Science students benefit from ‘DNA Tells Tales’ conference

By Aura McMenamin

THE GROWING impact of DNA technology was showcased by a recent ‘DNA Tells Tales’ national conference held in IT Tallaght on Tuesday January 23.

Students studying science courses in IT Tallaght including BSc. DNA and Forensic Analysis and BSc. Bio-analytical Techniques benefitted from a series of talks about the impact of DNA technology on sectors such as food, forensic science and medical diagnostics from industry professionals as part of the  conference.

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Speakers included Dr Dorothy Ramsbottom from Forensic Science Ireland, Professor Tim Buckley from the Irish Equine Centre and Dr Ciaran Meghen from Identigen, among others.

The event provided students an opportunity to hear from experts in a variety of fields such as the diagnosis of medical conditions, identifying criminals, infection control and food traceability.

Dr Maire Callaghan from the Centre for Microbial Host Interactions at ITT organised the talks. She spoke to The Echo about the event.

She said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for students to meet people in the industry. Students were very engaged in the discussions and got a lot from the day. It put what they’ve been learning into perspective.”

Dr Callaghan said that it is important for students to broaden their horizons: “Students can come into college with a single career in mind. These talks allowed them to see a range of opportunities instead of one single trade.

“For example, forensic analysis is much broader than crime scenes. It’s used to look at microorganisms, pathogens, speciation and food.”

Despite the new term not beginning until the next day on Wednesday, January 24, according to Dr Callaghan the student turnout was strong, with the college using Eventbrite to allow students to register for the event and see how many were expected to attend.

IT Tallaght is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

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