The ENGAGE Finalists 2017

Philippa Fowler

I grew up surrounded by science, spending my holidays watching my mum in the lab where she worked, so from a young age I knew that my future lay in research. I studied Neuroscience at Glasgow University where, during my final year project, I discovered that my passion lay in understanding the mechanisms by which neurodegenerative diseases progress. In 2013 I came to University College Dublin (UCD) where I studied for a M.Sc. in Imaging and Microscopy, gaining valuable skills in the techniques that enable scientists to look inside cells. Now, while studying for my Ph.D. in Dr. O’Sullivan’s lab at UCD, I am putting these skills to use by using advanced imaging techniques to understand the mechanisms underlying an inherited form of motor neuron disease.

Dearbhla Lenehan

My name is Dearbhla Lenehan and I hail from Patrick Kavanagh country, namely the ‘stony grey soil’ of Monaghan.  We can’t all be poets, so I became a scientist instead. I graduated with a first class honors degree in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2013.  Afterwards, I worked as a microbial research assistant in the R&D department in Monaghan Mushrooms.  It was here my interest in bacteria blossomed and I went on the search for my current PhD position in Dr. Jennifer Mitchell’s lab.  The adaptation capabilities of bacteria fascinate me and with the increasing emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria I’d like to help develop new ways to treat infections.

Adam Russell-Hallinan

My name is Adam Russell-Hallinan and I’m a PhD student working with the Experimental and Clinical Cardiology Research Group in the UCD Conway Institute. I graduated from the UCD Biomedical Health and Life Sciences programme in 2014 and decided to continue down the research path and undertake a PhD in Translational Medicine. To date, I have had a genuinely unique research experience from working with human skin mites, to performing open-heart surgery on mice. My PhD research is all about developing new drugs that could be used for the treatment of heart failure.

Ismael Obaidi

My name is Ismael Obaidi and I am originally from Iraq, I graduated from the school of pharmacy in the University of Kufa in 2005, where I worked for a number of years. I also did a master in pharmacology where I investigated bacterial resistance using a harmless surfactant. In 2013, I got a sponsored studentship from my government to carry out research in Ireland. My enthusiasm for science wouldn’t be different from my “Babylonian ancestors” who discovered the power of plants to treat different illnesses in Mesopotamia. Therefore, targeting cancer cells with natural chemicals is my area of interest which could offer safer, cheaper, and more effective alternatives to the conventional chemotherapeutics. 

Siobhán Turner

My name is Siobhán Turner and I’m a PhD student at the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science in UCD.  Growing up with scientist parents, I never thought of pursuing anything other than a career in science. The world around (and within) us has always been fascinating to me – so many questions unanswered and problems unsolved. I completed a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from UCC in 2011 and an M.Sc. by research in cancer genetics from TCD  in 2013. Since then, I have been working on my Ph.D. in microbiology at UCD. The impending antibiotic crisis is a very real threat to our health and happiness and playing some small role in furthering our understanding, treatment and prevention of infectious disease is a thrilling prospect.

Stephanie Whelan

My name is Stephanie Whelan and I am a UCD graduate of Biomedical Science and current PhD student in Translation Medicine. I have always had a keen interest in science and specifically how the human body works. When I finished my degree, I was offered a scholarship as a physiology medical trainee where I teach medical and science students while also conducting research. My research focuses on testing a potential new curative therapy for the lung disease emphysema. Results to date are promising with the hopes of translating to clinical trials and improving the lives of patients with emphysema.