

“Bees are cool, did you know that they can control their body temperature? They use their wing muscles to shiver so that they can warm themselves up. I use maths and models in my research to predict how bees behave under different conditions. For example, I can model how bees might behave under climate change. This has advantages as we don’t need live bees to work this out and we can try different conditions quickly. Although sometimes my virtual bees can burn up depending on the model!” 

Also speaking at the event, Dr Amalia Naranjo-Lucena from DAFM ponders the subject of ‘Microbial Veterinary Gardai.’ She said: “The fact that tiny bacteria that we cannot see with the naked eye can cause such a variety of diseases both in animals and humans, and be very successful at it, always amazed me. Bacteria can rapidly adapt to a hostile environment where antibiotics are present and become resistant. Given that not many new antibiotics have been discovered in recent years, we must prevent the development of resistance against the drugs that we already have, by using them appropriately. At Soapbox Science Dublin 2021, I will explain why antibiotics are a very precious tool that we must safeguard and how we are working to keep bacteria from becoming ‘superbugs’.”

Fellow speaker Dr Cristina Trujillo, School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, is speaking on ‘Using Computational Chemistry to design new, non-toxic ways of obtaining pharmaceutical compounds.’ She said: “At the Soapbox Science 2021 event I would like to share my passion for computational chemistry, explaining that it is possible to make amazing science within a desktop computer. How 2D molecules written on a piece of paper look completely different when you go to the 3D world. And how the orientation of the molecules plays a vital role in the design of new, non-toxic ways of obtaining pharmaceutical compounds using a computer.”

See the full list of the Soapbox Science Dublin 2021 speakers and the topics below.

Soapbox Science Dublin 2021 joint-organiser Dr Dara Stanley from UCD said: “As women in particular are under-represented at many career stages in STEMM subjects, Soapbox Science aims to break down stereotypes around who scientists are by featuring a number of female scientists speaking on a number of diverse topics. Soapbox Science Dublin is great fun so please do join us online and hear about some amazing science being carried out by twelve fantastic female scientists.”

Soapbox Science Dublin 2021 is supported by UCD and UCD Earth Institute. The event is organised by Dr Angela Feechan, Dr Dara StanleyDr Saoirse Tracy and Dr Anthony Twamley from the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.

Established in 2011, Soapbox Science is a global public outreach platform for promoting women and non-binary scientists and the science they do. This year over 40 Soapbox Science events, including the Dublin event, are planned across 14 countries.

All events will take place online this year. Follow Soapbox Science Dublin via @SoapboxSciIRL and #SoapboxScienceDublin, and tune in anytime on Saturday 3 July from 2pm-6pm to hear some fantastic scientists talk about their amazing work.

Events are accessible on Facebook and YouTube.


Soapbox Science Dublin 2021 Speakers


Dr. Victoria Elizabeth Mullin (@victoriaEmullin), Trinity College Dublin, “From Bones to Genomes” 

Dr. Rebecca Whetton,  University College Dublin, “The Dirt Beneath our Feet”

Dr. Elena-Alexandra Micu (@SmartBridge4), Trinity College Dublin, “SmartBridge”  

Helena Mylise Sørensen (@HelenaMylise), Dublin City University, “You Are What You Eat: Engineering the foods of the future”

Reabetswe Zwane (@rea_zwane), Dublin City University, "Chocolate For Your Pain: How the chemistry of painkillers can help you choose the best chocolate"

Elena Aitova, (@lenovski_mel), National University of Ireland, Galway and University College Dublin, “Re-wet, Re-Peat: Re-thinking Irish peatlands

Tammy Strickland (@strickl_t), Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, “Rhythms of Life: Day in the Life of a Human Brain

Dr. Sarah MacQueen (@Sarah_MacQ), University College Dublin, “Save the Bees… With Mathematics?!”

Dr. Cristina Trujillo (@Trujillo_Group), Trinity College Dublin, “Using Computational Chemistry to design new, non-toxic ways of obtaining pharmaceutical compounds

Dr. Amalia Naranjo-Lucena (@AmelieOrange), Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine, “The Microbial Veterinary Gardaí” 

Dr. Gita Singh (@GitaSin32438547), University College Dublin, “Li-ion battery: The untold love story

Prof. Sally Ann Lynch (@annnlynch), University College Dublin and Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street, "Celebrities get mutations too"