It's all in the genes for winning students
The use of barnacle genes as the basis for a surgical glue and the deletion of human genes that increase the risk of Huntington's Disease - these were the two winning ideas at the annual €5,000 Irish Independent/Higher Education Authority (HEA) Making an Impact student research competition.
Coincidentally, the honours were shared by two PhD students at NUI Galway - Joanne Duffy and Eoin Murphy - each of whom received €2,500. Both are in the College of Science, but involved in different research.
The aim of the competition, which was held in The Helix, Dublin City University, is to encourage the effective communication of research to a lay audience.
One winner was selected by a panel comprising Katherine Donnelly, education editor, Irish Independent; Dr Graham Love, chief executive of the HEA; and Tony Donohoe, head of education and social policy at Ibec. The second winner was selected by an audience of second-level pupils.
Ms Duffy, an Irish Research Council scholar, is investigating the genetic engineering of the sticky qualities of barnacles for medical use. Mr Murphy's research is concerned with ways to use genetic editing to tackle the relatively high incidence of Huntington's Disease in Ireland.