Summer Student Placement Scholarship: a chance to hone skills

The chance to find out the difference between undergraduate practical experiments and academic research was one of the most valuable insights from Eoin Barry's Summer Student Placement Scholarship.

Having recently completed a BSc in Molecular Biology with Biopharmaceutical Science, the Society for Applied Microbiology Student Placement Scholarship provided me with a great opportunity to further develop and refine my Microbiology skills. I was involved in two ongoing projects in Waterford Institute of Technology, one related to the development of a probiotic for livestock and the other investigating the microbiological quality of liquid feed and it’s effects on the pig gut microbiota. The studentship gave me a high degree of independence within the laboratory which helped in developing my time management and task prioritisation skills. My day-to-day duties included preparation of growth media and other materials, enumeration of bacteria as part of quality control checks and assisting in the preparation of samples for 16S rRNA gene sequencing. I also attended project meetings. The opportunity to work with postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers was invaluable in helping me to decide the direction in which I wish to take my scientific career. Overall, the 8-week placement has given me a greater appreciation for the level of work and commitment required to undertake academic research and was an excellent opportunity for me to gain insight into the challenges and rewards that come with it. I would like to thank the Society for Applied Microbiology and Prof. Gillian Gardiner (principal investigator) for making the studentship possible and Dr Ruth Rattigan (postdoctoral researcher) and James Cullen (PhD student) for their supervision and guidance within the laboratory.

To find out more about SfAM's Summer Student Placement Scholarship by clicking here.


Eoin Barry

Waterford Institute of Technology