Spotlight to shine on women scientists at Soapbox Science Dublin

30 Jun 2021

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The virtual Soapbox Science Dublin event will feature 12 women scientists speaking on a diverse range of topics from bees to antibiotics.

Soapbox Science Dublin is set to return this Saturday (3 July) with a series of talks given by women scientists.

It is one of more than 40 Soapbox Science events taking place across the world, providing a public outreach platform to promote women scientists and their research.

This year’s Dublin event will take place virtually due to Covid-19 and will be livestreamed from 2pm until 6pm on Facebook and YouTube.

It will feature 12 women scientists telling attendees about their research in areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Speakers include Dr Sarah MacQueen from University College Dublin (UCD) who will deliver a talk entitled, ‘Save the bees…with mathematics?!’

She offered a brief but buzzy snapshot of the talk she plans to give about protecting bees and their contribution to food security.

“I use maths and models in my research to predict how bees behave under different conditions,” MacQueen explained.

“For example, I can model how bees might behave under climate change or if farmers are using different pesticides. This has advantages as we don’t need live bees to work this out and we can try different conditions quickly. Although sometimes my virtual bees can explode depending on the model.”

Dr Amalia Naranjo-Lucena, a researcher with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will deliver a talk entitled, ‘The microbial veterinary Gardaí’. This will focus on antibiotic resistance.

“Bacteria can rapidly adapt to a hostile environment where antibiotics are present and become resistant,” Naranjo-Lucena said. “Given that not many new antibiotics have been discovered in recent years, we must prevent the development of resistance against the drugs that we already have, by using them appropriately.

“I will explain why antibiotics are a very precious tool that we must safeguard and how we are working to keep bacteria from becoming ‘superbugs’.”

The event is supported by UCD and is being organised by Dr Angela Feechan, Dr Dara Stanley, Dr Saoirse Tracy and Dr Anthony Twamley, researchers at the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science.

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Stanley urged the public to tune into the talks this weekend. “Soapbox Science Dublin is great fun so please do join us online and hear about some amazing science being carried out by 12 fantastic female scientists.”

The full list of participating scientists is:

Victoria Elizabeth Mullin, Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

‘From bones to genomes’

Dr Rebecca Whetton, UCD

‘The dirt beneath our feet’

Dr Elena-Alexandra Micu, TCD

‘SmartBridge’

Helena Mylise Sørensen, Dublin City University (DCU)

‘You are what you eat: Engineering the foods of the future’

Reabetswe Zwane, DCU

‘Chocolate for your pain: How the chemistry of painkillers can help you choose the best chocolate’

Elena Aitova, NUI Galway and UCD

‘Re-peat: Rethinking Irish peatlands’

Tammy Strickland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland 

‘Rhythms of life: Day in the life of a human brain’

Dr Sarah MacQueen, UCD

‘Save the bees…with mathematics?!’

Dr Cristina Trujillo, TCD

‘Using computational chemistry to design new, non-toxic ways of obtaining pharmaceutical compounds’

Dr Amalia Naranjo-Lucena, Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine 

‘The microbial veterinary Gardaí’

Dr Gita Singh, UCD

‘Li-ion battery: The untold love story’

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com