Lucan Community College (2007-2013), DIT (2013-2017)
Leaving cert, BSc (Hons) Chemical sciences with medicinal chemistry
Research assistant (2017-2019)
PhD student - 4th year
I live in Dublin, I'm a final year PhD researcher in the field of chemistry. I enjoy cosying up to a good movie, brunching with friends and being with my family.
My name is Siobhán (shove-on), I am from Lucan Co.Dublin and I am a final year PhD researcher in the field of chemistry in RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, in Dublin city centre.
When I am not doing PhD related work, I enjoy reading, mainly non-fiction and watching movies generally rom-coms. I enjoy pilates and running to help me destress and
When I finish my PhD I hope to travel more and work in the pharmaceutical industry.
My pronouns are
👩🏻🔬 I am a peptide chemist studying for a PhD in RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Dublin, Ireland ☘️
I am studying peptides which fall under the category of biochemistry. Peptides are essentially small proteins, similarly made up of amino acid ‘building blocks’ with very important functions in the body and have recently become popular in treating disease and in cosmetics. A famous peptide you have probably heard of is insulin, which controls blood sugar levels in the body. Insulin is just one of many hormones in the body characterised as a peptide. Peptides found in the body have numerous functions. They can be found at locations susceptible to microbes such as bacteria and viruses, giving them antimicrobial properties also. Peptides can be short or long, while the longer sequences as we call them tend to be more difficult to make.
My research looks at synthesising peptides in a lab sustainably, as currently the process uses chemicals harmful to the environment and human health. I am also looking at improving some properties which hinder peptides use as medicines, such as their rapid excretion (removal) from the body. I use a lot of machines to help me in my everyday work, such as one synthesiser which uses microwave energy to help synthesise the peptides quickly. Another machine lets me purify the peptide, removing any unwanted side-products.
My Typical Day
My day begins with breakfast, feed my cat, and then walk to work. I start work around 9am where I get started with my lab work for the day. I use my lab book to keep track of my experiments. About midday I have lunch with friends. Back to the lab for the afternoon, sometimes involves writing up results, planning future work or discussions with my supervisor. I go home at about 6pm, either walking or sometimes cycling.
My day begins with breakfast, feed my cat and then walk to work. I start work around 9am where I get started with my lab work for the day. I use my lab book to keep track of my experiments, in terms of what has worked and what hasn’t. In the lab we have to be safe, so lab glasses, a lab coat and gloves are essential when working with any chemicals! Working in a lab also involves a lot of mundane chores, like unpacking deliveries, cleaning (we use a lot of glassware!!) and waste management. Some days I do lab demonstrating which involves helping undergraduate students in their chemistry labs. This gives me good opportunity to go back to basics and improve my understanding of chemistry also. About midday I have lunch with friends in the canteen, usually homemade. Back to the lab for the afternoon, sometimes this involves writing up results, planning future work or discussions with my supervisor. My supervisor keeps me on track with my work and advises me on what I should be doing as doing a PhD often involves working on many projects at once which can get confusing. He also helps me interpret my results. I go home at about 6pm, either walking or cycling and sometimes running to incorporate some exercise into my day. In free time, hard to come by nowadays since I’m busy with my studies, I enjoy baking, reading, hiking, going to the cinema and going for food with friends.
What I'd do with the prize money
I'd organise a really fun chemistry experiment for one lucky class to do here in the lab! Would likely involve explosions! 😀
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Tired peptide chemist
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
What did you want to be after you left school?
Cosmetic chemist working with skincare products
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Sometimes, mostly for forgetting to do homework
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I'd like to own a bakery 🍰. Chemistry is a lot like baking in a way...
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love movie soundtracks, anything Thomas Newman 🎬
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
When I was junior infants, I swapped places with my twin sister for the day. We fooled the teacher and our class!
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
A 5 star trip to New York 🍎, to be able to sing, and money 💶
Tell us a joke.
I once told a chemistry joke; there was no reaction.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKr7fZpkyZA for a video 📹 a day in the life of a scientist!