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Karen Conboy

Job title/role in FutureNeuro

PhD Student

Tell us a little about your background and what led you to a career in science and research?

During my time in school, I was very interested in science, particularly biology. In leaving cert year, I decided I wanted to pursue science as a career. I studied Science in NUIG and majored in Anatomy. During this time, I developed a keen interest in the brain and as a result, I completed my masters in Neuroscience at Trinity College, Dublin. When I completed my MSc I applied for a research assistant position in RCSI where I gained a wealth of laboratory experience in molecular biology. This experience helped me decide I wanted to continue a career in research.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Every day is different which makes it very interesting. The majority of my day is spent in the lab running various experiments. The remaining time is concentrated on reading papers on topics relevant to my research.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

One of the major challenges is to remain positive if an experiment does not go as planned. In science, experiments rarely pan out as you had hoped but you should not get discouraged and keep going.

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

To be accepted as a PhD student for FutureNeuro in RCSI. It is a huge honour to work alongside so many brilliant scientists.

Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to pursue your career?

My family have always encouraged me to continue perusing what I love.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about pursuing a career in STEM?

I would definitely encourage them to go for it! If you love what you are doing then it makes your day more enjoyable.

What impact do you hope your role in FutureNeuro will have over the next five years?

I hope my project will add to the understanding of epilepsy and will aid in the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for the disease.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I used to compete at Irish dancing.

What do you do in your spare time?

I play Gaelic Football in my spare time. This really helps to clear my mind after a busy day in the lab. I am also an avid reader and love spending hours reading science fiction.

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