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School of Chemical Sciences

School of Chemical Sciences

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DCU student recieves first prize for oral presentation at the RSC Annual Photochemistry and Photochemical Techniques Meeting

At the annual Royal Society of Chemistry Photochemistry and Photochemical Techniques meeting, held at UCD-Trinity College May 16 th-19 th 2011, Ms Oksana Shvydkiv was awarded first prize for her oral presentation entitled Microphotochemistry – Photochemistry in Microstructured and Continuous Flow Devices.

Oksana Shvydkiv is a postgraduate student in the School of Chemical Sciences at DCU and is a member of the µ-Photochemistry Cluster - an EPA STRIVE funded cluster that is centered at DCU with partners in Australia (James Cook University) and Germany (Leibnitz Institute at Rostock).

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Crystal Growing Competition 2011

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Education Division ( Ireland region) in conjunction with the School of Chemical Sciences at DCU, invited secondary level school students to participate in a Crystal Growing competition, to coincide with this ‘International Year of Chemistry 2011’.

Category I, 1st place award winner - Hunterhouse College, Belfast
Enlarge More photos

Over 900 Schools across Ireland received details of the competition, and DCU School of Chem Sciences were delighted with the response, resulting in 260 Competition packs posted to Schools. There were two caterories in the competition: Category I (1 st/ 2 nd Year Students) and Category II ( 4 th/ 5 th year students).

Following over 120 Crystals submitted, the following winners were invited to attend an awards cermony at DCU on May 20th.

Thanks to all the Schools that participated and we are pleased to announce the following results:

  • Category I (1 st /2 nd Year Students):

1 st Place Hunterhouse College, Belfast
Ms Elaine Hessin, Jessica Reid, Ellen McConnell, Megan Adams

2 nd Place Scoil Chonglais (Baltinglass), Co. Wicklow
Ms Orla Bergin, Kevin Lord, Sean Germaine

3 rd Place St. Benedicts College, Randalstown, Co. Antrim
Mr. Paul O’ Neill, Hannah Kelly, Emma Letters

Highly Commended :

St. Mac Dara’s Community College (Templeogue), Dublin 6W
Ms Joanna Gray (Ms Doyle), Muireann Walsh, Eimer MacCourt

Christian Brothers Grammar School, Omagh, Co. Tyrone.
Mr. James Campbell, Peter McBride

Ramsgrange Community School (New Ross), Co. Wexford
Ms Rose McCarthy, Fiona Rowe, Katie Rafferty, Graham Doyle, Aoife O’ Hara

  • Category II ( 4 th / 5th Year Students):

Category II, 1st place award winner - Colaiste Eanna, Dublin Enlarge More photos

1 st Place Colaiste Eanna (Ballyroan), Dublin
Ms Anne McHugh; Hugh Breslin; Tiarnan Murphy

2 nd Place Holy Faith Secondary School (Clontarf), Dublin
Ms Siobhan O’ Keeffe; Aine Tubridy; Eve Rogers

3 rd Place Our Lady’s Grammar School (Newry), Co. Down
Ms Grainne Gillespie; Niamh Hurley; Megan Owens

Highly commended

St. Clares Comprehensive (Manorhamilton), Co. Letrim
Mr Graham Hewston; Joanne Feeney; Yuliya Urzhumova; Stephen Corrigan.

St. Benedicts College, Co. Antrim
Mr. Paul O’ Neill ; Gary McCarron

Hamilton High School ( Brandon) Co. Cork
Mr. John O’ Sullivan; Donncdha O’ Carroll, Eoin Shiels, Ronan Sheehan, Eamon O'Donovan


With thanks to Sponsors: RSC ( Education division; Irl region); DCU School of Chem. Sciences; Faculty of Science and Health; Sigma-Aldrich Company.

Further information, contact:
Dr. Pat O’ Malley,
School of Chemical Sciences, DCU.

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DCU to lead a €3.4m EU research contract to improve science teaching in the classroom

DCU is to lead a €3.4m EU Seventh Framework Programme-funded project to bring about a change in the way science is taught in the classroom. The long-term aim is to generate a greater interest in science subjects at school, improve the take-up of science at third level and also increase the number of skilled graduates for employment in science and technology.

A team of researchers from DCU's Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Teaching and Learning (CASTeL), Dr Eilish McLoughlin, Dr. Odilla Finlayson, Dr. Tom McLoughlin and Dr. Sarah Brady will coordinate the project ESTABLISH - European Science and Technology in Action Building Links with Industry, Schools and Home.

Dr. Eilish McLoughlin has been appointed Principal Investigator of this exciting initiative. "It is in the interests of the EU economy to encourage and stimulate an interest in science, which has fallen off in recent times. We need to establish a new way of thinking about how science is learned and bring all the stakeholders together to implement and support this approach in the classroom” she said.

“A proven mechanism to achieve increased children’s interest and achievements in science is to change to an inquiry-based approach. This requires a mind-set change on the part of the teacher away from a deductive approach, where the teacher often presents the concepts and information, including results of experiments even before the student carries them out, to a more inductive approach where the teacher creates the atmosphere to allow for student observation, experimentation and planning, and through teacher guidance, students can construct their own knowledge.”

ESTABLISH will have a large impact across Europe with partners from the Netherlands, Cyprus, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Malta, Slovakia, Germany, Estonia and Italy collaborating with CASTeL and Irish partners AG Education Services based in Dun Laoghaire, to bring about a change in the way science is taught in the classroom. The project consortium consists of over 60 partners from across these countries and involves science education researchers, scientists, teacher educators, teachers, students, parents, SMEs and Industry. It will support teachers and encourage students to enjoy science by stimulating their interest and encouraging participation in the classroom.

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Commercialisation of research - business opportunities in emerging companies

Dr. Yavorskyy discusses his project with Minister Lenihan

The Business Opportunities in Emerging Companies event was hosted by Industrial Technology Commercialisation Operations department, Enterprise Ireland. It offered individuals and companies an opportunity to learn about potential investment prospects in early stage spin-out companies emerging from the Irish Third-Level research institutions.

At the event Dr Alexander Yavorskyy, postdoctoral researche and Bioanalytical Chemistry and diagnistics Group, School of Chemical Sciences presented his project “ Diagnosing Osteoarthitis with a quick and simple test”. Presentations followed by informal networking around exhibition stands, where the promoters provided more detail through presentations, demonstrations and answered questions. The Irish minister of Integration, Mr. Conor Lenihan T.D. visited this event and showed great interest in presented projects.

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Space Science at DCU

Space travel on the ground: Deirdre Fox on the Kennedy Space Centre 'zero-gravity' flight simulator

Deirdre Fox has joined Nasa to work on ways to counter motion sickness in astronauts. Originally from Ballylanders, Co Limerick, she is based at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

She and principal investigator Dr Daniel Woodard are involved in a project called “The Evaluation of Counter-Measures for Motion Sickness”.

She completed a BSc in analytical chemistry with quality assurance in Cork Institute of Technology, before being awarded a 2007 IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology) scholarship for her PhD at Dublin City University.

“Working on developing novel analytical methods within the bioanalytical, chemistry and diagnostics group in DCU, under Dr Gillian Mahon, school of chemical sciences, has given me great opportunities,” says Fox.

Irish Times Full article

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Eurachem Analytical Measurement Competition

(L-R) Christina Doherty, Alan Coughlan, Niamh Carroll, Bryan Doonan, Dr. P. O’ Malley More photos

Congratulations to our two second year Science Students Bryan Doonan (AC II) and Niamh Carroll (AC II) who represented DCU School of Chem. Sciences and were placed joint Runners-up at the recent Eurachem Analytical Measurement Competition (EAMC).

The EAMC is an annual competition for third level Science Students, designed to raise awareness for accuracy in measurement and analytical skills.

Well done also to Christina Doherty (AC II) and Alan Coughlan (AC II) representing DCU as the second team in the competition, which was hosted by Tallaght I.T, where 17 teams in total, participitated.

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Crystal Growing Competition. Winners Announced.

Awards ceremony

The School of Chemical Sciences in conjunction with the Royal Society of Chemistry Education Division (Ireland region) invited secondary school students to participate in a Crystal Growing competition. Materials were made available to secondary school teachers at events such as the DCU Science & Open days, with over 25 Schools receiving a competition pack. Students were invited to submit their entries to the School of Chemical Sciences, DCU.

Thanks to all the Schools that participated and we are pleased to announce the following winners:

Crystals growing awards - 1st (middle), 2nd (left) and 3rd (right) Enlarge More photos

1st Place: Marion College, Landsdowne Rd., Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
2nd Place: St. Conleth's Vocational School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.
3rd Place: Gaelcholaiste na Mara, Pairc na bPiarsach, An t-Inbhear Mor, Co. Cill Mhantain.
Runner-up: Ratoath College, Jamestown, Ratoath, Co. Meath.

If you’re interested in participating in a similar competition next year, please contact Dr. Pat O’Malley, School of Chemical Sciences
Tel: 01 700 5312, E.mail:

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Congratulations – leaving and achieving!

Blanaid White, Leon Barron and Aoife Morrin

Congratulations and farewell to Dr. Leon Barron, who leaves DCU to take up his new position as an analytical and forensic science lecturer in King’s College, London. Leon is a graduate of the School’s Analytical Science degree, and has been a post-graduate student, followed by EPA research fellow and part-time lecturer within the School for the past 10 years. We wish him all the best in his new position and hope he will be a frequent visitor back to DCU in the future.

Congratulations also to Dr. Blanaid White, Dr. Aoife Morrin and Dr. Sonia Ramirez who all have been awarded for the President's Awards for Excellence in Teaching under the ‘New Lecturers’ category. All three lecturers have been doing an outstanding job within the School for the past 12 months and this award is testament to their abilities and commitment.

Read more

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Congratulations to the Science Education soccer team!

The Postgraduate Affairs Committee (PGAC) recently hosted a fun five-a-side soccer tournament, in which all members of the chemistry department were invited to participate. There was a huge turnout with 15 teams taking part in the competition and many supporters present cheering on their classmates! Every section within the chemistry department was represented, whether on the field, refereeing or spectating. We would like to congratulate the 2 nd year Science

Education team who won the tournament in a dramatic penalty shoot out!

Thanks to everyone who attended and helped on the day as you made it a hugely enjoyable evening!

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DCU wins two SFI Strategic Cluster awards

Pictured were Miles Turner of DCU, Padraig Cunningham of UCD, Brett Paull of DCU, Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Dr. Jimmy Devins T.D, William Donnelly of WIT and Prof Lokesh Joshi of NUIG.

The Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD, today announced the establishment of five new Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Clusters, representing a €23.9m investment in ground-breaking, collaborative research activities involving seven academic institutions and 22 companies.

Of these five new Research Clusters, two Lead Principal Investigators are based in Dublin City University.

Prof Miles Turner of DCU’s School of Physical Sciences will lead the Precision Research Cluster (€4.3m) and Professor Brett Paul of the School of Chemical Sciences will lead the Irish Separation Science Cluster (€4.9m)

Read more

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DCU Leaving Certificate Experiments

Postgrads demonstrate Leaving cert experiments to students from Oaklands College, Mount Merrion, with their teacher

Each year the School of Chemical Sciences offers Schools the opportunity to carry out a variety of experiments on the Leaving Certificate syllabus within our modern Laboratories. Here teachers with their visiting students participate in a number of important experiments with assistance and supervision by DCU postgraduates.

There is always positive feedback as this can be an ideal form of revision for 6th year students, while also briefly sampling life on campus.

This year, 24 Schools from across the country availed of these labs, which are conducted as a two hour session, each morning (10am-12) and afternoon (1pm-3pm), which ran from Jan 15th to Jan 21st 2009.

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BT Young Scientist of the year exhibition 2009

DCU postgrads demonstrate 'The world of Science' at the RDS

The ‘BT Young Scientist of the year exhibition’2009 ran from Wed Jan 8th – 12th 2009 at the RDS. The School of Chemical Sciences had an active role on Friday January 9th when staff and postgraduates engaged with the hundreds of primary level and secondary level students who attended this event. DCU was one of the Irish universities promoting science at the exhibition. The students enjoyed building molecules from water to paracetamol and having their photo as a memento! Students also enjoyed the ‘test your strength’ demonstration.

Staff and postgraduates from the Microfluidic Analysis group (micro-FANs) also shared in the activities to promote science including fluorescence experiments, Light Emitting Diodes, optical fibres and microfluidic chips.

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DCU Open day

This annual event allows students from all over the country to visit the DCU Campus and again students were welcomed to the School of Chemical Sciences where they observed and engaged with many demonstrations within the School, on Friday Nov 21st and Saturday Nov 22nd 2008.

Postgrads and staff demonstrate ongoing research within the School of Chemical Sciences

While students participated in these activities, visiting teachers were offered the opportunity to enter their students into a Crystal Growing Competition hosted by DCU and funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry, with entry packs available on the day.

Presentations were delivered each day by academic staff within the School. Here students, teachers and parents learned about the many and varied courses within the School of Chemical Sciences.

This was a very successful event with over 350 students visiting the School during Friday and Saturday.

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Science Day at DCU

Visiting students build their molecules

The School of Chemical Sciences participated in a very successful Science Day recently. As part of Science Week there were many events across the country (November 9-16 2008) and one of the highlights for DCU is hosting Science Day (Tues Nov 12th 2008). Here second level students from local schools and across the country were invited to visit the School of Chemical Sciences amongst other Schools on campus.

This year the School of Chemical Sciences arranged a number of interesting and diverse demonstrations with postgraduates and staff eager to demonstrate some of the ongoing research and its practical application.

The hydrogen-fuel cell cars in action

The use of solar energy to effect chemical reactions, for example, was one such demonstration. The 2nd level students also got to see remote controlled hydrogen-fuel cell cars in action.

The students obtained hands-on experience of building molecular models as they readily engaged in building such everyday analgesics as Paracetamol and Aspirin. They were able to appreciate the 3-D nature of molecules and observed how slight changes to the structure could produce a totally different functional molecule. This was very popular as the students were able to take home a photo of ‘Me and my Molecule’ afterwards!

Chemistry postgrads demonstrate 'building molecules' to visiting students

Other demonstrations included the use of a UV spectrophotometer to measure calcium levels and the research application illustrated how such measurements on synovial fluid may be indicative of arthritis. Thus the students could witness the ready application of science within the medical world.

Students were also invited into the labs where our 3rd year Science Education students organised and demonstrated some very interesting experiments such as ‘magic match’, ‘flaming money’ and microscale combustion of octane.

Over 300 second level students passed through the School of Chemical Sciences on Science Day, with a very positive feedback from both students and their teachers.

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