This year a selection of undergraduate researchers from RCSI’s Research Summer School (RSS) presented their summer research to an audience of their peers, mentors and interested research staff on Friday 24th July at RCSI’s Research Summer School Wrap-up Symposium. Opening the symposium, Professor Hannah McGee, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, commented on the importance of undergraduate health science research and commended RSS Director Dr Sarah O’Neill for her role in organising the largest RSS yet. Fifteen of the circa 120 undergraduate students who undertook research projects this summer as
part of the RSS were selected randomly to give “Thesis in Three” style oral presentations on their summer research experience, which were judged by Dr Helen French (Physiotherapy), Dr David Hughes (Physiology and Medical Physics), Jane Burns (HPEC), Dr Niall Stevens (Microbiology) and William Lackington (Anatomy). Six visiting International Research Summer School students from Soochow University, China also gave poster presentations of their summer research projects, which were judged by Dr Olga Piskareva (MCT), Dr Frances Horgan (Physiotherapy) and Dr Garry Duffy (Anatomy).
The event was a great success and as well as providing students with a platform to share their research, it proved to be a thoroughly entertaining symposium for all in attendance. Raucous laughter broke out in the Cheyne Lecture Theatre on many occasions thanks to quick-witted “Thesis in Three” session Chairperson Dr Andrew Cameron (Anatomy) and contestants vying for the “Funniest Oral Presentation” award. Judges of both oral and poster presentations remarked that the standard of the sessions were extremely high on the day.
The “Funniest Oral Presentation” award was won by Hong Ming Hoe, who was supervised by Kate McQuaid from the Department of Biology. Hong’s selfie-laden presentation simply entitled “My Research Summer School Experience” brought the house down. James Cowman, who was supervised by Professor Fergal O’Brien (Anatomy), won the “Most Scientific Presentation” for his talk “Understanding Macrophage Immune Response to Substrate Stiffness”. The “Best Overall Presentation” award went to Shaunagh Galgey, who was supervised by Dr Garry Duffy (Anatomy), for her talk “Magnetic Nanoparticle Drug Delivery Systems, my Research Experience”. In the poster presentation category, the competition was fierce with only two points separating the 6 contestants from Soochow University. The “Best Poster Presentation” award went to Yadong Zhu, who was supervised by Professor Donal O’Shea (Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry), for his poster “Development of Novel Bioorthogonal Turn-On Fluorophore based on Tetrazine Diels-Alder Reaction”.
Presenting the awards, RCSI School of Pharmacy Head Prof Paul Gallagher commended RCSI’s commitment to undergraduate research and highlighted the importance of the International RSS to RCSI’s burgeoning relationship with Soochow University: “the great success of this first exchange of undergraduate students for summer research will no doubt deepen the academic links between our two institutions and provide further opportunities for collaboration and exchange of students and academic staff.”