BiOrbic Annual Research Day 2022

On Thursday 9th of June BiOrbic hosted its annual Research Day. This was the first time in 2 years we could host it in person, and we had the Centre come together in UCD for the day.

The Annual BiOrbic Research day is a day for integration and collaboration, as well as a chance for the whole centre to come together and learn about each others research and how we all contribute towards the bioeconomy. The day consisted of a variety of talks from Principal Investigators, Funded Investigators, Academic Collaborators and PhD/PDs, as well as a poster session and a team building scavenger hunt! 

The day was opened by Prof. Nick Holden and Prof. Kevin O’Connor, the BiOrbic Deputy Director and Centre Director respectively. Prof. Holden gave a welcome speech, talking about where the bioeconomy started in Ireland, where BiOrbic started, and where we are now, with the key message being that our members are essential to BiOrbic. Prof. O’Connor carried on this message by talking about BiOrbic’s evolution and it’s future direction in the bioeconomy. 

Prof. Nick Holden
Prof. Kevin O’Connor

The next two speakers spoke about their research in BiOrbic. Prof. Eoin Casey spoke about his research on gas transfer membranes and their application for net-zero technology, and James Gaffey wrapped up the morning session talking about developing and scaling the bioeconomy through national and international collaborative research

The team building event followed the morning session which was a picture based scavenger hunt. This was organised by @GetHuntingIRL who split the whole centre up into teams and made us run around UCD campus deciphering cryptic clues and taking pictures of different things on campus under a time limit! This team building was particularly good after years of being online and isolated from each other! 

Lunch followed with an opportunity to see the poster presentations from our PhD students on their work within BiOrbic.

After lunch, the afternoon session began with a talk from Prof. Maeve Henchion about the need for integration of different values in order to create a rainbow for sustainability. Her talk was followed by our “Research in a Nutshell” talks. Kieran Harrahill the BiOrbic PhD/PD committee chair opened up this session of talks. These talks were an opportunity for our PhD and PDs to talk about their work in the bioeconomy to the rest of the centre and a small competition was run for the best talks in this session. 

We had 6 speakers in this section:

Lynda Jordan “Bioplastics from Bacteria?”
Ciara Lynch “World’s smallest recycling factories? Using waste to make biomolecules in E. coli” 
Jounghyun Um “Maximising plastic waste upcycling in Pseudomonas species”
Amber Barry “Development of Convergent Biocatalytic Transformations for rapid complexity generation of complex alkaloids”
Dr Rituparna Duarah “Bio-based, biodegradable nystatin based-polylactic acid/polycaprolactone composites: prospective antifungal packaging material for a sustainable environment” 

The last talk of day was from Prof. David O’Connell talking about his research about protein engineering and the circular bioeconomy. And finally after prizegiving, Derek O’Brien, the BiOrbic Executive Director wrapped up the day with a final thank you to everyone in BiOrbic. After this the whole Centre headed to a local restaurant for food and final celebrations.

Huge congrats to our winners of the day: 
Burcu Akkoyunlu, Laura Murphy and Jia-Lynn Tham for coming 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Poster competition.
Amber Barry and Ciara Lynch for coming joint first for the “Research in a Nutshell” talks. 
Team The Ducks for winning the scavenger hunt, and Team Dare 2 Be for winning best picture!

Jia-Lynn Tham, Laura Murphy and Burcu Akkoyunlu
Ciara Lynch and Amber Barry
Team The Ducks

Thank you to all our presenters and chairs, and to everyone for coming along. Massive thanks to everyone who was involved with the organisation of the day, especially Melanie Baur who was the head organiser. It was a superb day and a great success for the Centre. Already looking forward to next year!