Episodes

I am extremely honored to introduce Provost Linda Doyle, the 45th Provost and first female Provost of Trinity College Dublin as my guest on the podcast this week. Linda chats to me about her experiences as professor of engineering and the arts at Trinity, her wide range of expertise in the fields of wireless communications and dynamic use of resources her current role as Provost of Trinity College Dublin.

She chats about growing up in Cork, how her experiences in industry cemented her love for academia and why she is so passionate about marrying creative arts with engineering. We also chat about what led her to run for the election of Provost of Trinity College Dublin, what that historical moment felt like when she won and what she hopes to achieve in her ten-year term.

What an utter privilege to have had her time, as you will see we could have chatted for another 40 minutes. This episode marks the end of Season 4 of Unravelling Science, I hope you have all enjoyed listening in this season, will catch you all for Season 5.

 

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

Dr Barry Moran core facility manager of the Flow Cytometry Facility, at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute is my guest this week. He chats to me about his 'unconventional' journey through academia, deciding to do a part time PhD while running the Cytometry core facility and why the 'journey-man' in him may be relatable. 

Barry also discusses how flow cytometry can advance our scientific knowledge and its benefits particularly in the context of immunology. He describes his own research examining immune dysfunction in the skin disease hidradenitis suppurativa and why this is research that adds value to patients lives.

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

Prof Ellen Roche, Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute of Medical Engineering and Science at MIT joins me this week. She directs the Therapeutic Technology Design and Development Lab at MIT and her research focuses on applying innovative technologies to the development of cardiac devices.

She chats to me about growing up in Galway, her experiences in California working in medical device engineering and why she decided to leave industry to do a PhD in Harvard as a Fulbright Scholar. 

She describes her work using soft robotic approaches to augment heart function and her collaborations with Boston's Children's Hospital. 

She also discusses juggling family life & academia and how most of her work 'gets done when the kids are gone to bed'. 

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

The incredible Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell joins me this week!! Jocelyn is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, discovered the first radio pulsars, the discovery of which eventually earned the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1974. 

She chats to me about making that crucial discovery, the media attention surrounding it, her research group focused on binary stars and her role as first female president of the Institute of physics. We also chat about the sexism she had faced throughout her academic career and the imposter syndrome she felt before attending Cambridge to do her PhD.

She also chats about growing up in Armagh and the controversy surrounding the Nobel or 'No-Bell' Prize. Such a fascinating episode with great insights into how she navigated her path in a male-dominated field.

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

Dr Garret FitzGerald, professor of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania joins me on the podcast today. Hailing from Wicklow, Garret is an international leader in cardiovascular disease research and leading world figure in pharmacology.

He discusses his work into the development of low-dose aspirin for cardioprotection and his investigations into harmful effects and cardiovascular risks of NSAIDs. He also discusses the importance of the presence of molecular clocks in the cardiovascular system.

We chat about his 'unusual' upbringing in the 'Grand Hotel' in Greystones, being an only child and the 'series of accidents' that have led to him becoming a physician scientist. We also discuss his move to London and subsequently the US and his hopes for the future of Irish science. Garret is also extremely passionate about bridging the gap between basic science and clinical impact and the importance of creating structures for career progression for younger researchers. 

 

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

An absolute powerhouse Irish Woman in STEM Abroad Prof Margaret Murnane joins me on the podcast this week. Margaret is a Professor of Physics at the University of Colorado and Director of the STROBE Science and Technology Center. She is among the foremost active researchers in laser science and technology and chats to me about her pioneering discoveries into ultra-fast x-ray lasers, table top lasers and why she is passionate about 'building the microscopes of tomorrow'.

We chat about her upbringing in Limerick, her fathers 'reward systems' for learning, being one of only two female physicists in her degree at UCC and why she decided to leave Ireland for her PhD. She reminisces on her time at UC Berkley in California where she met her now husband and long-term collaborator Henry Kapteyn and discusses the discoveries they have made together.

Margaret also shares some of her insights into being a mentor and how she doesn't view science as a race, instead values collaboration and shared credit. Brilliantly honest and refreshing episode, I hope you enjoy!

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

The passionate and exuberant Professor John Cryan, Professor & Chair at the Department of Anatomy & Neuroscience, University College Cork joins me on the podcast this week. He chats to me about his exciting microbiome research on the neurobiological basis of stress-related disorders and on understanding the interaction between brain, gut & microbiome. John explains that we are living in a 'microbial world' and why he is interested in examining how the microbiome is shaping aspects of brain physiology and ageing.

He also chats to me about growing up in Roscommon, being the first in his family to go to University and his PhD experiences both at home and in Australia. He discusses his experiences in the US, his move to Industry and importantly why he took a pay cut to return to academia.

Such fascinating research on how the state of your gut can inform your state of mind, but John also gives excellent insights into how we can 'fuel the fire in the bellies' of young researchers to sustain this career. 

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

 

Prof Maria McNamara, Professor of paleontology in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork joins me this week. Maria’s research focuses on the preservation and paleobiology of exceptionally preserved fossils with particular interests in soft tissues and fossil colour.

She speaks to me about her Granny's influence on her at a young age to explore the natural world  and how she still considers herself a 'curious child'. Maria discusses leaving academia to work as a geopark geologist in the Burren, what that experience taught her and what drew her back into academic life. 

Her passion for paleontology  is evident from the first moment you listen to this episode. She explains why she wants to extract biological information from fossils, her interest in the evolutionary functions of feathers and the importance of insect colour in communication. Maria also discusses her latest projects on melanin and how this may have implications on human health.

Finally Maria also chats about her exciting new project 'Irelands Fossil Heritage' and her passion for science communication. This episode is bursting with interesting facts and inspiring advice, I really hope you all enjoy.

This is the last episode before Christmas - Back on Jan 4th!

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

This week I am joined by Dr Ciaran Murphy-Royal, assistant professor in the department of neuroscience at the University of Montreal. He chats to me about growing up in Dublin, his undergraduate experiences at Trinity and making the move to France for his PhD. 

We chat about moving to a different country and learning a new language all while doing a PhD, moving from France to Canada and his latest role as a new PI a the University of Montreal. Ciaran's research focuses on investigating the link between stress, astrocyte metabolism, and neuronal plasticity. He is interested in how early life adversary an impact and shape brain development long term and acute vs chronic stress. 

Ciaran also discusses setting up his lab during the pandemic and how he's found the transition from postdoc to PI. Such an interesting chat, I hope you enjoy!

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

Professor Muireann Irish, cognitive neuroscientist at the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney joins me this week. Muireann's research explores memory and imagination and how these processes can break down in dementia. We chat about growing up in the south of Ireland, the impact her granny had on her research interests, her experiences in college and the mentors who kept her motivated to keep going.

Muireann chats about her fascinating work into memory and explains that memory is 'who we are, where we've been and where we're going. Why do we need imagination? Why do we daydream? And how are these processes affected in those with dementia. 

We also chat about her reentry into academia after a short break and how lucky she was to find a good postdoc mentor, her experiences juggling family life and academia and why is an advocate for girls in STEM.

Muireann is just so relatable, humble and honest and such a brilliant representative for Irish Woman in STEM Abroad. I hope you enjoy!

 

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This season is kindly sponsored by Bio-Sciences Ltd, now part of Thermo-Fisher Scientific.

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