Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Wednesday, 27th August 2008-SPUR Mini-Symposium and Prize-Giving Ceremony Takes Place at RCSI

27 August 2008

This year’s Summer Programme in Undergraduate Research (SPUR) mini-symposium and prize-giving ceremony took place today at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). Sixteen students from universities around the world presented the results of their ten-week biomedical research projects. The projects, covering the fields of neuroscience, immunology, pharmacology and cancer biology were carried out at RCSI under Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)’s Undergraduate Research Experience and Knowledge Award (UREKA/SPUR) programme.


Pictured in the Pharmacy laboratory at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is Chi-Nen Chen. Chi-Nen Chen is one of sixteen students from universities in Ireland and from around the world who took part in the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)’s Undergraduate Research Experience and Knowledge Award (UREKA/SPUR) programme at RCSI this summer. As part of the programme, the students joined a variety of research groups at RCSI investigating the mechanisms underlying human disease and its treatment.

UREKA/SPUR is a summer research scheme awarded to RCSI in 2005 and directed by Professor Jochen Prehn, Head of Physiology and Medical Physics at RCSI. Over the past three years, the funding has established sixteen annual summer research opportunities, which completes its current cycle this August. This year’s students, selected from RCSI, Irish and international universities (including Oxford, McGill and Marseille) have joined the variety of research groups at RCSI investigating the mechanisms underlying human disease and its treatment. Whilst being directly involved with the innovative research currently underway at RCSI, the programme is also structured to develop the student’s skill away from the bench in areas such as scientific presentation and writing, the ability to critique scientific literature and gain appreciation of the role of the scientist in society.


Pictured at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is Moyra Lawrence from Julienstown, Meath. Moyra is one of sixteen students from universities in Ireland and from around the world who took part in the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)’s Undergraduate Research Experience and Knowledge Award (UREKA/SPUR) programme at RCSI this summer. As part of the programme, the students joined a variety of research groups at RCSI investigating the mechanisms underlying human disease and its treatment.

Dr Matthew King, co-ordinator of this year’s research programme commented, “SPUR at RCSI is an ideal opportunity for undergraduate scientists to experience first-hand the nature of world-class research directed towards the treatment of human disease. It also returns the added benefit of increasing awareness amongst budding scientists to RCSI as an internationally-competitive research institute.”


Pictured from l to r are Aoife Meeney, TCD and Xin Yun Teoh, RCSI.

Participating in SPUR 2008, Chi-Nan Chen (McGill University, Canada) added, “The SPUR program allowed me to conduct PhD-level research in the field of drug delivery using nanotechnology… and taught me independent study and creativity, two abilities that students don't always develop to their full potential in the classroom.”

Further details on SPUR are available at http://chp.rcsi.ie/education/SPUR.htm, with details of this year’s research projects at http://chp.rcsi.ie/education/SPUR_Projects.pdf.