A Teen Duo's Dive into Biomedical Science: Our Journey at the 'Let's Chat Medicine' Workshop

Written by: Millie Mc Cartney, Inver College
Written on: Tuesday, 21 May, 2024

During our Easter break, my friend Aimee Freeman and I embarked on an extraordinary adventure at the "Let's Chat Medicine" workshop hosted by Systems Biology Ireland at UCD and Barretstown. We were fortunate enough to be two of 30 students chosen from over 90 applications for the programme.  Our week-long immersion in the world of biomedical science left us inspired and eager to explore the wonders of modern medicine.

The journey began at the Systems Biology Ireland building on the UCD campus, where we spent two captivating days. Welcomed by enthusiastic researchers and organisers, we were treated to an insider's tour of the labs, offering us a glimpse into ground breaking research projects. The atmosphere buzzed with excitement as we witnessed science in action.

Our first day was filled with enlightening sessions, starting with an engaging talk by Anna Wedderburn. With her expertise, Anna demystified the complexities of The Cell and DNA, from unravelling the structure of DNA to extracting it from a humble banana. Aimee and I were thrilled to participate in hands-on experiments that brought science to life in front of our eyes.

Day two brought even more discoveries, as Melinda Halasz enlightened us on genetic mutations and their implications for human health. Learning about germline and somatic mutations opened our minds to the intricate workings of genetics. We were captivated by Aleksandar Krstic's discussion on different types of treatments, including preventative and palliative measures, which shed light on the diverse approaches to healthcare.

In the afternoon, Walter Kolch's talk on personalized medicine left a lasting impression on us. His insights into tailoring treatments to individual patients, using digital twins as a tool for personalized medicine development, showcased the cutting-edge advancements in medical technology.

Our adventure continued at Barretstown the following week, where we bonded with fellow participants from various parts of Ireland. Amidst creating infographics to share our newfound knowledge, we enjoyed thrilling activities like canoeing and archery, forging memories that will last a lifetime.

Reflecting on our experience, Aimee and I are grateful to the organisers who made the workshop possible. Their passion for science ignited a spark within us, inspiring us to consider careers in STEM. To anyone considering attending a similar workshop, we wholeheartedly recommend it – it's an opportunity for growth, learning, and forging friendships, all while exploring the fascinating world of biomedical science.


Millie Mc Cartney is a student at Inver College in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.