IFSA-Butler student Tram Anh Pham of Franklin and Marshall College recently completed the “Introduction to Research” module at University College Dublin. This pilot module resulted in 8 placements in the UCD Schools of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Biology and Environmental Science and Chemistry and Chemical Biology labs and the plan is to broaden the scope in the future to include placements in other areas such as Physics, Geology, Mathematics and Computer Science.
Students were placed in research labs that reflected their personal areas of interest where they spent 6-8 hours a week working in the lab on their own specific research project. Projects ranged from discovering how certain bacteria produce biofilms to the chemical synthesis of fluorescent probes to the effect of new plant species on native insect populations. Students wrote an essay on the methods they used as well as presenting their findings in the format of a Scientific Poster that they then presented to academic members of staff.
Tram Pham carried out her project in the laboratory of Professor Donal O’Shea from the UCD School of Chemistry and Chemical Biology where she worked on the production of compounds which could be used as a precursor fluorescent imaging probes. These probes have a large number of applications including the study of biological processes as well as specific functions such as the detection of tumor cells and the development of therapeutics. Tram successfully synthesised a compound which has the potential to be used as a fluorescent probe and identified possible future modifications which could improve this compound.
“This was a wonderful course which allowed me to improve my research skills and get to know what its like to be a chemistry graduate student”