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UCD Science Study Abroad Research Module

SCI30010 - 'Introduction to Scientific Research' module is available exclusively to UCD Science Study Abroad students.

The “Introduction to Scientific Research” module (SCI-30010) offers UCD Science Study Abroad students the opportunity to become active members of a research group in University College Dublin. These research groups work in areas ranging from Physics, Geology, Mathematical Sciences, and Computer Science to Chemistry, Biology, and the Biomedical Sciences. Students shadow a member of the research team and master one basic and one advanced laboratory skill. They learn about developing a research hypothesis and how to design an experiment to test this hypothesis. Students also learn how to analyse research data, write a scientific abstract as well as how to make a scientific presentation.

Read below for some examples of Research Projects undertaken by UCD Science Study abroad students.

Biology and Environmental Science: 

Shelby Lawson, St Mary's College of Maryland, carried out her project in the laboratory of Dr Tasman Crowe, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, where she investigated the defense mechanisms used by Blue Mussels (Mytilus edulis) against the Dog Whelk (Nucella lapillus). Shelby observed that changes in temperature had a dramatic effect on the ability of the mussels to produce byssus threads to entangle and incapacitate the Dog Whelk. Given the increase in Global warming this research offers an important insight into how increased temperatures could affect these ecosystems.

Click to download Shelby Lawson's Poster Presentation (pdf).


Miah Blomquist, Iowa State University, carried out her project in the laboratory of Orina Belton, from UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, where she investigated the effects of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on an in vitro model of Human Macrophage Differentiation as a target of the CLA-induced regression of atherosclerosis. Using Real Time PCR she was able to show that CLA both induced an M2 anti-inflammatory macrophage phenotype as well as inhibiting lipid uptake and removing cholesterol from macrophage cells. This research will help develop new therapeutic drugs to target atherosclerosis which is an underlying cause of heart disease.‌

Click to download Miah Blomquist's Poster Presentation (pdf).


‌Thomas Wauford, Wake Forest University, carried out his project under the supervision of Dr Xiangming Zhu in UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Thomas worked on the synthesis of Methyl-6-O-trityl-2,3,4-tri-O-benzyl-a-D-glucopyranoside in 1,6-anhydrous sugar reaction series. This is an important step in the reaction sequence to synthesize 1,6 anhydrous sugars which can be used in a variety of reaction processes. Using NMR Thomas was able to confirm the presence of the desired produce and speculate on how to increase yield.

Click to download Thomas Wauford's Poster Presentation (pdf).

Earth Sciences:

Wesley von Dassow, Lafayette College, carried out his project under the supervision of Dr John Walsh in UCD School of Geological Sciences. Wesley used TrapTester6.1 analytical software to examine a 3D seismic dataset containing a series of normal faults. This software was used to interpret the geometry and growth history of faults in three dimensions from an area in the NW Shelf of Australia.

Click to download Wesley von Dassow's Poster Presentation (pdf).

Cellular Biology:

Catherine Jensen, Marquette University, carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Jeremy Simpson, UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, where she used immunofluorescent microscopy to study the effect of down regulation of genes by small interfering RNAs (sIRNAs) on cell morphology. Depletion of some gene products resulted in significant morphological changes as measured by fluorescent staining of DNA, Actin and paxillin.

Click to download Catherine Jensen's Poster Presentation (pdf).


Julia McGinty, Notre Dame, carried out her project under the supervision of Dr Tadhg Ó Cróinín in UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science where her project focused on the phenotypic analysis of the fibornectin binding proteins CadF and FlpA of the pathogen Campylobacter jejuni. This organism is the leading cause of bacterial gastroenteritis worldwide and little is known about how the organism binds to the human epithelium. Julia used agglutination assays and immunfluorescent assays to characterize the role these two proteins play in both bacteria-bacteria as well as bacteria-host interactions.

Click to download Julia McGinty's Poster Presentation (pdf).

Computer Science: 

Thomas Powers, Purdue University, carried out his project under the supervision of Dr Soufiene Djahel in (opens in a new window)UCD School of Computer Science and Informatics. Thomas’s project focused on improving road safety using vehicular communications and WSNs technology. Based on his data Thomas found that it was within reason that real-time communications between vehicles on a road Is entirely possible and could be used to improve road safety.

Click to download Thomas Powers' Poster Presentation (pdf).


Jasmine Vicencio, George Washington University, carried out her project under the supervision of Professor Padraig Dunne in the UCD School of Physics. Over the course of the project Jasmine attempted to create laser-produced plasmas and detect these on both the visible and extreme ultraviolet spectra. Pulses were shot from an Nd:YAG laser at Silicon and Lithium Flouride targets in air and vacuum and then used the Jenoptik EUV spectrometer to gather spectra in EUV.

Click to download Jasmine Vicencio's Poster Presentation (pdf). 

Physics with Astronomy and Space Science: 

‌Marina da Silva, a Science Without Borders student from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte carried out her research project under the supervision of Dr Antonio Martin Carrillo from UCD School of Physics where using data from the European Space Agency’s  X-ray observatory (XMN-Newton) the spectra of five objects from the andromeda galaxy were analysed to test whether the analysis of spectra could be used to identify such objects.

Click to download Marina Da Silva's Poster Presentation (pdf). 


Olivia Gutgsell carried out her research in the laboratory of Dr Keith Murphy from the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science where she studied the expression of the BMP4 protein in the hippocampus. This protein is involved in the early development of the nervous system but has also been implicated in learning and memory consolidation in adults. Using Western immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry Olivia investigated both the levels and location of this protein in the hippocampus.‌

Click to download Olivia Gutgsell's Poster Presentation (pdf).‌

UCD Science Study Abroad students taking this module gain valuable experience in carrying out a research project whilst working closely with graduate students and leading Principal Investigators (PI's) / academics who are leaders in their field of research.

UCD College of Science

Room E1.09/E2.09 UCD O'Brien Centre for Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
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