Oatlands College – 5th year biology visit to UCD

Oatlands College students at UCD
Oatlands College students at UCD

ABE teacher, Emily Collison from Oatlands College got in touch with the ABE team to ask if she could bring 24 pupils from two 5th year biology classes on a visit to us on the UCD campus to see first-hand what our researchers do. As Emily had not yet delivered the ABE practicals in the classroom with these pupils, we decided to bring them into the Kilty outreach laboratory in UCD O’Brien Centre for Science first so they could do ABE lab 1 & 1a: micropipetting & lab 2: DNA profiling.

While the DNA gels were running, the boys heard talks from Dr Derek Costello on the science of the brain and by Assoc. Prof. Tara McMorrow on the range of science programmes on offer in UCD. Both academics are Fellows in UCD Conway Institute.

After exploring the campus lunch options, the group reconvened in UCD Conway Institute where they were split into small groups and taken on tours of two research laboratories by Drs Arman Rahman, Maria Prencipe (cancer biology) and Fiona McGillicuddy (obesity and cardiovascular disease).

The pupils were fascinated to see cancer cells growing in culture and to hear about how images of cancer cells are captured from tissue samples to help in the diagnosis of disease. They also heard about research on the links between obesity and cardiovascular disease. The McGillicuddy team spoke about the projects they are working on and described how obesity negatively impacts on the quality and quantity of the 'good-cholesterol' in our bodies. This may contribute to a greater risk of heart disease and disrupt the removal of cholesterol from the body.

“I just wanted to say another massive thank you for yesterday. The lads had a brilliant day and gave really positive feedback from it. They loved the hands-on experience and really enjoyed the micropipetting. They also really enjoyed seeing first-hand the cancer research that goes on in UCD. I can't thank you and your team enough for organising it.”
Emily Collison, Oatlands College