Issue 4
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School Newsletter

Issue 4 | May 2018


Welcome to the latest issue of our School of Chemistry newsletter. The publication focuses on school news, events, highlights recent achievements from staff and students and also includes some special features.


Issue Highlights

- Athena Swan Bronze Award

- RSC Higher Education Technical Excellence Award

- National Workplace Wellbeing Award

- Postgraduate Spring Conferrings

- Annual John Tobin Chemistry Quiz

- SEFS Quercus Student Scholars

- 2017 Undergraduate Awards

- Where Are They Now?

- The Chemistry of Snow


School of Chemistry Athena SWAN Bronze Award

The School of Chemistry is pleased to announce that it has been accredited with an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in the latest round of applications. Chemistry, along with the Schools of Pharmacy and BEES, are the first recipients of the Departmental award in UCC, following the University’s institutional award in 2016.

The Athena SWAN Charter is the internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ for gender equality. Administered by the U.K.’s Equality Challenge Unit, accreditation indicates that an institution has demonstrated commitment to advancing gender equality across all academic disciplines. Accreditation is made at bronze, silver and gold levels.

The HEA negotiated the extension of the Athena SWAN Charter to Ireland in 2014 and in December 2016, Ireland’s research funding agencies announced that higher education institutions will be required to have attained a bronze institutional Athena SWAN award by the end of 2019 in order to be eligible for research funding.

The School of Chemistry’s Athena SWAN self-assessment team, chaired by Prof. John Wenger, spent almost one year collecting and analysing data in order to devise an Action Plan, which will now be implemented over the next 3 years. The analysis showed that while Chemistry has a very good gender balance at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, there is a notable fall off in female representation at the postdoctoral researcher stage. Key actions have been devised to address this point in the academic career pipeline

Responding to the announcement, Prof. John Wenger, Chair of the Athena SWAN Committee, commented: ‘This is great news and a fantastic achievement for the School of Chemistry. I look forward to working with all staff and students in the School as we implement our Action Plan for change.’

Download | University College Cork School of Chemistry Athena Swan Bronze Award Application

Further information on Athena SWAN in UCC

Further information on Athena SWAN in the School of Chemistry

2018 RSC Higher Education Technical Excellence Award

Dr. Trevor Carey, Senior Technical Officer in the School of Chemistry, is the 2018 recipient of the Royal Society of Chemistry Higher Education Technical Excellence Award.

Selected by the  Awards Committee of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Education Division, this annual prize is given to an individual or team who has demonstrated outstanding competence and technical support within the Higher Education sector. Trevor won this award for excellence in the support and continued development of undergraduate physical chemistry teaching practicals and for contributions to chemistry outreach and promotional activities in Ireland. The annual Royal Society of Chemistry awards ceremony will take place in London this summer.

The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018 Prizes and Awards Programme celebrates the outstanding work happening in every corner of the scientific community. The annual prizes and awards recognise achievements by individuals, teams and organisations in advancing the chemical sciences. The awards also acknowledge the importance of teamwork across the chemical sciences, and the abilities of individuals to develop successful collaborations.

RSC Education & Schools Prize Winners 2018
Education Award - Dr. Andrew Dicks, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, Canada.
Higher Education Teaching Award - Dr. Dylan Williams, Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, UK.
Higher Education Technical Excellence Award - Dr. Trevor Carey, School of Chemistry, University College Cork, Ireland.
Schools Education Award - Mrs. Naomi Hannah, Northampton School for Boys, UK.
Inspiration and Industry Award - Project M, Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK.
Lord Lewis Prize - Prof. Luis Oro - University of Zaragoza, Spain.

Full List of 2018 RSC Prize and Award Winners

2017/18 Examination Results

Students in all years of all chemistry degree courses will receive their summer examination results after 4pm on Monday June 11th.

Viewing of 2017/18 Examination Scripts

The viewing of examination scripts will take place in the School of Chemistry, Second Floor, Lab 209, on Friday June 15th, 10.00am – 12.00pm and 2.00pm – 4.00pm.

The deadline to apply to view 2017/18 examination scripts is 5pm on Wednesday June 13th. The signed and completed application form can be returned to the School of Chemistry Office (Kane Building, 2nd Floor) by hand, post or email (

Viewing of Scripts Application Form 2018 - PDF File

Viewing of Scripts Application Form 2018 - Word File

National Workplace Wellbeing Day

The School of Chemistry have been awarded first place in the University National Workplace Wellbeing Day 'Over to You' competition. The School marked the day with a number of initiatives such as a Healthy Recipes OneDrive folder, a Gratitude Wall and a Loving Kindness Art Class session. Led by Kasia Pyrz, the School of Chemistry were selected as winners by the UCC Staff Wellbeing Office, with the International Office and the APC Microbiome Institute awarded the runners-up prize.

Both the winning team and runners-up were rewarded for their great efforts with fruit bouquets. In addition, all staff at the School of Chemistry will be treated to a breakfast in BoBo Cafe, Glucksman Gallery.

New Professor in Chemical Energy

Congratulations to Colm O'Dwyer on his recent promotion to the position of Professor in Chemical Energy. Colm, who began working in the School of Chemistry in 2012, leads the Applied Nanoscience Group, conducting research on the growth and device-inspired investigations of metal oxides and semiconductors for electronics and photonics, charge storage, semiconductor electrochemistry, inorganic photonic crystals, Li-ion and Li-air batteries, and on semiconducting and metallic nanocrystals, porous III-N and III-V semiconductors, hybrid materials, thin films, nanoscale thermoelectrics, and optical materials.

Taught M.Sc. courses in Analytical Chemistry Professionally Accredited

University College Cork have become the first University in Ireland to have their taught M.Sc. courses in Analytical Chemistry professionally accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. At a recent meeting in April, the Royal Society of Chemistry Committee for Accreditation and Validation agreed to accredit:

M.Sc. in Analytical Chemistry
M.Sc. in Environmental Analytical Chemistry
M.Sc. in Analysis of Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

This is a significant achievement by the School of Chemistry as these M.Sc. courses fully satisfy the academic requirements for the award of CChem by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The committee wished to commend the employability skills and links to industry input for these programmes. These factors clearly meet the needs for future employers. The committee also endorsed the design of practical sessions to cover trouble shooting as innovative and to be commended. 

Teaching & Learning Graduates

Recently, a number of staff from across the school graduated with Postgraduate Certificates in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. Congratulations to:

Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist (Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry)
Dr. Anna Hogan (Technical Officer in Analytical Chemistry)
Dr. Declan Gavin (Postdoctoral Researcher)

UCC Step Challenge

Congratulations to the School of Chemistry team, who came 3rd place in the UCC Step Challenge for 2018. The challenge consists of each team member wearing a step counter every day and keeping a record of their steps daily for the 4 weeks of the challenge. The School of Chemistry team is made up of four members:

Dr. Dave Otway (Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry)
Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist (Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry)
Dr. Anna Hogan (Technical Officer in Analytical Chemistry)
Ms. Phyllis Hayes (Postgraduate Student in Analytical Chemistry)

UCC Works Award For Postdoctoral Researcher

Congratulations to postdoctoral researcher Dr. Uday Khandavilli who received the 'Highly Commended Recognising Outstanding Talent Award' at the UCC Works Awards Ceremony on March 22nd. The award to Uday is based on his outstanding volunteer work for a number of years in UCC, in the areas of student volunteering and community engagement.

Uday recently graduated with a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry and is now a postdoctoral researcher in the ABCRF Group.

School of Chemistry Christmas Coffee Morning

The 18th Annual School of Chemistry Christmas Coffee Morning in aid of the Marymount Hospice took place on Thursday 7th December in the Aula Maxima. We are delighted  to announce that the event raised €3,524.05. We would like to thank everyone who participated in making this annual event such a success.

Green Ribbon Campaign

The School of Chemistry will host a coffee morning on Friday June 1st in Kane G20, as part of the nationwide See Change “Green Ribbon” campaign. The Green Ribbon is worn to encourage people to talk openly about mental health. This campaign particularly aims to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health issues in Ireland. On June 1st, we invite everyone in the School of Chemistry to promote mental health awareness in our workplace by wearing something green and join us in Kane G20 between 10am-12pm. Baking contributions are very much appreciated and can be dropped to Kane G20 on the morning of Friday June 1st.

Research News

Nokia Bell Labs Prize - 2nd Place to Prof. Colm O'Dwyer

The illustrious Bell Labs Prize was awarded to Kaushik Sengupta, Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, for his invention of a radical new transceiver chip technology that could power a truly universal software-defined reconfigurable radio. The fourth annual prize winner was announced on Friday, 8 December, in Murray Hill, NJ, at the global headquarters of Nokia Bell Labs, after an exciting round of presentations given by extraordinary researchers across an extensive range of technologies.  The 2017 winners demonstrated breakthroughs in advanced radio technology, flexible organic senor electronics, and new wearable power sources. All winning proposals provided an impact on “creating time” for humankind.

Sengupta was joined on the podium by two other leading researcher teams. The second prize was a tie and was awarded to Tse Nga (Tina) Ng, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California at San Diego, and Jason Azoulay, Assistant Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Southern Mississippi for their invention of new photosensitive polymer materials that can be used for health and medical monitoring through-the-skin with wearable, thin, flexible devices. Also in second place is Colm O’Dwyer, Physical Chemistry Lecturer at University College Cork, Ireland for his invention of a new class of 3D-printed batteries that could be incorporated into virtually any form factor.

This year’s winners were hand-picked from among nine finalists, who were in turn drawn from a total of over 350 proposals from 35 countries. The prize winners demonstrated game-changing ideas in science, technology, engineering or mathematics with the potential to solve broader societal challenges humans face within the next ten years. In addition to their cash prizes, the winners will also be given the opportunity to collaborate with the world-renowned researchers at Nokia Bell Labs on the further development of their ideas.

The nine finalists presented their ideas to a group of industry luminaries in the final judging event.

World’s First Portable CE System for On-site Chemical Analysis and Deployment at CBRN Incidents

A new portable Capillary Electrophoresis (CE) system developed at Tyndall has been successfully deployed at the Generic Integrated Forensic Toolbox (GIFT) project’s chemical exercise in Vilvoorde, Brussels, Belgium, where the on-site detection of an organophosphate (nerve agent) simulant was achieved. Developed by Dr Eric Moore’s team, the new system is capable of mobile and on-site deployment so that the detection of hazardous chemicals at chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) incidents is no longer dependant on solely testing in a laboratory setting.

The system consists of custom made housing with components either manufactured at Tyndall through the use of 3D printing technology and/or integrated with commercially available devices. The miniaturisation and portability of the CE system are the major advantages of the technology where the forensic team is now able to bring a powerful laboratory technique to the crime/incident scene.

For the GIFT project the team focused on the detection of nerve agents as proof of concept chemical targets. This is the first time that a portable CE system has been available to do chemical analysis in the field and it enables scientists to perform real time testing and analysis – this is a key focus of the GIFT consortium and for the forensic toolbox in general.

The team’s vision is to develop a library of chemical data using the CE system so that the data sent to the toolbox during on-site testing can be compared with the library data in the knowledge base, a match made and the appropriate actions (Risk Assessment, MSDS, SOPs etc.) can be implemented by the command team.

This innovative technology in conjunction with the GIFT toolbox has the potential to significantly impact on the practice of forensic investigation at CBRN incidents and introduce a rapid on-site chemical detection capability that traditionally has been laboratory based.

Memorial Seminar - Prof M.A. McKervey

On Friday 5th January 2018, a Memorial Seminar in Organic Chemistry was held in UCC in honour of Prof. MA McKervey, who passed away unexpectedly in June 2017.

Prof. Tony McKervey studied at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), obtaining his Ph.D. in 1964, undertook postdoctoral research at and led a very successful academic career at QUB (1966 - 1976) UCC (1976 - 1990) then returned to QUB in 1990. Having established QUCHEM Ltd, which was acquired by Almac, he moved to a role in industry in 1998. Tony’s research resulted in 234 publications with particular impact in organic synthesis, a-diazocarbonyl chemistry and calixarenes.

Speakers at the event included Prof. Mike Doyle, University of Texas at San Antonio, Prof. Derek Boyd, Queen’s University of Belfast, Prof. Anita Maguire, University College Cork, Dr. Stephen Barr and Dr. Hugues Miel, Almac Sciences, reflecting Tony’s career in research in both academic and industrial environments, and his legacy in terms of research outputs and the many researchers from his team. The event, which was attended by over 80 people including former Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, colleagues, friends and family members, was sponsored by Almac Group.

Research Visit to the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland.

Dr. David McNulty, a postdoctoral researcher in the Applied Nanoscience Group, visited the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Switzerland in January 2018 to collaborate with the Electrochemical Energy Storage group. This research visit was funded by the Royal Irish Academy (RIA) under the Charlemont Grants Scheme. The RIA Charlemont award is a high-impact travel grants scheme aimed at early-career postdoctoral researchers which facilitates short international visits for the conduct of primary research. The aim of the collaboration was to monitor crystallographic changes of lithium ion battery electrode materials in real time during charging and discharging processes. The in-situ XRD set-up, available at PSI, allowed an unprecedented level of understanding of the changes in crystal structure which occur at various stages of battery operation. During the visit, David worked closely with many members of the Electrochemical Energy Storage group including Dr. Sigita Trabesinger, Dr. Claire Villevieille and Dr. Cyril Marino. This funding enabled David to be the Principle Investigator for this project and to strengthen his network of international collaborators.

Undergraduate Student Focus

SEFS Quercus Scholars

On Friday March 9th, four of our undergraduate students were honoured as SEFS Quercus scholars, based on their academic results in 2016/17. Congratulations to all students:

Hannah Shalloo (B.Sc. Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds 2)
Gerard Collins (B.Sc. Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds 3)
Amy Lowry (B.Sc. Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds 4)
Anne Gayer (B.Sc. Chemistry 4)

CFS4 Visit To The Netherlands Forensic Institute

Final year undergraduate students in Chemistry with Forensics (CFS) recently paid a visit to The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in The Hague. Accompanied by Dr. Eric Moore, Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist and Mr. John Meehan, this was the first time a group of students from UCC visited the NFI. The visit included talks on careers in Forensics, insights into Forensic Toxicology and a detailed tour and explanation on latent fingerprints.

A special thank you to Ed van Zalen in NFI for facilitating this tour and giving our students a high level overview of the NFI. 

Undergraduate Poster Session 2018

Well done to all 3rd year and 4th year students that presented their posters at the undergraduate poster session in the Aula Maxima on March 29th. Full details on the winners from the event, sponsored by Eli Lilly, are as follows:

3rd Year SCILs module
1st Place | Ciara Keane & Lorenzo Niemitz

4th Year B.Sc. Chemistry
1st Place | Leonie O'Sullivan
2nd Place | Aisling Foley

4th Year B.Sc. Chemisty of Pharmaceutical Compounds
1st Place | Caoimhe Broderick
2nd Place | Amy Lowry

4th Year B.Sc. Chemistry with Forensics
1st Place | Aaron Kang
2nd Place | Ciara Gildea

The 2018 AbbVie Student Prize

The third award of the AbbVie Student Prize for Excellence in Third Year Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry was made on Wednesday April 11, 2018. The prize was won by Gerard Collins, who is in the third year of the B.Sc. Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds degree. The prize, including a medal and voucher, was presented to Gerard by Dr. Mary Ellen Crowley of AbbVie at a ceremony attended by third year B.Sc. Chemistry, B.Sc. Chemistry with Forensic Science and B.Sc. Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds students. Also present were Prof. John Wenger, Deputy Head of the School Chemistry and Dr. Humphrey Moynihan, Acting Head of Organic Chemistry.

AbbVie is a global biopharmaceutical company, founded in 2013, focused on addressing some of the world's greatest health challenges by bringing leading-edge therapies to the market. AbbVie has a diverse product portfolio including several market-leading medicines. The company has twelve manufacturing sites and six research and development sites globally, including the AbbVie Cork site at Anngrove, Carrigtwohill, which is a 11,800 square metre facility operated by approximately 150 employees manufacturing anti-viral, cholesterol-lowering and other medicines. AbbVie has formed strategic links with several Irish third level institutions, particularly through its participation in the SFI Synthesis and Solid-state Pharmaceutical Centre (SSPC).

Through its SSPC and other links, AbbVie supports a range of awards, internships and outreach activities in critical STEM disciplines. Recognising Chemistry as one of the vital sciences underpinning the manufacturing and formulation of pharmaceuticals and medicines, AbbVie and the School of Chemistry UCC established the AbbVie Student Prize for Excellence in Third Year Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry to support students at a critical stage of their undergraduate careers. The prize further enhances AbbVie's links with UCC in pharmaceutical sciences and complements UCC's commitment to the SSPC, in which both many UCC School of Chemistry staff are participants.

Annual Undergraduate Awards

Annual undergraduate prizes in Chemistry were recently awarded to a number of students. The ceremony took place in the Aula Maxima. Thanks to Eli Lilly and Oxford University Press for their continued support with these awards. Full details on this year's winners are as follows:

Eli Lilly Chemistry Prize
Recipient: Hannah Shalloo

The Eli Lilly Chemistry Prize is awarded annually to the student who has obtained the highest mark in Chemistry and passed the Summer First University Examination in Science in 2016/17, at the first attempt, and who subsequently registers for an honours degree in Chemistry at UCC.

History of Eli Lilly Chemistry Prize Recipients (1991-2017)

Oxford University Press Book Prize
Recipient: Anne Gayer

The OUP award is presented to the student with the highest marks from 3rd Year Chemistry in the 2016/17 academic year.

History of OUP Book Prize Recipients (2014-2017)

Reilly Chemistry Prize
Recipient: Aobha Hickey

The Reilly Chemistry Prize is awarded to the candidate who has obtained first place in the fouth year B.Sc. (Hons) degree examination in 2016/17 and has obtained first class honours. The prize is named in the memory of the late Professor J. Reilly, who was professor of Chemistry and Head of the Chemistry Department in UCC for the period 1924-1959.

History of Reilly Chemistry Prize Recipients (1990-2017)

George Guilbault Medal
Recipient: Aobha Hickey

The George Guilbault medal is awarded to the student who has achieved the highest aggregate performance in 4th year Analytical Chemistry. The prize is named in the memory of the late Professor George G. Guilbault, who was the 1st Chair Professor of Analytical Chemistry at University College Cork.

History of George Guilbault Medal Recipients (2016-2017)

SEFS Summer Research Bursaries

Congratulations to 3rd year B.Sc. Chemistry students Hayley Furnell and Eimear Courtney, recipients of 2018 SEFS Summer Research Bursaries.

Details on their chosen projects and supervisors are as follows:

Recipient: Hayley Furnell
Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist
Project: Determination of trace toxic ionic species in drinking water using ion chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Recipient: Eimear Courtney
Supervisor: Dr. Ger McGlacken
Project: Interrupting bacteria communication systems as a strategy to avoid the evolution of bacteria resistance

Postgraduate Student Focus

Postgraduate Symposium 2018

A large number of postgraduate students in the School of Chemistry recently made presentations of their work as part of their structured Ph.D. module in 'Teaching and Demonstrating Skills for Chemistry Postgraduate Students'. The students presented unique challenges they have identified in their demonstrating of undergraduate practicals with topics ranging from the use of scientific language to unit boxes, colour cards, pencils Vs pens and the use of GLP marks.

Spring Conferrings 2018

Congratulations to a number of postgraduate students on their recent Ph.D. graduation.

Dr. Tim Collins
Supervisor: Prof. Michael Morris
Thesis Title: Block Copolymer self-assembly: Ordered film formation and defect analysis.

Dr. Lisa Helen
Supervisor: Dr. Eric Moore
Thesis Title: Development of a smart needle integrated with an impedance sensor to determine needle to nerve proximity for nerve blocking (anaesthetic) procedures.

Dr. Uday Khandavilli
Supervisor: Dr. Simon Lawrence
Thesis Title: Pharmaceutical solids and exploring chiral resolution using cocrystallisation.

View Photos

Congratulations also go to a large number of students who graduated with a Taught M.Sc. degree in our Analytical Chemistry programmes.

Class of 2018 | M.Sc. (Analytical Chemistry)
Logain Abuaisha, Vanessa Akin, Abrar Al Metahr, Batool Alameer, Sultanah Alasmari, Ashwaq Albishi, Hawra Aldrees, Fatima Ali, Ahlam Aloufi, Boshra Alqurashi, Ebtsam Alsharief, Janine Boertjes, John Butler, Cian Clarke, Evelyn Coleman, Nicholas Doyle, Michelle Franklin, Manal Ghalib, Cathal Larrigy, Noelle Leahy, Mairead McDermott, Eilin Ni Chroinin, Irene O'Callaghan, Aisling O'Leary, Aoibhin Sheehy, Trevor Smith, Valery Taustsiakou, Ali Waheed, Edel Whelton.

Class of 2018 | M.Sc. (Analysis of Pharmaceutical Compounds)
Kawther Al Mosa, Maria-Pilar Byrne, Adam Dalton, David Farrell, Alexandra Forde, Havisha Gopinath, Cathal Kelleher, James Kelleher, Christopher Kent, Kevin Kurian, Saran Suresh Raaj.

Class of 2018 | M.Sc. (Environmental Analytical Chemistry)
Maria Collins, Carlo Fulghesu.

Taekwondo World Championships 2018

Congratulations to School of Chemistry Ph.D. student Anya Curran, who was recently selected to represent the Republic of Ireland at the ITF Taekwondo World Championships, which will be held in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in July 2018.

Anya is a former 3 time martial arts world champion at 50 kg weight class. She currently conducts her IRC-Enterprise funded postgraduate research in the Tyndall National institute under the supervision of Prof. Paul Hurley.

On Our Travels

Spring School for Environmental Studies - Kyoto, Japan.

Words by: Eimear Heffernan (Ph.D student)

In February 2018, two members of the Centre for Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CRAC) Lab - Niall O’Sullivan and I - were afforded the opportunity to travel to Japan to participate in the ‘International Spring School for Environmental Studies’, run by Kyoto University Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES). The interdisciplinary programme brought together 20 researchers from various countries for a series of lectures, field studies and laboratory visits over a period of three weeks. The scholarship allowed us to understand and expand our knowledge of the environmental issues in daily life, and the efforts being made in Japan to lessen the adverse effects that mankind has on the environment. It also gave us the opportunity to establish a number of links with researchers from around the world.

We attended a number of special lectures given by professors at GSGES, who gave a summary of their research work and also explained the latest developments in their respective fields. Head of CRAC, Prof. John Wenger, was invited to give a guest lecture on air quality and climate change. The research being carried out was wide ranging and included environmental engineering, marine ecology, atmospheric chemistry, agronomy and soil science. On designated days, we visited each of the professors in their research laboratories, where they introduced us to their group, the wide array of technology and instruments they have at their disposal and allowed us to partake in a typical activity relevant to their research.

Throughout the three week's we visited various places of interest in neighboring prefectures. Our first field trip was to Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake and supplier of water to over 20 million people. Here we were introduced to sakè, a  traditional Japanese rice wine. In Maizuru, we learned about the differences in marine ecosystems in Maizuru Bay, a sheltered bay on the west coast and the Sea of Japan, by dredging the seabed and identifying the organisms collected. In the mountainous, snow covered region of Kamiseya, we learned about the communal work involved in rice harvesting and the traditional preparation of various dishes.

In the city of Kyoto; the former imperial capital, and the Kansai region, we gained an insight into the amazing culture and heritage Japan has to offer. We visited a number of Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, as well as palaces and gardens, many of which are listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. The stunning oriental architecture was incomparable to anything we had previously experienced, and so needless to say, we had cameras at the ready every day! Kyoto is also renowned for its abundance of Japanese foods and cuisine, a number of which were tried and tested; sushi, sashimi, shark, octopus, tofu, seaweed – the list is endless! We couldn’t recommend a trip to Kyoto highly enough, it’s a fascinating city.

Chemical Society Update

2017/18 AGM

The 2017/18 Chemical Society AGM took place on Monday April 16th, resulting in the formation of a new committee and new positions.

Chairperson - Thomas Curran (CHEM 1)
Secretary - Sinéad O Mahoney (CPC 2)
Finance Officer - Rachel O Riordan (CHEM 3)
PRO - Rachel O Sullivan (CPC 2)
Webmaster - Shane O Sullivan (CHEM 3) 
Second Year Rep - Emily Collins (BIOCHEM 1)
Third Year Rep - Catríona Keehan (CPC 2)

Annual John Tobin Chemistry Quiz

The 34th annual John Tobin Chemistry Quiz took place on March 14th in Cafe Oasis, Áras na Mac Léinn. In memory of the late John Tobin, a former Ph.D. student in the school who sadly passed away in 1983, a great night was organised by the UCC Chemical Society. MC on the night was Dr. Trevor Carey. Full details of the 2018 prize winners are as follows:

1st place: David Jones, Dan Crowley, Aoife Foley, Ryan Kruschel, Denis Lynch.
2nd place: Celaine Johannie, Ehren Dixon, Seán Sheehy, James O'Callaghan.

Outreach Focus

2018 Schools' Analyst Competition

Congratulations to Coláiste Choilm (Ballincollig, Co. Cork) on winning the UCC qualifier of the Royal Society of Chemistry Schools' Analyst Competition. The event took place in the School of Chemistry in UCC at the end of April with 12 secondary schools competing. Students from 5th year chemistry completed experiments focusing on Volumetric Analysis, UV-Vis Spectroscopy and HPLC, with marks awards for their accuracy of results and experimental calculations.

1st Place | Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig, Co. Cork.
2nd Place | Douglas Community School, Douglas, Co. Cork.
3rd Place | Clonakilty Community College, Clonakilty, Co. Cork.

The Schools' Analyst Competition is a UK/Ireland-based competition run by the Royal Society of Chemistry Analytical Division. Coláiste Choilm will now be one of three schools from the Republic of Ireland to qualify for the overall finals held in Bangor University in Wales in June.

International Women's Day

International Women's Day, March 8th, saw UCC host Hypatia Day 2018 as part of the UCC Equality Week. Transition Year students took part in morning workshops relating to STEMM courses provided in UCC. The School of Chemistry conducted one such workshop with students from St. Aloysius Secondary School.

2018 Salters' Festival of Chemistry

The 2018 Salters' Festival of Chemistry took place in the School of Chemistry in UCC on May 2nd, with 20 Munster based secondary schools (1st Years) participating. Thanks to all schools, students and teachers for taking part and congratulations to this year's winners:

Salters' Challenge
1st Place | St. Brigid's Secondary School, Killarney, Co. Kerry.

2nd Place | Coláiste Muire Realt na Mara, Crosshaven, Co. Cork.
3rd Place | Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare.

University Challenge
1st Place | Scoil Mhuire, Sydney Place, Co. Cork.
2nd Place | Regina Mundi College, Douglas, Co. Cork.
3rd Place | Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh, Bishopstown, Co. Cork.

Where Are They Now?

In this section, we will profile and focus on alumni students. Each graduate will go through their student memories, experiences and update us on what they have done since leaving UCC.

Dr. Marie Kissane

Photo: Dr John O'Callaghan

B.Sc. Chemistry (2004) and Ph.D. Chemistry (2009)

What year did you arrive in UCC?
I arrived in UCC in 2000 as a fresh faced young Kerry woman (it was a tough decision to cross the border!).

What course did you study?
I studied Chemical, Mathematical and Physical Sciences (now CK406). Physics and maths were my two favourite Leaving Cert subjects in school, which was why this course appealed to me. As I attended a small secondary school, chemistry wasn’t offered as an option for Leaving Cert subject, but it had been my favourite science subject for the junior cert. I did this course with the intent of majoring in Physics in 2nd year. During the first year of my degree course, I found that it was chemistry which I enjoyed most and thus I decided to major in Chemistry in 2nd year instead.

What was your favourite Chemistry topic?
My favourite topics were learning about stereochemistry from Prof. Jennings in 2nd year and NMR spectroscopy from Dr. McCarthy in 3rd year.

What was your best ‘Chemistry’ moment and why?
From a professional perspective it would have to be the day that I submitted my Ph.D. thesis. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I collected my hard bound thesis, which was the culmination of 4.5 years of work, from the printer’s and dropped it over to the postgraduate office. On a more personal level, the friends I made during my degree and Ph.D., and whom I remain close friends with, helped to make so many great memories over my years in UCC (too many to mention!).

Who was your favourite chemistry staff member?
That’s a tough question. I couldn’t single anyone out during my undergraduate years, as I really enjoyed all my lectures, and all the staff were always so helpful and generous with their time. For my Ph.D. years, I would have to call out my Ph.D. supervisor, Prof. Anita Maguire, for helping me through and getting me out unscathed!

When did you leave UCC and what did you do straight after graduating?
It took me quite a while to leave UCC! When I finished my Ph.D. I stayed working with Prof. Maguire as a postdoctoral researcher for two years on a collaborative project between UCC and Eli Lilly. I eventually left in 2011 and moved to Indianapolis in the mid-west of the United States for two years to work with the Research and Development group in Eli Lilly. I returned to Ireland in 2013 and have been based with Eli Lilly in Kinsale since then.

What are you doing now?
I am currently team leader of the Technical Services/Manufacturing Science (TS/MS) group in Kinsale. I am really enjoying this current role as it is letting me explore the management side of the business while remaining closely linked to the more technical chemistry side.

Have you any advice for current students?
Your time in UCC will absolutely fly by, so enjoy every second of it. It’s not all about assignments and exams, so take time to enjoy the social aspect of college life too.

Special Feature

The Chemistry of Snow

After a spell of unusual weather in Spring, ChemStuff look at the Chemistry of Snow, which caused the closure of UCC for three days in March!

Snow is formed in clouds where the temperature is less than zero degrees celsius. This means that the water vapour present will start to crystallise and form a snowflake. Crystals are structures with a very high level of order and we can see this when we look at a snowflake in more detail. Whilst they are not always absolutely symmetrical, snowflakes do follow similar patterns. This is because a snowflake’s shape reflects the internal order of the water molecules. Water molecules in the solid state, such as in ice and snow, form weak hydrogen bonds with one another. These ordered arrangements result in the symmetrical, hexagonal shape of the snowflake. During crystallisation, the water molecules align themselves to maximize attractive forces and minimize repulsive forces. Consequently, water molecules arrange themselves in predetermined spaces and in a specific arrangement. Water molecules simply arrange themselves to fit the spaces and maintain symmetry.

As we know, water and ice often appear clear and colourless but snow appears to be white, this is because snowflakes have so many surfaces, owing to its crystal structure, that reflect light and scatters most of the rays that hit it.

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