For secondary school I attended Newtown School Waterford (2002-2008) as a boarder scholar. I began my third level education in University College Dublin (UCD) (2008-2013) to study Science which I eventually chose to major in Chemistry with a BSc. I continued in UCD for a PhD in BioNano Interactions (2014-2018).
Omniplex Cinema and Gamestop
Postdoctoral Researcher in Electron Microscopy
I am employed by the University of Limerick but my Supervisor is Prof Ursel Bangert. The most endearing German Microscopist you’ll meet in a long time!
This is my favourite photo of her!
Favourite thing to do in science: Make really tiny crystals and then destroying them!
About Me: 🎮Gamer 🧶Knitter 🏸Badminton-er 🧁Baker 👩🏻🔬Scientist 🔬Microscopist 🥕Vegetarian
I live in Limerick with my boyfriend and two kittens (soon to be cats, they grow up so fast!) Luna and Rocko.
I am an avid gamer, I own all generations of Playstations (only the originals, go away with your slim-line PS3 and PS One) and have been known to fork out on special edition consoles, games, statues, you name it! Together with my bf we have the full collection of Nintendo handheld consoles (he is currently designing and 3D printing stands for them). I am one of those still playing Pokemon Go and if you find the gyms around Limerick are going blue, that’s probably me and I will not relent! The game I am playing at the moment is Borderlands 3 and I am very excited for the PS5 release.
I knit things.. I have picked up the hobby recently and learning as I go, so far I have made covers for my external hard drives for work, a few badly sized headbands and a few badly sized infinity scarves, I’ll get there!
Since NYE 2019 I have become vegetarian. As someone that was told all through my teenage years “once you get older you’ll stop getting spots” (FYI not the truth), I thought it would help my skin, weight control and ultimately the environment.
Fact: my skin got better and when I do have a breakout it doesn’t last long
Fact: unhealthy meat-free foods exist and they are good (not good for weight control)
My Work: I use a 3 metre tall microscope to see atoms, watch molecules dance and grow crystals! I study how pharmaceutical crystals grow from molecules up to crystals that would end up the tablets that we take to cure pain!
The kind of microscope I use is called an electron microscope because it uses really fast electrons to see tiny things even as small as atoms. These are usually called a Transmission Electron Microscope or TEM for short. Below are three kinds of TEMs, the first is the body of the microscope which is usually hidden by the massive box that resembles a fridge like the TEM in University of Limerick (left) and the 4 metre tall TEM in ER-C, Julich, Germany (right); a lab I visit frequently (me for scale..).
The electrons are accelerated at 300,000 V from the source at the top of the microscope to the viewing area at the bottom. Underneath are special cameras that capture the images with 4k resolution and videos of up to 1600 frames per second. With all this technology (and REALLY good computers) we can capture pictures of atoms and videos of crystals growing.
(left) All those ordered bright dots you see are atoms (it’s a little more complicated than that)
(right) a zoomed in area of the atoms
Images like this give us information about the material on the bulk scale. If the atomic arrangement isn’t right it will affect how the material works in devices. For example in our phones and computers, the technology has gotten physically smaller allowing us to have more powerful phones/computers in a smaller device. To make sure they work well when they are made so small, the materials used would be looked at under a microscope like this to find the best material and atomic arrangement.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, Objective, Ambitious
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Lady Gaga some days, Skrillez on other days
What's your favourite food?
Cheese and anything cheesy especially cheesy chips and any Indian dish that has Paneer 🤤
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Last summer (2019) my boyfriend and I did a road trip the length of California and over to Las Vegas also!
What did you want to be after you left school?
A rich scientist (FYI only half happened)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Yes but we don't need to talk about it 😅
What was your favourite subject at school?
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I've seen atoms!
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
Stubbornness and Mr Ronan who showed amazing applications of science in transition year when we weren't under exam pressure
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Some sort of motorsport racer or an engineer
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish I could eat all kinds of cheese all the time forever. I wish to own an electric car in the near future. I wish I could have a can of Coke Cola right now..
Tell us a joke.
Did you hear the one about the constipated Mathematician? He had to work it out with a pencil 😂🤢