Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI celebrates Science Week on MCT Lab Safari

17 November 2017

To celebrate Science Week Ireland, the Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT) at RCSI opened its doors and invited members of the public to experience one of Ireland’s most advanced research centres.

Almost 50 young people from schools all around Dublin attended the fully-booked Lab Safari on Tuesday, 14 November. The event was developed to encourage young people to consider a career in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) by sharing the passion and enthusiasm for research at RCSI.

MCT were particularly keen to motivate young women and girls to attend, to promote the full participation of girls and women in science and encouragingly the ratio of number of females to the number of males was 4:1 amongst attendees on the evening.

The event began with a talk by Professor Tracy Robson, Professor and Head of MCT, on her career journey, followed by an interactive activity by Dr Avril Hutch, Head of RSCI Equality and Diversity Unit, on the value of diversity and awareness of unconscious bias.

 MCT lab safari

Students then had the opportunity to explore the research labs in a safari-style tour which showcased the research that takes place whilst providing unique interactive activities and hands-on demonstrations. The Lab Safari tours involved visiting a series of research stations each focused on an aspect of human health, including drug design and development, human genetics, cancer biology and therapeutics, immunology and human circadian rhythms.

Professor Tracy Robson said: "It is our absolute responsibility as scientists to engage young people in the STEMM subjects. It was wonderful to see young people enjoying the lab experience and we were pleased to receive such positive early feedback from the young students. This is a real testament to the staff and students in MCT who enthusiastically contributed to this event – inspiring our next generation of scientists."

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The event was led by Dr Maria Morgan, Anne Grady, Prof. Tracy Robson, Dr Olga Piskareva and John O'Brien. Guides on the evening included Olwen Foley, Camille Hurley, Mary Ledwith, Seamus McDonald and Shane O'Grady.

Researchers who participated included Remsha Afzal, Stephanie Annett, Katherine Benson, Ciaran Campbell, Dermot Cox, Annie Curtis, Sudipto Das, Conor Duffy, Edmund Gilbert, Claire McCoy, Gillian Moore, John Nolan, Padraig Norton, Caragh Stapleton, Mariana Patricia Cervantes Silva, George Timmons and Cathy Wyse.

RCSI is ranked among the top 250 (top 2%) of universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2018). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide. RCSI is a signatory of the Athena SWAN Charter.