Claire O’Connell

Hello there! My name is Claire O’Connell, I’m a 26-year-old biophysicist originally from Meath in Ireland. I will be driving the Science Bus together with Stephen for the month of July during which we will head towards the United Kingdom.

I graduated from my B.Sc (Hons) in Physics with Biomedical Sciences from Dublin City University in 2013 and I have just recently submitted my PhD in fluorescent nanoparticle tagging of cancer cells, which I will have to defend in the near future! My research feeds into the NCSR (National Centre for Sensor Research) in Dublin City University, and involves trying to detect rare cancer cells that end up in your blood stream that shouldn’t be there. These cells are difficult to find, practically like a needle in a haystack, but my research shows that using fluorescent particles that contain lots of dye, that emits light, can be used to detect these cancer cells better than current standards. The work is very interdisciplinary and involves lots of microscopy and cell culture alongside particle characterisation. If you’d like to know any more about it feel free to ask me!

When not in the lab I like to run with my friends and recently I have really enjoyed learning how to freedive, which is a great way to explore the sea without an oxygen tank. Also at the weekends I spend time taking part in Physics Busking which is an initiative in Ireland that explains science concepts to the public using everyday objects. It’s all about sharing the knowledge with the public but I particularly love explaining science to adults and parents and getting them involved, as they usually think they’re past all that!

I love travelling and meeting new people so when I heard about the Science Bus, which combines travelling and citizen science, I was super excited to get involved with it. I’m looking forward to meeting you all on the road with my co-captain Stephen, who I’ve known since my undergraduate degree and I know that we will all have a lot of fun while learning science together.

See you on the road!

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