• Question: what area in science do you focus on ?

    Asked by Leah D to Emma, Monica, Sebastian, Sinead, Thomas on 13 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Sinead Loughran

      Sinead Loughran answered on 13 Nov 2016:

      I teach Analytical Science which is a mix of biology, chemistry and physics and is all about detecting and measuring things. My research is biology-based and involves studying what happens inside a cell, usually a cancer cell.

    • Photo: Monica Flaherty

      Monica Flaherty answered on 14 Nov 2016:

      I work in a Microbiology Laboratory in a hospital so I focus on bacteria, fungi and viruses which cause infections in the human body. I also determine which antibiotics or antifungals should be used to treat the infection. When a patient presents to a doctor with an infection example, wound infection, chest infection, ear infection, gastrointestinal infection or urinary tract infection, the doctor usually takes a specimen. For a wound infection they would take a swab, chest infection-they would ask a patient to cough up sputum, gastrointestinal infection-stool sample, urinary tract infection-urine. These specimens are then sent to our laboratory. We label each sample so we can keep track of it being processed. We receive hundreds of specimens each day. Each specimen is placed on agar plates(there is different agar plates for different samples) and these plates are incubated at ususally 35OC over night. Some are incubated in air, some in an atmosphere of CO2 and some in an anaerobic atmosphere. Some are incubated for more than 24 hours( this is because some bacteria are slow growing). After the appropriate incubation time, the plates are taken out and we read the plates looking for significant bacteria. Every species of bacteria can look different. We identify the bacteria using numerous methods, e.g which carbohydrates they utilise, looking to see if they possess different enzymes( Staphylococcus aureus has an enzyme called coagulase). In the last few years laboratories have started using mass spectrometry, this has speeded up the whole process of identifying bacteria in the laboratory.

    • Photo: Sebastian Gornik

      Sebastian Gornik answered on 14 Nov 2016:

      Basic research in developmental biology, mostly concentrating on the role of DNA modifying mechanism in the developmental processes that take place during the formation of embryos.

    • Photo: Emma Roycroft

      Emma Roycroft answered on 16 Nov 2016:

      Microbiology is my area of specialisation