What are you up to now?
I am completing a Master of Research degree in Computational Biology at the University of York where I spent the last five months researching my dissertation at a pharmaceutical company in London. I am due to commence a PhD in Bioinformatics and Computational Biomedicine at UCD in September.
What did winning mean to you?
Examinations are not my forte and so it was nice to be recognised for a piece of work that I undertook out of my interest and encompassing an area of biology which I find particularly fascinating, viz., and molecular evolution.
Why do you think your entry was the winning paper in your category?
Science is often perceived as a dry discipline. This is counter the reality. Scientific discovery is a carefully constructed narrative, essentially a story. My topic allowed me to tell the story of the adaptive immune system, a story that encompasses millions of years of natural history as well as the more recent evolution of science as a discipline and its growing ability to tackle fundamental and interesting questions.
What have you been up to since winning the Undergraduate Awards?
I have since completed a Master of Research in Computational Biology at the University of York. I started reading for a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology at University College Dublin where I investigate epistatic interactions in genetic networks related to gene expression and complex human diseases.
What do you see in store for 2011?
2011 is the year I expect to get comfortable in my research area, understand my research topic more and generally gain greater competence and independence in my field. A scientific paper would be nice as would a Summer leopard spotting and exploring the national parks of Sri Lanka. Who knows!
Undergraduate Award Winner in 2009
University: Trinity College Dublin