As Professor Luke O’Neill discovered recently, when you become a fellow of the extremely exclusive and august science club that is the Royal Society, you have to sign their book. Previous signatories include Newton, Boyle, Freud and Einstein (Oh, and superstar astrophysicist Brian Cox). Which makes the process rather nerve-wracking, according to O’Neill, a biochemist at Dublin’s Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute and one of the world’s leading immunologists. Luke O’Neill: There’s a practice, you don’t want to smudge your name! Dublin.ie: That’s quite some company you’re keeping there - but what do all you science guys have in common? Luke O’Neill: Science is trying to find stuff out. You can call it exploration, you can call it pioneering, frontier stuff because it’s all about making discoveries. We are explorers, that’s our job, that’s what attracted me to it. I wanted to see something nobody’s seen before. And in my case, luckily enough in my lab we probably had three big discoveries that made a big difference: we explored the immune system and saw things there for the first time. The next step is there’s a whole new pathway or process discovered - and of course the thrill would be if that was a dysfunction or a disease because then you might try and correct it. Once you find the enemy, you might be able to design a new medicine that might beat it. Dublin.ie: So you’re a biochemist and not an ordinary one? Luke O’Neill: I’m a bit of a schizophrenic! I was interested in chemistry anyway and biochemistry is chemistry writ large: if you want to understand something you’ve got to understand the chemical basis for things - and biochemistry is the basis for life. If we understand the chemicals of life wouldn’t that be a thrilling thing? One comparison is with genetics: geneticists don’t really go beyond the genes, you know – and I want to know the real fundamentals. Like genes makes proteins, but what do they do? I was always obsessed with true mechanism – the underlying mechanism, the very basics of how things work. I’ve always been obsessed with molecular things in a sense.
Whether you’re pursuing the arts, medicine, law, science or business, there’s a course in Dublin for you. Dublin is home to several world-class universities and smaller colleges, and in these stories we spotlight their diversity.
Medicine in Trinity College is known as one of the most difficult courses to get into in Ireland. These students will play a major role in the future of healthcare, in Ireland and worldwide. Someday your life might just depend on one. During placement at hospital, some of these students will experience things that most of us will never see. They’ll witness life-changing moments and hear about difficult upbringings and tragic back- stories. “Sometimes I’ve taken a step back and thought, oh I’m very lucky to never have had any of those issues” says Aisling Hickey, a Trinity medicine student. Aisling is currently in fourth year of the course and on placement.
What sets Europe’s largest culinary school apart? The School of Culinary Arts, DIT Cathal Brugha Street has been blazing trails for almost 80 years. Dublin.ie met with the Head and Assistant Head of the school, Dr Frank Cullen and Mike J. O Connor to find out what sets Cathal Brugha Street apart and what the future and the move to DIT’s new centralised campus at Grangegorman hold. The School opened its doors in June 1941 as Saint Mary’s College of Domestic Science. In the 1950s the college changed to cater to the needs of a growing tourism industry, becoming the Dublin Colle
IADT is Dublin’s Institute of Art Design and Technology and inside the walls, it’s alive with ideas, creativity - and a girl who hula-hoops every single day! The college is situated in Dún Laoghaire – Dublin’s picturesque coastal town - and it’s home to 2,300 students and staff. Being only 12km from the city centre means “the students have the option of hanging out in Dún Laoghaire or making the trip to the city centre” says Students’ Union president, Alice Hartigan. Conveniently, it’s on the 46A bus route, the one they voted Dublin’s favourite bus route of all time: check out the views from the top deck!
First things first: The Bots. What is it? “The Bots” is how teachers and students refer to The Teagasc College of Amenity Horticulture, located at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. They’ve been teaching there since 1812 so there’s quite a bit of history. For our first instalment of Horticultural Dublin we want to find out about this unique institution hidden away in the suburbs. To investigate, we’ve enlisted some people on the inside. We’ve got John Mulhern, Principal of the College, and prized former pupil, Gary Mentanko. John has been with Teagasc, a wider authority on agriculture and food development, for 20-odd years. Gary studied Horticulture at the Bots and has also conducted Horticultural work in the Arctic. We’ll come back to that.
DCU is growing. The young university is spreading its wings across the north of Dublin, with campuses in Glasnevin and Drumcondra. As a result more eager students will be adopting these areas as their new home. So, what can students coming to study in the New DCU expect from this part of our fair city? Student life is about balance. A rounded education does not just happen in a lecture hall. Libraries, books and essays may make up a large part of the university experience but they are not the be all and end all. New friends, new experiences and new locals are all waiting to be explored.
It’s an economic truth, universally acknowledged, that innovation is at the core of most successful businesses. Actually being innovative, however, is easier said than done. Which is why centres of incubations are so necessary. Ireland can proudly boast nine university incubation centres, six university bio incubation centres and 15 Institute of Technology incubation centres, all contributing to making this country one of the globe’s most exciting places for both research and development, and in which to do business. At the heart of all this, you’ll find NovaUCD. Located on the campus of University College Dubli
If you’re not entirely sure what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, or if you haven’t even heard of it yet, that’s alright. Essentially, the IoT is a connection of devices to the internet, whether that’s your washing machine or your house alarm and everything will be ‘talking’ to the other. On a micro level, that might mean that your alarm clock will tell your coffee machine that it’s time to start brewing a pot when you get up; on a macro level the possibilities are infinite, including making cities smarter.
Young people are the future. It’s why we cherish them and invest in them. That’s not to say that everybody would necessarily be thrilled at the prospect of 20,000 students arriving on their doorstep, which is exactly what will happen at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s formidable new Grangegorman Campus. Thanks to meticulous planning and a comprehensive vision of what the whole area will become, however, this dramatic swelling of Grangegorman’s population is being anticipated with something resembling excitement.